I have volunteered for one organization or another since I was a teenager.
I started as a candy striper at St. Paul’s Hospital. I was about 14.
Then I volunteered for Expo 86, then with animal rights groups and a student newspaper in university. There was the vet where I hoped I would actually get a job, and an animal shelter or two where I was glad I didn’t.
Now there’s Katie’s Place – where I never get paid for what I do, but feel the most rewarded for my time.
Katie’s Place is always looking for new volunteers. Our doors are open to people who would like to come and join our ever growing crew.
We house a little more than 100 cats, and occasionally other small animals, such as bunnies, rats, hamsters, and birds.
While we always need people for cleaning shifts, there are many other volunteer opportunities available. We need people who can clip nails and brush cats. We need people who are experienced in animal health. We need people who can fundraise, since all our money comes from adoption fees, donations, and fundraising. We need people for foster homes. And we need people to come and hang out with our animals so they get some much deserved love and attention.
You can donate as much or as little time as you feel comfortable with. Some people spend hours at the shelter. Trust me, it’s not hard. Some people prefer to pop in once a week for an hour. It’s really up to you and how much time you have to offer.
We have volunteer co-ordinators who can go over all the specifics with you. With summer fast approaching, I can say without a doubt that we will need people to cover shifts because summer holidays always leave us a little short staffed.
You may want to sign up for the summer months with your kids (assuming they are old enough) and teach them the importance of giving back to the community.
I have always found that helping others puts your own life into perspective, and takes your mind off of your own problems. I can be having the worst day, but when I go up to Katie’s Place to look after the cats, the world just melts away, and I know that in some small way I am helping to make this world just a little bit better.
And that is payment enough for me.
– By Magdalena Romanow, a volunteer with Katie’s Place animal shelter.