Volunteers and Interns Spotlight

November 07, 2023

Here’s the blog-spot where we show off all of our volunteers and interns. If you haven’t already surmised, we LOVE these kind humans who come to work on a volunteer basis; bragging them up is a lot of fun.

If YOU are interested in spending some free time with us, please visit our VOLUNTEER PAGE, where there is a contact form to get you started! There is also information there for those wishing to fulfill formal internships.

Expanding Horizons and Skills Through Storytime | 11.8.23

At  Crossroads, we have a very special program that brings joy to kids and their educators. Kathy, our amazing volunteer reader, hosts interactive storytime sessions that not only introduce children to new books but also foster connections and provide valuable skill lessons.

Kathy’s dedication to creating an engaging and inclusive atmosphere is truly inspiring. She not only reads captivating stories but also adds skill mini-lessons to her sessions, making the experience both fun and educational. Through these sessions, children not only get to interact with someone new but also expand their horizons, develop a love for reading, and gain essential skills for life.

Kathy’s commitment to nurturing young minds through the magic of books is a testament to the power of community and learning. We’re grateful to have her as a part of our organization, making a positive impact one story at a time.


Welcoming New Student Interns This Fall! | Updated 10.16.23

We are thrilled to introduce the new student interns who are joining the Crossroads family for their Fall semesters. We are fortunate to have a high quality of applicants, and a great program to share with them. This post will be updated as we are able to catch up with pictures.


Painting Experts! | 8.29.23

We have had some exceptional help this week and last to get some of the classroom walls painted before Fall Session starts. Last week, LifeSong volunteers tackled one classroom, and yesterday, Crystal and Vlad came and finished that and went on to another. We are looking forward to more painting today!

Thank you to all of our expert painters!


Gardener Extraordinaire | 8.24.23

Marjorie planted some vegetables in the spring, and here’s our bumper crop! We have cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and 2 string beans to pick!

Help Behind The Scenes | 7.24.23

Crossroads is fortunate to have volunteers helping both in the classrooms and behind the scenes. Here are our current behind-the-scenes volunteers; make sure to also visit our LifeSong page as they are also here on a weekly basis.

Marjorie is a weekly volunteer whom you’ve met before, as she’s been with Crossroads for about 3 years. She is our resident gardener, and when she’s not outside with the veggies, she’s inside organizing the library, filing, framing certificates for our walls, copying and laminating. Here we find her making PECS for one of the Speech Therapists. Marjorie always has a smile and a easy-going personality that makes her a great member of the Crossroads family. Thank you Marjie!

Donna also volunteers weekly, although she’ll be helping when she can over the summer when she has added family responsibilities. Donna has been taking on copying, laminating, and other jobs that team members request help with, and she has helped with our fundraising efforts too. Her keen sense of organization helps keep our supplies tidy, as we find her here. She is always friendly and engaging, and such an asset to our organization. Thank you Donna!

Crystal has been with us since 2017, coming in as a volunteer, then transitioning to a sub TA during a time we were in great need, then moving back into the volunteer role. No matter what she’s doing – making copies, laminating, scheduling social media posts, or migrating data from one computer to another – she is always happy, helpful and so very much appreciated. She is an amazing human and we’re lucky to have her. Crystal has also helped many times with fundraising here at Crossroads. Thank you Crystal!

Kathy began last fall as our Library Reader, helping us prepare our students for futures rich with libraries. Each week, classes can sign up for one of 4 time slots when they can go to the library and sit for a read aloud time. Kathy is fun, funny and terrifically engaging for the children who have come to love her. This summer she is taking the lead on our Literacy A-Z book project that is made possible by a grant from Dollar Genera. Thank you Kathy!

John is a Techie, through and through. He was a self-taught fix-it guy from a kid up, worked in IT for the state and has a knack for all thinks technological. While he is not a regular/weekly volunteer, he’s helped a number of times to make things work, things that were a challenge and pain in the tush for us. One such time was at one of our galas, when he helped make our slide show work, truly a Johnny on the spot! Last week and today, he has hooked up a donated tv to a donated computer and mounted it all on a donated transport cart, giving us the ability to show screen during trainings, meetings, and class time. Thank you John!

