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Volunteer Stories & Testimonials

Some kids are easier to take care of than others…the others will throw chains in the fish tank and swing blunt objects with reckless abandon. They will be forever on the verge of hurting themselves or someone around them. This describes Rose...she is “high energy”, she is notorious.

For fifteen minutes I thought I had the skills, the right stuff, the je ne sais quoi to best Rose, a tiny blonde force of nature. I was wrong…I couldn’t hack it.

I had to transfer the reigns to my wife, Megan, who was volunteering during the same shift. What I saw next was amazing. In no time Rose was laughing and playing well with others, responding to Megan’s limits and having an all-around magical time. It was like Megan had been doing this her whole life-like she was Patricia Piper, Peter Piper’s equally talented, but little-acknowledged sister.

At home later that night, it occurred to me that I wasn’t afraid of Rose. Rather, I was afraid that she would confirm for me the doubts I have about what kind of father I will be. What if our child has ADHD? What if all the adults in her life dread being in her presence? What if I am at a total loss for how to interact with everyday situations? What if my best isn’t good enough? What would that look like? How would I handle it?

I know that these are fears I will be trying to overcome for the rest of my life. I know that. But watching Megan with Rose made me feel safe. Whatever happens, our kid is going to have a great mother.

- Stephen Hodde, Safe Children Program Volunteer

I am a relatively new volunteer at Crisis Nursery. I found the Nursery as I was looking for a place to fulfill the volunteer requirement to apply to the College of Education at the University of Illinois. However, what started as something to fulfill an application requirement has turned into something that I really enjoy. I find myself looking forward to my volunteer shift every week.

A particular experience sticks out to me: One week, the Nursery received a large donation of girls and boys pajamas in various sizes. As I was taking them out of their packages and placing them in the dressers, it struck me as to how remarkable it is that people can be so selfless and give so much to complete strangers. These particular pajamas were apparently 25 cents at Target, but there had to be at least 40 pairs of them.That adds up. It reminded me of how generous, caring and kind people can be.

Although it had just begun, my time at Crisis Nursery has been extremely rewarding. I can see it becoming a very influential part of my life that I will always remember. 

- Katie McCoy, Safe Children Program Volunteer
It was just my second time volunteering at Crisis Nursery and I was still not sure what to expect. When I walked in, I immediately felt the warm, open, caring environment.


I was paired with a three-year-old girl, along with two other volunteers. Staff had informed me that she was a more difficult child who often tested limits and ran away. Immediately, I understood she was a handful. The little girl got in a fight with her brother and pushed him away. She began to kick and cry. Each of the volunteers that I was working with also tried to calm her down.

As she was kicking and hitting us, I was so impressed with how everyone kept their cool. Instead of changing to an angry tone and disciplining harshly, the soothing voices of the volunteers encouraged me to keep the same tone and I saw how she calmed. This little girl was looking for someone to give her a hug and someone to care for her. Her tears were noticed and nurtured. I think that is what makes the Nursery so special; it is a place where children can feel their honest emotions.

- Sarah Dorn, Safe Children Program Volunteer