How SCORE helped. 

One of the first things you notice when you walk into SCORE client Betsy Shank's home in Millersville is the low, pervasive skittering sound of 67 orphaned or injured squirrels. Oh – and one celebrity groundhog. Poppy, the groundhog, is a more sedate long-term resident, and she serves as an educator and ambassador for Acorn Acres Wildlife Rehabilitation. The squirrels, including Snags, another Rehabilitation Center ambassador, form a community that appears in constant whirling movement. Reigning over all of this is Betsy Shank, CWR (Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator), definitely living her dream with a bit of help from SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon.

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Making Dreams Happen

When the COVID pandemic shutdown brought most businesses to a standstill, Betsy Shank got busy creating an entirely new cottage industry of creating face masks that met CDC guidelines. Betsy sewed round the clock to meet the demand for her vast assortment of colorful masks. Those efforts generated an additional income that Betsy saw as a key to reviving a long-buried dream.

"I wanted to make a positive, long-lasting impact on my community with the funds I made making masks during 2020. Establishing my own wildlife facility was a dream I once had, so I brought it back to life and made it happen."

- Betsy Shank, CWR, Founder and Executive Director, Acorn Acres Wildlife Rehabilitation

One of the first steps in that journey was to reach out to SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon to request the guidance of a free SCORE mentor. Betsy was very clear in the pursuit of her dream.

"I had one shot at doing it, and it had to be done right. SCORE was the organization to help me do that."

In June of 2020, SCORE mentor Bill Beyers began working with Betsy. The priority was establishing a 501(c)(3) for a wildlife rehabilitation organization specializing in caring for squirrels, cottontails, and groundhogs.

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"In our first sessions, the emphasis was helping guide Betsy through the intricacies of the many governmental and other agency regulations and licensing requirements. In addition, I assisted Betsy in developing practical and workable bylaws before she established the nonprofit organization."

- Bill Beyers, SCORE volunteer mentor

Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns Grow

Acorn Acres Wildlife Rehabilitation is now a dream turned daily reality for Betsy, and she could not be happier. She ensures that the squirrels, bunnies, and woodchucks that are sent to her "Get a second chance too." While providing that chance, Betsy offers her critters "a proper environment (clean, quiet, and predator-free) to grow, thrive, and recover with species-specific optimal nutrition as well as veterinary care." She also keeps in touch with her SCORE mentor with an eye on future plans for growth and development.

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"Mr. Beyer has been an outstanding mentor - advising, encouraging, suggesting, and praising. We worked entirely virtually on all of the documents necessary for a very specialized nonprofit. He explained things I didn't understand, reminded me of things I forgot about, all the while keeping me on my toes and smiling. His sense of humor is wicked funny!"

- Betsy Shank, CWR, Founder and Executive Director, Acorn Acres Wildlife Rehabilitation

The admiration appears to be mutual as her SCORE mentor looks forward to guiding Betsy and her furry entourage into the following chapters of their nonprofit journey.

"It is always a pleasure to work with a client who knows her business, does her homework, and shares her knowledge with a mentor (who can always learn things from the client), and appreciates the business relationship that develops."

- Bill Beyers, SCORE volunteer mentor

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SCORE Success Story: Acorn Acres Wildlife Rehabilitation