The Journey of a Wildlife Rescuer April Hoffman

  • Photos by:
    April Hoffman
  • Published on:
    December 13, 2018
  • Reading time by:
    5 minutes

April Hoffman - Founder & Owner Wild Souls

A juggled wife, mother, stepmom, blended family dynamics from time to time a stay at home mom to a working woman. April Hoffman grew up in a small town Oak Grove Mo where she experienced the “empty nest” about 3 years ago that catapulted her self-growth and the powerhouse of Wild Souls.

“Healing wildlife and the human spirit“ is driven from Hoffman being a Native American and Implementing her heritage Cherokee Indian. Along with smiles she experience when a child shows up at the door knowing she will help the animal that they were convicted to help.

I was inspired to start a non-profit organization when I personally found two baby squirrels.

It disturbed Hoffman that by the lack of resources that are in place for this scenario. The options are either help and possibly face a 10k fine for illegally handling wildlife without a permit, let it die or drive hours to find a wildlife rehab facility.

And that day “This has to change and I’m going to do it” went through my mind.

Wild Souls

What’s unique about Wild Souls is it’s 1 of 4 wildlife nonprofit rehabilitation centers in the entire state of Missouri. Wild Souls is also the only nonprofit that does constant rescues in the area while educating the public on wildlife conflict. Wild Souls receive NO government funding they are an ALL female board with diverse backgrounds. From VP of a bank, vet tech, accountant, horse trainer, Foster mother, customer service.  

Wild Souls rescues all native species and rehabilitate the injured with the goal to release them back in their natural habitat. the organization is in the process of aligning with a local college for programs for students wanting careers in animal welfare, veterinary, wildlife rehab.

Legal issues 

Legal issues when creating the organization.. Yes, there are so many. We have to abide by state & federal laws that govern wildlife. Qualify and maintain permits through the dept of conservation. On top of carrying a million dollar insurance policy for our volunteers, quarterly reports to the IRS and abiding by their regulations.

Wild Souls does more than rescue. They rehabilitate and release while making a positive experience or impact on the public. They also, help charities to give back.

Sacrifices

Sacrifices- In the beginning I underestimated the amount of sacrifice it takes to become a successful business women.

Being everywhere at once has been a constant battle Hoffman tells. She will admit it’s taking a toll on relationships, finances. But overall the sacrifices have been for something greater. Hoffman’s sacrifices have turned into priorities. That friend’s event, declining that invitation, not buying that purse, or skipping a vacation reflecting on those lonely moments of sacrificing personal social events . 

I felt left out was really me prioritizing wild souls so it can be where it is today. As CEO and the founder everything falls on my shoulders. So the sacrifices ..the victories make up for them. In my experience any time I was was getting to feel beat from those sacrifices there has been a breakthrough of victory. So you must keep going!

Entrepreneurial advice

Popular entrepreneur advice Hoffman sees is the “hustle” mindset. She hustled hard the first 8 months with sleepless nights. 

Destiny or control your own faith

I believe everything happens for a reason.

It’s either a blessing or a lesson. It’s to be aware and recognize it. As well as distractions. If it’s in your heart that it’s what you should do, then do it 100% I can control myself and my fate My destiny is the journey and the person I/we become along the way. The people that are suppose to be on your journey to support you rise up and cheer you on  while the wrong ones don’t. I’ve learned you can’t control people in supporting you so I leave that to fate.

Proudest achievement

Hoffman’s had as many struggles as proud moments. But the one that always brings a tear to her eyes is when The Department of Conservation agent came to do the Wild Souls inspection. Hoffman had done everything in her control for a year flying out of state to symposiums, volunteering while doing an apprenticeship, building state approved enclosures, rehabbing animals at her home under someone else’s permit while working her full-time job at the time. The agent showed up inspected the facility and approved Wild Souls as its own entity.

I dropped to my knees and cried. All the sacrifices finally came to an end and a new chapter began for Wild Souls. We have rescued, rehabilitated 146 native animals in the last 3 months. And hundreds of smiles along the way. Anywhere from an owl to a bobcat.

Failures

Entrepreneurs are all their own worst critic. They fail miserably at times. They can be so passionate talking and won’t listen enough. Entrepreneurs try to come from a place of understanding that their pace is not everyone else’s pace.

I fail at self care, taking that day off to just shut my mind down and be present. I’m working on that. It’s so very important. Being a CEO it’s a constant up and down. The balancing is key to it all.


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