About Sanchia Callender

This organization's namesake was a remarkable woman. We want you to know more about her.

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As a child Sanchia was a joyful challenge to her parents always keeping them on their toes. As an adult, she was a supporter, defender, and a conscience as needed. To her sisters Sanchia served as confidant, partner in shenanigans, mentor, and drama queen whisperer. To her nieces and nephews, she was Super Auntie able to create joy and laughter with a single smile, well-placed tickle, and carefully selected treats.

The second of four children belonging to Lionel and Tamar, Sanchia marched to the beat of her own drum. She lived by the motto “What’s the worst that could happen?” Sanchia had a sharp mind and strong opinions about the world around her. Always a recipe for trouble.

Sanchia and her family left their home on the island of Barbados to begin a new life in New York City. Once enrolled in school each day at dismissal she could be found in the school yard waiting for her siblings to find out if she needed to “have a talk with” anyone.

As a student of animal science at John Bowne High School Sanchia spent summers in upstate New York farm learning animal care skills. Sanchia found a love for the animals she worked with, except maybe the chickens whom she frequently threatened to fry. She went on to study large animal care at SUNY Cobleskill. Things seemed to be going well, but sometimes life throws a “plot twist.” The academic setting at Cobleskill proved a challenge. Sanchia withdrew from studies to decide the best path to take.

Never being one to back down Sanchia got to work making her situation work for her. She moved to Schenectady becoming an integral part of the day to day running at the farm where she spent her high school summers. Working at the area agricultural fairs and various other showings of her beloved goats Sanchia earned a leadership position at the Altamont Fair.

When Sanchia returned to her academic path she did so with renewed purpose and vigor. Sanchia completed her Associate and Bachelor degree programs with alacrity. While she loved her animals, Sanchia’s professional focus shifted to vulnerable humans.

Sanchia coordinated recreational services for adults with intellectual disabilities at Schenectady ARC’s Pine Ridge facility. Her work at Pine Ridge strengthened Sanchia’s calling to work with those often overlooked by society. She enrolled in a Master’s program in Health Sciences. Upon completing her studies Sanchia went on to earn her license as a Mental Health Counselor.

After 11 years serving at Pine Ridge Sanchia moved on to Northeast Parent and Child Society where she worked as the mental health counselor and dorm director for at risk and “hard to place” youth in residential care. Though they sometimes gave her a hard time Sanchia loved “her kids.” You were in serious trouble if you messed with them. One of Sanchia’s final accomplishments on this earth was to find a “forever home” for one of her kids.

The same zeal and drive Sanchia had to advocate for others in her professional life she deployed for family and friends. She did not waste her time on this earth she invested it where it mattered most, in people.