Truly a Neighborhood Volunteer

Stephanie with cat Mandy

Gifford’s mighty cadre of volunteers come from every walk of life and dozens of geographic locations. But none could have originated closer than Stephanie H., who grew up on Undine Road!

What must it have been like, to ride her bike past the shelter every day?

The main house – that now contains the offices and upstairs cat rooms – used to be a full home for a family of five. Stephanie, friends with the daughter, recalls spending hours roller skating in the shelter’s driveway. We can only wonder, when she is hurrying from the brick to the house and back, if Stephanie ever catches a past glimpse of herself, playing on the grounds. Perhaps it was these fond memories that laid the ground work for her current service to Gifford?

Back then, the brick was still made of brick, and Stephanie remembers the area was a haven for strays, as people would drop their cats near Gifford’s property. Her first cat, when she was only 18 years old, was a stray kitten found just blocks away.

Launching herself into early adulthood, Stephanie worked at the Museum of Science and then moved to New Mexico, hoping to work at the O’Keeffe Museum. If you know her in person, you won’t be surprised to learn that by sheer determination, Stephanie not only got herself hired there, but worked her way up through accounting and payroll, setting herself up for the move back to the Boston. She continues to administer payroll and benefits at another non-profit close by. Perhaps it was this long history of work in this sector that began moving her back in our direction?

Stephanie returned to Boston about six years ago, and her new neighborhood was rife with cats. So she ended up trapping two strays, working with Charles River Alley Cats.  Her first foray into TNR (trap, neuter, release) was successful, so she continued to forage for a trap here and there, doing so much rescue work that she ended up buying her own trap!  This finally led her back to Gifford, where she is now known as Original Stephanie, not to be confused with the other Stephanie that works with her on her routine shift.

Of course, there can only be one Stephanie H., a long-time Gifford volunteer with the important job of delivering nighttime medicines to our residents. Thank you Stephanie for your dedication and hard work!

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