* Interesting factoid: Crystal and John are wife and husband, married for 36 years, with two adult children.

Volunteer Appreciation Lunch! 7.5.23

The honor and pleasure of working with people who volunteer their time and caring to help is tremendous. Yesterday we got to thank our volunteers with a luncheon.

Twelve volunteers attended, along with several staff members and a handful of children. We enjoyed a buffet of sandwiches, salads, snacks and beverages, and volunteers received a small token of appreciation given with a lot of love. We are so happy to have such kind and talented people as part of the Crossroads family.

Welcome, Lauren! 6.6.23

Lauren goes to Calvin University, where she’s working on her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology. She has two semesters left there. This semester, she joins us at Crossroads to complete her first in-person practicum in the school setting. We are excited to have Lauren at Crossroads. 

Welcome, Melissa! 6.1.23

Melissa goes to Ithaca College, where she’s currently getting her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. She just graduated with her Bachelor’s degree this May and will graduate with her Master’s next year in 2024.

She is working alongside Meghan in the OT department, and will be working with all of Meghan’s students as well as helping to lead the motor groups this summer! We are so happy to have her with us!

Meet Viola! 5.2.23

Viola is a Union student who we are thrilled to have with us for her spring trimester. She is a junior who will earn her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Chinese, and who is very interested in working with children in her future. We are lucky to have her select Crossroads, where she is placed in Room 4, a grateful team for her passion, energy, and can-do work ethic. Here, Viola is pictured in the middle of teammates who adore her. Welcome Viola!

Making a Positive Impact Through Reading – 4.24.23

We want to take a moment to express our sincere gratitude to Kathy for her unwavering dedication as a volunteer at our organization. Kathy has been instrumental in our efforts to provide a better future for the special children we serve. Her willingness to spend time reading to them has made a significant impact on their lives, and we are truly grateful for her generosity.

Volunteers like Kathy give so much strength to our organization, and we look forward to her continued contribution in making a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.

Thank you, Kathy, for being an essential part of our volunteer team and for your tireless efforts to make a meaningful impact on the lives of our special children. Here with Room 6. Thanks to Mrs. Jenn for the pictures!

The Power of LifeSong – 4.19.23

Volunteering is all about giving back to the community, and that’s exactly what this team of volunteers does each week. When they come and spend their time at Crossroads, they also put their skills to great use. Recently, they have accomplished some projects which were very needed and appreciated. One was assembling an office chair, something that was a complex project and is now making a big difference to someone who spends hours sitting at a desk. Additionally, these volunteers organized our staff room, both the storage of healthy food program supplies, and our teacher library. They also recently carted down a hundred old signs from past golf tournaments, so that we can have them recycled. This freeing up of space might seem like a minor thing, but it can have a big impact on the overall organization of a space.

This team of volunteers demonstrates that every little bit counts when it comes to making a difference. Their efforts have undoubtedly made a positive impact on Crossroads, and they serve as an inspiration to others who want to make a difference as well



Secret Readers – 3.27.23

Room 4 has started a secret reader program. This means that the teacher, Ms. Kenzie, brings in a volunteer each week to read to her class. The volunteer is someone she knows, but it is a surprise to the children.

Here are some potential benefits of the Secret Reader Program for the children:

  1. Increased excitement for reading: Having a surprise reader can create a sense of excitement and anticipation around reading time, which can increase the children’s interest in reading and books.
  2. Exposure to new voices: By bringing in a different reader each week, the children can be exposed to a variety of voices, styles, and reading materials, which can help expand their understanding of the world and build their vocabulary.
  3. Positive role models: The program can also provide the children with positive role models in the form of the volunteer readers, who may be community members, parents, or other professionals.
  4. Building social skills: Interacting with new people can help the children build social skills such as greeting others, taking turns, and showing appreciation for others’ contributions.
  5. Encouraging empathy: The program can also help foster empathy and understanding in the children by exposing them to different backgrounds and perspectives through the readers.
  6. Enhancing literacy development: Regular reading can also enhance the children’s literacy development by providing them with more opportunities to practice listening, comprehension, and language skills.
  7. Developing a love for reading: Ultimately, the secret reader program can help cultivate a love for reading in the children, which can have long-lasting positive effects on their education and personal growth.

