Volunteer Spotlight: Theresa Schuster
The SPCA Albrecht Center could not operate without our team of over 220 active volunteers. Point blank. Every day, our incredible volunteers help with walking dogs, cleaning cat rooms and socializing cats, greeting in our Veterinary Care Center, working in our Thrift Store, fostering, attending offsite adoption events and so much more! In 2019, this team donated well over 11,000 hours of their time – directly supporting SPCA staff and providing quality care for the over 1,300 homeless animals the Shelter takes in every year.
There is no amount of thanks we can extend to our team of volunteers – though we try our best to send them off every day with a ‘thank you’ after their hard work. One way we like to show appreciation for all of their amazing work is to recognize one outstanding volunteer a month in our ‘Volunteer Spotlight.”
For December the SPCA Albrecht Center would like to recognize Theresa Schuster. Her passions in a nutshell: dogs, history, and art. Aiken is the 19th city Theresa has lived, moving here 2 weeks after her daughter graduated from high school. Relocating is a common way of life for the military, and Theresa spent 11 years in the Air Force in which she dealt with satellites, uplink, command and control, and mission planning. During her career, the military gave Theresa a lifelong sense of patriotism and serving others, as well as a desire to be part of the solution instead of simply pointing out a problem.
Theresa volunteers for several non-profits in the area, and when COVID-19 began this Spring, many of the organizations halted their volunteer programs. In March, the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia put all student and senior programs on hold; Theresa was a docent, or guide and educator, for the museum. The Iron Man triathlon is Theresa’s top favorite event to help with, but this venue was also cancelled.
Theresa is not one to sit at home, so she moved her efforts to needs presented during a pandemic. Domestic animals need care no matter what political, economic, or historical climate surrounding them, so Theresa used her availability to delve into helping the SPCA. Trying out several volunteer roles, Theresa settled on assisting at the Thrift Store on Whiskey Road. Recently crowned the “Scarf Queen” by fellow volunteers, she lends a hand every Tuesday sorting through clothes and putting them on display as well as helping with other administrative support tasks.
At home, Theresa spends time with her rescue beagle, June Bug. Three years ago, the family adopted June Bug from the Carolina Loving House Rescue. She was likely a puppy mill momma and has some cognitive deficit. Described as a sweet and very submissive pooch, June Bug relies on her humans for reassurance when she’s scared. Theresa explains, “she brings out the best in us and taught us patience.” June Bug may like the peace and calm of home, but Theresa enjoys the energy of a crowd and enjoys attending music, athletic, and eating events whenever she has a chance.While waiting for health to return to our world so we can all get together again, she works part-time for the Savannah River Site Museum and finds ways to give back to her community.
A big thank you from the SPCA Albrecht Center for choosing our Shelter and Thrift Store during such a difficult time. A big thank you to Theresa for choosing our Shelter and Thrift Store for your volunteer work! You are a joy and through your efforts bring health and safety to the homeless animals in Aiken.
If you’d like to join our amazing team of volunteers, please visit www.LetLoveLive.org/volunteer.
Miranda Ewing joined the team at the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare in February 2020. She has committed her life to volunteering and fostering homeless animals and believes the strength of a community shines when we can lean on each other. A 2012-2013 AmeriCorps alumni and Rescue Volunteer for Team Stinkykiss (a local CSRA animal rescue), she is an advocate for all animals and all people! Her family includes her husband, who knows all critters may find a temporary home with him (even if he's allergic to some).