SICSA’s Parent Youth Partner (PYPer) program allows children ages 8-12 to volunteer alongside a parent or other trusted adult. Together, they walk dogs, help clean cat areas, socialize animals, and much more!
Missy and Jared have been participating in the PYPer program since last year, and have become regular fixtures in SICSA’s cat kennel. Missy wanted to volunteer because, though she’s not retired, she’s not currently working and wanted to add volunteerism into her life. Since she loves cats, SICSA was the perfect fit. Jared, on the other hand, explains that he wanted, “to play with the cats, love on them, and help Memaw clean their rooms.” Missy and Jared can be found cleaning in Kitty City several times a week, which is a huge help to SICSA staff. Without volunteers to help with the daily cleaning, one staff person may have to clean all four cat rooms on their own, which is a huge endeavor!
Not only do Missy and Jared help clean the cat areas, sometimes single-handedly cleaning the majority of the rooms, but they jump in wherever they’re needed. Almost immediately upon starting, Missy made sure that Jared knew how to work SICSA’s washer and dryer so he could help with laundry, and it’s not unusual to witness Jared with a mop in his hand, making sure the floors are spotless, even though the mop is taller than he is! They both help at fundraising and adoption events, Missy is an active member of Friends of SICSA (FOS), and she’s also always willing to transport cats to vet appointments if needed.
Missy says coming to SICSA is like an addiction, and she knows she’s contributing something that the community needs. Jared loves to see and play with all the cats and kittens after he helps with the cleaning. And of course, they both enjoy seeing the cats they love being adopted into new, loving homes, and getting to know the new cats who are always coming in. They also love that they get to meet new people, including staff and other dedicated volunteers.
When asked to share a favorite memory of SICSA, Missy had a hard time picking just one. She says,
“I think every day I volunteer at SICSA is a great memory because I get to interact with awesome staff and other phenomenal volunteers, who laugh and sometimes cry with me. I leave knowing I made a difference that day.”
Jared recently enjoyed being able to show his step-sisters how to clean the cat rooms and kennels so they could also volunteer when they visit SICSA. Jared says that, “SICSA is the best job I could ever have! Who else pays with cats?” Jared is so dedicated, he not only makes sure to visit with all of the adoptable cats in the kennel, but he always makes a point to visit Elvira, SICSA’s back office cat. He can leave each volunteer shift happy, knowing that he’s helped so many animals. Says Missy, “I feel such accomplishment when I walk out the door, knowing that my few hours that day made a difference not only for the cats and kittens, but also for the staff. They are as much a benefit to my positive experience as is spending time hugging and loving a soft, purring kitty.”
We love seeing Missy and Jared at SICSA, and hope they know what a huge difference they’re making to SICSA’s animals! Their positive attitudes, smiling faces, and dedication to SICSA’s mission make them valuable members of SICSA’s volunteer force. Jared has displayed remarkable empathy toward the animals he meets, and we thank Missy for fostering his dedication to SICSA dogs and cats by participating in the PYPer program. Thank you both for all you do!