A human-services organization is nothing without a group of dedicated and passionate staff members who are motivated to help improve the lives of others. For Crossroads Safehouse, Missy Van Sickle is a pivotal part of this group.
Van Sickle, who has been a positive contributing force to the Crossroads team for nearly 5 years, was recently promoted to Shelter and Outreach Director. This promotion will allow Crossroads to continue to build on its rich and impactful history by merging the shelter and outreach programs into one cohesive unit under Missy’s leadership.
Missy will bring a wealth of knowledge to her new role, seen through her history with the organization:
When did you first start working for Crossroads Safehouse? What inspired you to seek a position there?
I first started working at Crossroads Safehouse in April of 2013 as a part-time advocate, mainly working evening and overnight shifts. From there I moved into a full-time evening position with a caseload. After about a year in that role I was asked to take over the Outreach Program which I have been in for the last three years.
My inspiration for taking the position came from my childhood. When I was 10 years old my older sister (15 years older) was in a very abusive relationship. As a child, I felt like there was very little I could do to support her and help her through her difficult time. When I had the opportunity to join Crossroads, I felt a deep, personal connection with the mission.
What is one of your most fond work memories from your time with Crossroads Safehouse?
One of my most fond memories was when I first started. I was working with a woman and her three children. She was having a very difficult time in the communal living setting. Other residents found her to be very abrasive and many staff had a difficult time connecting with her. After a couple of weeks, she came to me and asked very abruptly, “Do people not like me?” We sat and chatted for a while and had very open and straightforward conversation about how others respond to her. As we got deeper in the conversation, she explained that she learned over the course of her life and relationship to put up an emotional wall so that others could not hurt her. We discussed that the wall that she built for protection was also pushing others away that are there to support her. From that point forward, she opened herself up. She recognized people responded to her more kindly and opportunities began to open up for her. She ended up moving out of the shelter into her own housing with a full-time job.
The fondness of this memory does not come from her success, rather her ability to be so brave in her life. She showed an incredible amount of strength by opening up and being vulnerable even though she had been hurt so many times before.
What inspired you to pursue a career in human services and therapy?
Connection. I think that when we find a way to connect with others we can tap into a deep place of empathy. I love helping people understand why they feel stuck and see them overcome those obstacles by recognizing their own strength.
What do you aspire to accomplish with your new position as Shelter and Outreach Director?
I believe Crossroads has a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to provide more outreach services not only to the victims we serve, but also to the community. I would like us to provide more prevention and education programs. I would like to see a larger conversation around the prevalence of intimate partner violence in our community. Domestic violence gets its power from the silence around it. The more we talk about it and understand it, the less power it holds.
Congratulations on your promotion Missy! The community in northern Colorado looks forward to continuing to see your work unfold.