Thank you to Room 4’s Secret Readers!


Visiting Library Time – 3.17.2023

We’ve shared Kathy’s stories (below) from the Library before. Sometimes, classes find it very difficult to make the transition to the actual library, and to make it easier for them, Kathy goes to the classroom instead. Recently she did this in Room 13. Not everyone was in the room at the time, as students’ individual schedules for therapies don’t always coincide with everything that might be happening in the room. The kids who were present, however, enjoyed the stories very much, and had the chance to practice a lot of social interaction skills with her, as she exhibited a wide array of very expressive facial and body motions to bring her books to life.


Welcome Back Ella – 2.27.2023

Ella is a student at Union College who spent time with us last year as a volunteer in Room 5. After a semester abroad, she has returned, and we’re so thrilled! She is volunteering in Room 14 now, and helps 1 morning each week, providing extra hands and support.


Welcome to two new INTERNS – 2.9.2023

Two SUNY Albany students have recently joined our classrooms at Crossroads Center for Children! We are thrilled to welcome them both.

Both young women are pursuing psychology and human development degrees and are participants in a course to prepare them for work in this field. In addition to providing extra hands to work with the children, they also bring wonderful energy with them to the school. We are so happy to provide a placement to help them learn and grow in their career paths.

Welcome to our new INTERNS – 1.26.2023

We are happy to welcome 2 new student interns to Crossroads Center for Children!

Brianna is a Sage student who is pursuing a psychology degree. She will be in Room 7 two days a week.

Haley is a Siena student who is also pursuing a psychology degree. Haley is placed in Room 6 twice a week.

Volunteers and students bring so much creativity, energy and love to the students. In turn, they learn, grow, and develop skills that will help them blossom in the career paths they choose. We are delighted to have Brianna and Haley joining the Crossroads family.

Thankful for Volunteers – 12.21.22

What wonderful people come to volunteer with us here at Crossroads! Today, we were in full volunteer swing, and we have some pictures for you.

Mrs. Kathy’s reading time went on the road today, and visited two of our classes right in their classroom. Two others joined Kathy in the Library, as well, and several kids gave her a big hug when thanking her and wishing her a Merry Christmas.

Meanwhile, our LifeSong volunteers unpacked a slew of brand new air purifiers which were kindly given to us by the Schenectady County Health Department. Each classroom and a few other spaces now have an air purifier to help keep us healthy and strong.

Marjie was also here today, and among other projects, she began the colossal task of organizing our book shelves into categories, something we’d long ago given up on.

Then this afternoon, Richard Sleeper came to play piano. We had two sing-along sessions, the first for preschool and the next for school age students.

We are so thankful for all of these extra hands and hearts to help our students.


Reading with Kathy – 12.7.22

On Wednesdays it’s always a great time with Mrs. Kathy. The kids are so adorable listening to her read with her funny voices and silly expressions. They are also getting increasingly skilled at coming into the library, read to listen! Here are some shots from today. Today, they all had turns to jingle Kathy’s jingle bell!

Goodbyes are Hard – 12.6.22

Our college students are all finishing up their time with us within the next few weeks, and one by one we have to say goodbye. It’s no fun to say “goodbye” to someone we’ve become close to!

But we are full of loving wishes for the best for each of the young ladies who’ve helped over the past few months. We’ve loved having you in our school! You’ve contributed so very much!

Thank you!

Reading with Kathy – 11.30.22

Our weekly library times are going so well. Classes who have been coming are already showing improvements in skills like coming in and sitting, ready to listen, and attending to the speaker. Mrs. Kathy has been reading 2 or 3 books per session, and she is the most amazingly expressive reader we know! Today’s books were about Santa, with a few dinosaurs thrown in for Room 3.

