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Everybody loves the idea of a sanctuary, don’t they? A place of rest and refreshment. A place that brings joy. A place that builds you up. But hardly anybody looks at their workplace as a sanctuary though. We tend to see those as places that tire us, bore us, and maybe even use us up.

At The Crossnore School, we want to have a different atmosphere. We ask our students to do some intentional and hard work as they seek out healing from their difficult circumstances. The truth is that doing that kind of work is hard on the adults who work with the students too.

In an effort to better serve our community, both staff and students alike, The Crossnore School adopted the Sanctuary Model of Care in 2008, which has helped us to create a trauma-informed community. We are committed to and work to incorporate the practices of non-violence, emotional intelligence, social learning, shared governance, open communication, social responsibility, and growth and change that make our community a sanctuary.

Adopting the Standards for Sanctuary didn’t happen overnight, and the use of the model doesn’t continue without some care and attention. We find that we have to be intentional about how we are using Sanctuary practices in every area of our work and relationships. Each month, a group of employee volunteers serve on the Mission Team to ensure that we are utilizing Sanctuary across all departments, practices, and programs of the agency. The team consists of folks from administration, residential, clinical services, the Academy, campus businesses, case management, food services, and maintenance.

The Mission Team’s goal is to make sure we are implementing Sanctuary well across campus, and to encourage our whole community to handle things in a Sanctuary manner.

– Kelly Smith, Director of Compliance and Sanctuary

Other responsibilities of the Mission Team include creatively promoting Sanctuary across campus. Last fall the team sponsored a poster contest where students and staff made posters illustrating the seven Sanctuary Commitments. The posters were judged by members of the leadership team and the winners received a gift certificate. This type of activity spurs our creativity and helps keep the commitments front and center in all we do.


The Mission Team also occasionally reviews policies and procedures to ensure they incorporate Sanctuary language. The team assists with the re-certification process every three years. And they discuss Sanctuary training and how we are implementing what we are learning across campus.

The monthly meetings can be quite lively! At a recent meeting, three therapists shared about their presentation at the Sanctuary Institute and the other sessions they attended, and then taught us all a new training technique. There’s no way to learn a new technique without getting out of your seat, as shown below!


The Mission Team is a vital part of our Sanctuary commitment as we seek to implement the Sanctuary model across our campus. For more information about Sanctuary, contact Kelly Smith at 828-733-4305 or ksmith@crossnoreschool.org.