They say it takes a village…and our Crossroads Campus & Caring Connections’ “village” comprises many volunteers who generously and selflessly give their time, share their skills, and cultivate healing and hope among vulnerable teens and rescued animals—even over holiday weekends. Our volunteers demonstrate service at the  crossroads of multiple communities in need, where flexibility in roles has created  versatile team members: they consistently offer to work “wherever and however [they are] needed”—even on a moment’s notice. Crossroads Campus volunteers exemplify the finest multigenerational teamwork  and duality of exceptional commitment to both humans and animals in need. Crossroads Campus and our communities served have benefited from the wisdom, patience, sense of humor, and dedication of all our volunteers whose ages range from 17 to 82 years old.


Our volunteers continue to amaze the Crossroads Campus staff and our nonprofit partners as their impressive  talents and histories reveal themselves to us—always without fanfare, and sometimes relatively spontaneously when a new Crossroads Campus need arises. They are parents and grandparents, partners, wives, husbands, and foster parents to rescued animals as well as to humans awaiting forever families.


Our volunteer teams include teachers, students (from high school to masters level), homemakers, writers, bloggers, fitness instructors, social workers (retired and active—or pursuing professional certification), organic farmers, chefs, psychologists, members and board members of multiple animal advocacy organizations, social activists, and executive assistants. The “village” encompasses visual artists, musicians, songwriters, music publishers and executives, photographers, talent managers, human resource trainers and executives, lawyers, animal behaviorists and trainers, veterinarians and animal care workers and managers, groomers, aspiring medical providers, and marketing & public relations professionals. Each Crossroads Campus volunteer has been a beacon for the youth in transition, and an ally for the animals we serve.  Some of our “village” members are survivors of trying life experiences who gracefully and graciously work, study, and live life to the fullest with disabilities, possibly in tandem with his or her service dog. This is just a sampling of our volunteers’ professions, interests, achievements, experiences, and community service commitments beyond The Crossroads Campus.


Above all, no matter what their backgrounds or expertise, Crossroads Campus volunteers always lend an ear, a hand, a voice, encouragement, creativity, laughter, and compassion to those humans and animals in our communities who may need to be noticed, heard, nurtured, and supported as they hope,  work, and live to transition into better lives. Saturday mornings may signal the beginning of the weekend for many people, but most weeks  it is Crossroads Campus volunteers’ consistently scheduled  time dedicated to connecting with vulnerable youth and rescued animal companions.


Perhaps the best testimonials of the great work accomplished by our volunteers can be found in the responses gleaned from Monroe Harding’s Cooperative Living program participants’ surveys at the conclusion of our most recent Caring Connections series. The most common observations shared were that: they liked meeting and interacting with new people and “the owners of the dogs;” they enjoyed learning to make dog toys and healthy dog treats; they appreciated learning how to train and respond to the dogs; they learned that they are patient, respectful, and good learners.  The teens organically came to these conclusions as a result of interacting with both the rescued dogs who always give unconditional love, and the nurturing volunteers—including many pet companions, handlers, and foster parents—in the course of our Saturday morning sessions.


Whether they are scooping poop, running back and forth across Monroe Harding’s campus as “volunteer wranglers,” teaching young folks how to gently break an egg and separate the egg whites from yolks (as part of teaching the art of wholesome dog treat baking), or coaching and cheerleading until they are hoarse and sweaty as the youth run their rescued dogs-in-training through agility courses, Crossroads Campus volunteers return week after week to serve our communities in need.


Crossroads Campus is grateful for our volunteers—the members of our “village”—who have been the heartbeat of our organization’s founding,  growth, and sustenance. We could not have built our Caring Connections program without them; we cannot design, develop, and operate our social enterprise, Crossroads Pets—Shop & Adopt, without them. Together, we are fomenting the transformative human-animal bond that is helping to build healthy futures.


Robin Fields, Education and Volunteer Coordinator

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