Sergio’s Volunteer Diary: Orientation
Animal Care Centers of New York City
For a long period of time, I have been living with a huge void and I’ve heard that “becoming a volunteer” can fill that void. I am an avid animal lover, so my volunteer recipients are obvious. After doing a little research, I discovered Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC.) Every month, the organization offers a two-hour orientation session in each of their NYC borough locations.
The Saturday morning of my confirmed session, I headed to Queens for the one-hour trek. Although I arrived 20 minutes late (thanks to NYC transit!) the ACC reps were totally cool with my tardiness. As I nervously sat down, I immediately scoped the room and concluded the average age was… a bit younger than me. I didn’t care. I was happy. I had finally taken the first step.
The meeting was basically an explanation of the organization and the volunteer program. ACC has been around for over 20 years. Last year, they rescued over 34,000 animals by providing shelter and vet care. Unlike some of the other local shelters, ACC doesn’t turn down animals in need. Their definition of the volunteer program is: “to provide love to the animals.” In the beginning, we are asked to work in a local shelter for a minimum of eight hours per month and to choose to help out either dogs or cats or rabbits. Being a dog person, my choice is going to be easy.
The instructor was knowledgeable and he conducted a very professional, interactive session. I was feeling good, so I knew I was in the right place. We learned that after the initial training is completed, we could also choose to help out with:
1. Short-term fostering.
2. Photographing the animals.
3. Helping out at media events (ACC has a Saturday morning segment on NBC).
4. Helping out at the adoption mobile unit events.
My choices are going to be photographing the animals and helping out at the adoption events. I recently had to put down my pooch, so I’m still a little raw about the possibility of fostering. I’d surely end up with an apartment full of adorable animals.
At the end of the meeting, a volunteer veteran stood up and described how the program changed her life. One way she provides love is by crocheting little blankets for the kitty’s crates. Not everyone can knit but all of us have a skill that can make a furry friend happier.
After the orientation, we were asked to fill out the on-line application. This process helps ACC decide if one is the right fit for the program. I heard back from ACC and my Interview / Tour is scheduled for this week.
Stay tuned for my next post! And click here to check out the Animal Care Centers website.