AEO Building a Better World Volunteer of the Month: Jessica, American Eagle Store Team Leader

AEO associates share our commitment to doing better, being better and building a better world. We’re proud to spotlight our people who are making a real and lasting impact in their communities.

Meet Jessica, American Eagle Store Team Leader and AEO’s June Volunteer of the Month – recognized for her passion of fostering special needs animals through a local rescue organization. She’s sharing the benefits of giving back to her community, what she’s learned from helping cats and dogs in need and how volunteering has become a true family affair.

Tell us about your volunteer service at your favorite organization!

I volunteer with All Creatures Big and Small (ACBS), which is a foster-based animal rescue. I started volunteering with ACBS during the pandemic when rescues were struggling to place pets in need. My first foster was a kitty, roughly a year old that had been found shot in the leg. It required an amputation of her leg and an extensive recovery. This was a huge learning process for me regarding the need of fosters and the work veterinary professionals do everyday. This cat became a foster fail (we ended up keeping it!), and we started to foster special needs cases from then on! While we foster many cats, we have also fostered dogs that needed special attention. I also volunteer to clean and take care of  medical cases that are in clinical boarding until they can move into a foster home.

It became apparent to me that there is a great need in this space, and I started to plan fundraising events and speak with groups about the importance of fostering.

How do you think that being an active participant in your community helps to Build a Better World?

No matter where we volunteer, we make a difference in our community. I have actually volunteered my whole life. When I lived in Germany, I volunteered in youth services and with a senior citizen program. You build partnership with your community, friendships and regardless where you volunteer you impact lives. Why not give back and be a better version of yourself?

What are some of the benefits you have found in volunteering? What have you learned?

I become calm and relaxed when I am with our fosters, both at home and at the clinic. They need me to be as calm and relaxed as possible to help their healing process, physically or mentally. I have learned the real importance around the trap-neuter-return process for animals and how there never seems to be enough support in rescue and foster communities. I have also learned that as hard as it is to finalize adoptions and let your foster go, seeing them flourish in their new life is a beautiful feeling! This experience has now become somewhat of a family affair, and my husband and children participate without hesitation in their free time because they see the need and the impact they make.