Photo by Anna Comfort

What drew you to lead Second Chance?

I have been involved in animal rescue my entire life. When I moved to Columbia in 2013, I knew I needed to find a place to get involved right away, and our community is lucky to have several fantastic animal organizations. I was drawn to Second Chance in particular because of our fostering program and wide variety of volunteer opportunities. After volunteering in just about every capacity for three years, when the opportunity to become the executive director presented itself, I knew it would be the perfect fit for me.

What are the joys and challenges of leading a nonprofit?

The most joyful moments in animal rescue revolve around helping people and their animals. When you hear from an adopter about how great their Second Chance alumnus is doing or when someone tells you how profoundly grateful they are that we could help their pet in their time of need, those are the truly joyful moments.

The biggest challenge is realizing that we still have so much work to do. Second Chance is not able to take in every animal that is brought to us because we simply don’t have enough space or resources. We continue to improve and help more animals every year as we grow, though!

What qualities or strengths do you bring to the role that make your leadership unique?

I was fortunate enough to be handed a stable organization by a great interim executive director. Although I’m relatively new to the Columbia community, I’ve been able to focus my attention on developing connections for Second Chance and boosting community recognition for who we are and what we do. I think my biggest strength as an executive director is being able to make people just as passionate about our mission as I am — even folks who don’t like animals!

What are your hopes for the organization’s future?

Second Chance is in a period of growth right now, where awareness of us and desire to adopt from us is growing exponentially. Unfortunately, our volunteer base and facilities are not quite keeping up. My hope for the future of Second Chance is that we secure funding to allow us to expand our capability to help people and their animals.


Recent News

Made from Scratch

DeMarko Coleman and Teresa Wright connect over a bagel sandwich. Photos by Keith Borgmeyer The unlikely friendship between DeMarko Coleman and Teresa Wright started...

Laying Down Roots

Clyde and Sheila Ruffin have called Columbia home for 36 years. Photos by Keith Borgmeyer Modern families often find themselves scattered across great distances;...

COMO Loving: Karen Stone

Photo by Keith Borgmeyer Karen Stone, regional program director of The Caring People, is passionate about helping single moms. After teaching school for a...

COMO Loving: Sarah Sandkuhl

Photo by Keith Borgmeyer Yoga instructor Sarah Sandkuhl makes Columbia a better place just by being herself. “Sarah just has this incredible energy. It can...

COMO Loving: Verna Laboy

Verna Laboy lives out her love for the community. Photos by Keith Borgmeyer Community activist Verna Laboy shows up every day to contribute —...