January 2018,  OneVoice CSDA Newsletter,  Uncategorized

Meet Your Peers – Sarah Honeycutt

Sarah Honeycutt, Director, Madera County DCSS

Hello my name is Sarah Honeycutt and I am the newly appointed director of Madera County Child Support. I feel very privileged and honored to have this role because of the passion I have for the work we all do.   So for a little about me…

I was born in 1971 to a pair of hippie parents, Robert & Camille Lanctot in Sonora, California. We lived in Twain Harte until their divorce when I was probably 2 years old. My mom and I moved back to her parents, Charlie & Clella Christenson, in Concord, California until my mom remarried my step-father Bob Williamson.  We lived all over California from Redding to Modesto, and a great deal of time in the bay area.  My grandparents owned a scrap yard in Concord for over 30 years.

Honestly, I was my grandmother’s daughter in most respects. She treated me like every star in the sky shined just for me.  She spoiled me with private schools, laughter, and travels and showered me with more love than I can even understand today.  I spent week days with my mom and then weekends with my grandparents, but we traveled to Mexico about every 6-8 weeks and took month long vacations to places in Europe, New Zealand, Hawaii and Fiji.   I was a spoiled little girl and I loved every second of it, until June 1983; when without any warning at the age of 62 she passed away.  One of the worst days of my life to date.  Our family suffered a great deal because of her death, which bought about separation, divorce, addiction and heartbreak.   When I was almost 16 the courts placed me with my father, whom I did not know and had only met once when I was thirteen.  Let’s just say that didn’t go too well.  The great part is at the age of seventeen I met Lewis Honeycutt Jr, within one month of meeting him we were a couple and I moved in with him and his parents.  His family took me in as if I were there very own daughter.  They gave me a family that I didn’t know existed anymore.  Siblings, cousins, nieces, aunts, and uncles all opened their hearts to me, even when I was so broken.  Five years later I married my best friend Lewis on July 18, 1993.  We bought our first house in 1994 and had our beautiful daughter Haley Honeycutt on December 18, 1996.

Lew and I were committed to each other and raising our daughter. He suffered a severe accident in 1998 that made him unable to walk for nearly 16 weeks.   He made his recovery and found a career in the smog inspection business for 17 years, but now gets to stay home and take care of me.  (Which is a big job sometimes!) We spent 9 years being the typical overly involved softball parents.  Woke up softball, went to bed softball.  Haley was a pitcher and played on travel teams and recreational teams year-round. Softball was the glue that kept my family so close, just the three of us always together and always supporting each other.  Some days I wonder how we got through all of the time and money, but we did it–and I am thankful for each day we spent with her.

I started with Madera County in January, 2000 as an Office Assistant II at Madera Social Services after working in the office at machine shops and a petroleum business. My first week was total culture shock, I cried, I had never worked in an office with more than one woman.  I was used to working with only men; they cursed, got mad and then had a beer. Now I’m stuck in an office with professional people and they don’t curse or drink beer after work. (Oh it wasn’t easy to adjust!)  My husband found humor in it and told me I would be ok.  He was right, I was on OA II for 6 months before I landed the job which was made for me; a Family Support Officer under the District Attorney.  WOW that sounded so cool!  Then we left the DA and we became Child Support Specialists; didn’t sound so cool, but I had already fallen in love with what I was doing.  I promoted quickly though the office, working in every area of child support and eager to learn more every day.  The hardest job for me was learning how to lead people. I was (and still may be) rough around the edges.  My director Tania Say knew more about my talents than I did, so she encouraged me to do more, learn more, and finally told me to go back to school and get my degree.  So hey, she was my boss, right?  I listened then went back to school finished my AA, then BA and finally at 45 years old got my MBA.

My daughter is now 21 years old. We think she is a rock star! Both Lew and I have a wonderful and loving relationship with her. It really is amazing to see what a great adult she has become.  She is a total street racing enthusiast along with her boyfriend Troy. She’s just like her dad!

I am a bird lover.  I own two parrots –Squirt and Ernie (Ernie belongs to my Lew-he’s mean).  Squirt always tells me “I love you” and “give him a kiss”– makes me laugh every time.   During the summer, I love to take the boat to the lake and see how many times I can fall off of the wake board and escape injury.  Lew and I enjoy just sitting on the porch in our vacation home in La Mision, Baja and enjoy talking and being with each other and our friends.  We have been through some very tough times over almost 29 years together but we have been side-by-side the entire time.

I lost my mom in April 2017 at the age of 68. Again, another woman in my life taken too young.   She was very proud of me and my accomplishments.  I only wish I could have told her I made Director, she would have screamed in my ear and would have been so happy for me.

I can look back now both professionally and personally on all the wonderful mentors I have had in my life, and I look at what each person did to make me who I am today. I’ve seen the great, the terrible, the pain and the joy and I can honestly say I love my life and can’t wait to learn and do more both professionally and personally.