One of the items on my neglected Life List that I've actually followed through on, unlike the improbable desire to refinish the church pew (recently donated unfinished to Goodwill) or make a quilt out of old clothing (Matthew met a lady at the library who will do it for me), was finding a place to volunteer in Nashville.
Mission: To transform lives by creating opportunities for individuals who face poverty and homelessness to care for homeless animals. Goals: Hope and healing, jobs and job training, adoptions for abandoned animals, transitional housing for disadvantaged young adults.
To quote directly from their literature: through training and caring for animals, individuals gain confidence, marketable skills, and a sense of purpose, all of which are critical to long-term success. Animals who would otherwise be euthanized are prepared for successful adoptions.
As someone who worked in various forms of social work and social justice before I started music touring and as someone who, since adopting Patsy Cline from the Cincinnati SPCA, went from a "Yeah, I like dogs, they're cool" to "I want to save every dog every day bring them to me so I can love them nonstop forever" person, Crossroads is perfect. I stumbled across the organization because I had a doghouse I'd bought for a puppy I was helping adopt out from the East Nashville listserv. I called several animal welfare groups, none of whom returned my calls except for Lisa Stetar, Crossroads' Executive Director.
I've focused on volunteering at the new Crossroads Pets - Shop & Adopt store in my former neighborhood of Germantown and am discovering that I get a strange and unexpected amount of satisfaction (joy?) in doing inventory. Like, I'm making a name for myself. If you have a tedious task involving scanners, price tag guns and iPads, give me a call. I'll be RIGHT OVER. The store is new and just getting set up and I've been helping the women I've met so far - Robin, Barb, Lisa, and Dolores - with the process.
The shop is meant to generate revenue for the non-profit. The main focus of the organization has actually been the Caring Connections program that on weekends goes to teenaged boys who are in state custody with the dogs for companionship and dog training. Soon the young men will work at the store to get job training in basic animal care, pet grooming, dog training, in-store and
online retail, and customer relations and marketing which is especially important as they age out of state custody and need to enter the work force. In addition to future employees who are older adults transitioning out of homelessness through long-term recovery programs and housing shelter dogs and cats who have run out of time at animal control, I think the Crossroads model is brilliant. Brilliant!
Crossroads Pets - Shop & Adopt
707 Monroe St.
Nashville, TN 38208