Alyssa Schuster, Summer Intern
As someone who has always had a passion for working with animals, I was so excited to be provided with the opportunity to work with SICSA. I have had jobs in the past working with animals, but I really wanted to gain more experience and learn new skills that would help me in future endeavors. Considering I have volunteered at a variety of places myself, I accepted the position to work with Jennie Baxla, the Volunteer Coordinator. Throughout my time here as a SICSA intern, I have learned an enormous amount about what SICSA has done for the Greater Dayton community and also about the various aspects of a non-profit. However, the area I learned the most about was Volunteer Services.
The entire volunteer program at SICSA is impressive, to say the least. In 2014 460 volunteers donated over 14,000 hours of their time. These volunteers are trained before they start giving their time. From personal experience, I know that not all places train their volunteers. I have had volunteer experiences where I was just thrown in without any clear direction of what really needed to be done. Not only are all volunteers trained, but they attend a training that is specifically geared towards what they would like to do. Volunteers can come to work with dogs, cats, or with clerical duties. In addition, they may take dogs out to local parks and take pets to facilities such as assisted living and behavioral/mental health facilities through the Paw Partners program. Plus, volunteers may also foster some of our animals.
Going on a Paw Partners Social visit to the YWCA was one of the highlights for me this summer. Going on one of these visits shows you the impact that SICSA is having in the community, apart from adoptions. When going on Paw Partner Social visits, you’re not only benefiting the dog or cat with extra socialization, but you are also providing members of the community with some animal interaction. For many, this is the only time they get the chance to play with dogs or cats. Another one of my favorite things from the summer was assisting with the volunteer trainings. As mentioned above, I feel like many places don’t give their volunteers any skills they may need like SICSA does. I really enjoyed being able to help volunteers feel more comfortable about being here and helping.
I have learned so much throughout my internship at SICSA. I am so grateful to have been giving the opportunity to not only gain new skills, but also to have been able to contribute something to the dogs and cats in the Dayton community.