Magnificent Marjie – 11.9.22

Marjorie comes in on Wednesdays to help with organizing the library and staying caught up with administrative tasks, such as filing, copying and laminating.

Marjie always wears a cheerful smile, and is happy to help with anything asked of her. She is such an asset to Crossroads!

Pioneer Bank Volunteers help students paint pumpkins 10.25.22

Today we had the pleasure of welcoming 6 Pioneer Bank employees to Crossroads. They came to help the students paint 130 tiny pumpkins which will be used as favors for our Gala on Saturday.

Library Time with Mrs. Kathy 10.19.22

We’re very excited to have Kathy join us. A retired special education teacher, she is great with children, and her favorite thing to do is to read to kids. She will be joining us weekly and classes will be able to sign up to join her reading time, in slots. Here’s a peek into today’s read aloud times.

Introducing Anja 10.13.22

We’re so happy to have Anja, a student from Siena, with us in Room 1. She is a great help to Mrs. Kathy and the Room 1 team, working with students with love and care.

Welcoming Mercedes 10.12.22

Mercedes is a Siena student interning this session in Room 1. She is providing extra hands and eyes in the classroom, and is a wonderful help to Mrs. Kathy and the team.

Meet Amanda. 9.27.22

Students working towards certain specific degrees are able to fulfill internship requirements here, and we’re fortunate to have partnerships with our local colleges to make this an opportunity we can offer. Here is Amanda, a student at Siena and helping in Room 7 this fall. Mrs. Jackie is thrilled to have her help!

Welcome Back, Stephen! 9.23.22

Stephen has been volunteering with Crossroads for over 2 years, helping with communications and events. And now we have him back in person to help with even more. Projects and preparing materials for classrooms and therapies are functions that Stephen is great with, and he adds his friendliness and caring to everyone he comes in contact with. We are so appreciative of Stephen’s help!

Welcome, Ivy! 9.15.22

Our third SUNY student volunteer this session is Ivy, and we are glad to have her help in Room 5. She, too, is a senior, and a big help in a busy classroom. Ivy brings experience from a job running an after school program, and her ability to be flexible as well as kind, is appreciated.

Welcome, Ashley! 9.13.22

We welcome Ashley, also a SUNY Albany senior. She is working in Room 7 and Mrs. Jackie is enjoying her sweet and gentle manner with the students. Prior to fall session starting, Ashley was here working on laminating, copying and cutting to help teachers and therapists prepare for the new school year. She is a hard worker with a great way with kids and we are happy to have her with us.

Welcome, Brianna! 9.12.22

Brianna is a senior at SUNY Albany, who is working with us this fall in Room 5 and in After Care. She is caring, and competent. Mrs. Rebecca is already singing her praises for her help in Room 5, and Ms. Steph, in After Care told of Brianna calming a child’s first-time-away-from-home-jitters, forming a bond that will likely be long-lasting. We also appreciate Brianna for completing a hefty list of preparation projects during the school vacation weeks, helping teachers and speech therapists get ready for the fall session.


We were fortunate today to have some delightful volunteers from Pioneer Bank here, celebrating their community volunteer day, “Pioneer’s All Together Forward Day.” Refilling and raking out mulch on our enormous playground, cleaning up leftover leaves around the perimeter, and even offering some IT expertise, were some of the tasks they helped us with, all with smiles and some of the most cheerful people you’ll ever meet. Thanks so much for your volunteering to make our community a better place!

Folks from LifeSong are here weekly, helping out with a million things. We love them!

Follow LifeSong’s activities by clicking here.


Crossroads Center for Children is located at 1136 North Westcott Road, Schenectady, N.Y. 12306. Our mission statement – To prepare individuals with and without developmental disabilities for life success within their family and community – is benefited by involvement from our community. Please consider being a volunteer at Crossroads.

Learn more about volunteering:

Volunteer at Crossroads Center for Children

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