2022 Year in Review: Kristen Sluiter, Special Projects Coordinator

It’s time to look back on 2022! Check our blog between Christmas and New Year’s for a variety of stories and memories of 2022 from the staff and volunteers of the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

This year, one special donor interaction stands out to me. As we were nearing our 2022 gala benefit, I received dozens of emails and phone calls from people interested in attending our virtual events, wondering how to register to bid in our online auction, along with numerous other questions.

About a week or so after one of my calls, one of these supporters sent an extra donation to the Wildlife Center in the mail. It was a generous donation in support of the gala, to be used to care for the wild animals we treat. Accompanying the check was a beautiful letter to yours truly, thanking me for my time answering her questions the previous week. I was taken aback. Our phone call was simply part of my job. In fact, in the weeks leading up to the gala a good portion of what I do (and what I very much WANT to do) is assist people so they can participate in the gala festivities. However, the thoughtful gesture of the card reminded me that our supporters are some of the kindest, most generous, and truly compassionate people around. They care deeply about wildlife and the animals we treat at the Wildlife Center and they also care about US.

I would imagine many nonprofit organizations might say that they have kind, thoughtful donors, and they are surely correct. However, one thing I’ve noticed over the years is that the Wildlife Center has phenomenal supporters. When our veterinary team says “we need more VetRotors,” within days (and sometimes hours!), we receive funds so we can place that order. When our rehab staff mentions we are running low on acorns, the following weekend we receive bags-full in our lobby. Our donors leave lovely notes when they donate. They go on trips abroad wearing our t-shirts and give Caring for Critters packets to their grandchildren for birthdays. They attend our eagle releases and drive from across the state to drop off an injured squirrel. They always have a kind word, a smile, a thank you, some pocket money. The card sent in with this donation was a reminder of the less tangible gifts we routinely receive at the Wildlife Center. Those gifts fill our hearts and encourage us to keep doing what we are doing.

— Kristen Sluiter, Special Projects Coordinator

Check out all of our year-in-review posts!