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“Hello, so you want to volunteer with children?”

April may be National Volunteer Month, but we are blessed to have volunteer support throughout the year! We get over a thousand calls and emails yearly from people eager to make a difference in a child’s life. We feel fortunate to have so many caring folks willing and qualified to connect with our children. Sometimes, child-indirect volunteer needs (that also make a difference in our children’s lives, our programs, and our bottom line) are overlooked.

Opportunities for Children

We want to take National Volunteer Month to remind each of you that you can influence our children’s lives. With all the programs we offer and three different locations, the opportunities we have may surprise you. Our CEO often shares that we receive money from the state to cover the care for our children. We are so grateful for those funds, but nobody wants to be parented solely by the state. 

Crossnore makes every effort to create a safe and loving home environment that includes things that state monies don’t cover. Friendly pets, enriching experiences, fun vacations, new clothing and shoes, an education (including higher education), sports opportunities, day camps, and the gift of a favorite hairstyle, to name a few. At Crossnore, we want to help create powerful childhood memories that children may have missed out on over their short lives. All these efforts and support for our growing programs, including Bridging Families© and Homebuilders™, benefit from loving volunteers serving in different capacities.

A Volunteer Opportunity Here

We have many volunteers who mentor and love these children and serve in different ways.

One volunteer is committed to pulling thick poison ivy vines off the trees around campus, primarily on the ropes course. As you can imagine, this is a tremendous help to Miracle Heights Adventures. Another volunteer owns a stump grinding company and removes large stumps from our campus, an otherwise costly task for our Facilities team. Previously, a Scout leader cut down some dangerous trees and with their troop, made beautiful furniture for a cottage porch.

One volunteer gives our donkey, Jack, his medication every day.

Just last week, one of our volunteers rode alongside Chester, a beloved but very distressed goat, to our Volunteer Friendly Barnyard advisor’s farm for respite while his partner recovered from pneumonia at the vet.  

We have garden clubs that maintain beautifully designated spaces. Some spaces have flowers, and one has a sensory garden that lets our kids experience their five senses. We also have volunteers who water and weed our vegetable gardens. 

A local seamstress hems pants and repairs holes. A stylist recently started volunteering to help keep our haircut budget down.

A Volunteer Opportunity There

Local churches make chicken pies and lasagnas. After a tough day, a Bridging Families home can enjoy a chicken pie together. If a foster family receives an emergency placement, a prepared dinner for their first night together is a huge blessing. One of our host churches recently spent the day helping a family prepare for a large sibling group.

We have a volunteer who assists our Facilities department in repairing holes and covering a variety of unexpected needs. An expert boiler repairman trains our staff on the boilers we have in our cottages. He recently dropped off boiler textbooks for the Facilities staff’s upcoming training. A local welder offers his services to our Facilities team when they are in need.

Churches make birthday kits, collecting all needed items to create a special birthday celebration for each child.  In recent years, we had a professional baker who provided birthday cakes for each child in care. We are always looking for more of those bakers!

As I write, a local church is painting a community room, bringing it back to life for kids’ activities and family visits. Another church helps complete some landscaping projects. Our newly expanded Treehouse stores new clothes, linens, personal hygiene products, etc. and a local church has been working diligently to complete repairs, paint, and build shelving to make this space usable and inviting to all programs.

I can’t forget the individuals and groups returning yearly to tackle new projects. The pride and devotion to Crossnore are uplifting, and they are adored.  

Just the Tip of the Iceberg

We could never include all the ways our volunteers help our children and Crossnore’s mission. Even so, it sure is fun sharing some of our their gifts! Our volunteers’ efforts, skills, and big hearts make an unbelievable difference in our children’s lives, the staff who care for them, and all those who keep this place running. 

How Can You Help?

When you drive by our campus, ask yourself, “Could my church, spouse, or business pull down that unsightly kudzu?” … Well, maybe not. Still, they could hold a car wash to collect gift cards for new shoes that children can pick out for themselves. They could repair the bikes some of our teenagers have been riding. Maybe share a talent or skill we didn’t even know we were missing! We cherish our volunteers and all those who help create a special place for children and their families to flourish.

Happy Volunteer Month! Thank you all for the differences you are making at Crossnore and everywhere you volunteer in this community. You are so very much appreciated!

To find out more about how you can get involved, visit https://www.crossnore.org/volunteer/.