Splendor in the Suburbs

Barbara Safford loves her Carmichael community—and it loves her back

By Jessica Laskey
June 2018

Barbara Safford is a breeze at conversation. The Carmichael resident and volunteer can talk to anyone about anything, which has made her an amazing asset to countless organizations over the years.

“I’m a people person,” she admits while we lounge in her beautiful backyard. She and her husband, Tom, have lived in this house on Stanley Avenue for 45 years, ever since they moved to Sacramento from their native Chicago so Tom could take a job.

“He was offered jobs in both Sacramento and Southern California, where I actually have family,” Safford recalls. “He picked the one in Sacramento, and when we drove down Stanley Avenue for the first time and I saw how agricultural it was with all the chickens and sheep, I didn’t know what to think. It felt like we were near a zoo!”

Safford now says she wouldn’t live anywhere else. One key reason is the abundance of activities she threw herself into when they relocated so she could make the community her own.

Volunteerism has always been a part of Safford’s life. As a high school student in Chicago, she volunteered at a preschool to read to kids and was an active Girl Scout. As an adult in Carmichael, she’s served as a Camp Fire and Cub Scout leader and a PTA member and officer at Mary Deterding Elementary School. She’s volunteered with the Assistance League of Sacramento, Our Lady of Assumption Parish Council, the Administrative Fire Services Section of the California Fire Chiefs Association and, for the past year, as a member of the board of Carmichael Friends of the Library. In March, the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce honored her as volunteer of the year.

“I’ve never thought of myself as a volunteer,” says Safford, who worked as the senior staff administrative coordinator at the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District until she retired. “I just like to do things to help others. It’s always been a part of me. It’s my way of learning.”

As a board member of the Carmichael Chamber for the past six years, Safford has represented Carmichael Friends of the Library, spreading the word about the library’s merits.

“I think of the library as an indoor park,” says Safford. “People can do all kinds of activities at the library, and there’s always some kind of event going on. The role of the Friends is to help fund those extra programs through our twice-yearly book sales in May and November and through membership. My goal is to tell people all about it.”


For more information about Carmichael Library, visit saclibrary.org. For more information about the Carmichael Chamber of Commerce, visit carmichaelchamber.com.


Jessica Laskey can be reached at jessrlaskey@gmail.com.

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