Civic Engagement Class Project Paper

In working on this project for class I found the working with the North Shore Animal League to be a very positive and rewarding experience.  This community program is one of the largest in the nation and depends solely on the help of volunteers who love animals as much as the founders, Mr. and Mrs. Lewyt.   As a volunteer, I worked in a wide variety of areas in this company from everything to the adoption center to helping coordinate the pet adoptathon campaign that took place on March 22 and March 23 that the North Shore Animal League sponsors every year.

The pet adoptathon I found to be especially fulfilling from a volunteer stand point.  It gave me the chance to see how the organization of this company came together at a large event such as this and also helped me feel that I was taking part in helping pets find good homes.

My work at the North Shore Animal League began in March on the 7th.  On this day I was introduced to the mission of this group and they explained to me what kinds of activities that their groups does to help animals.  On March 14, I began to help in the coordinating of the pet adoptathon that would take place later in that month by helping with the advertising of the event.

Events such as an adoptathon are dependent on getting fliers and other kinds of advertising out into the community. I helped to organize and pass out fliers so that we could make the event a successful one.  March 22nd was the first day of the adoptathon.  My duty at this first day of the event was to work the reception desk.  I found this was to be a very rewarding job because I was able to see people who were eager to come in and meet a new friend to adopt.  I also was amazed at the difference in the animals when new people came into the area of the adoptathon.

The animals seem to perk up and respond warmly to the people that were there to adopt them.  On March 23rd, the second day of the event, I was asked to work in a different area of the event.  On this second day my duty was to keep the record of the animals that were being adopted.  On March 24th, I was integral in helping to calculate the funds that were raised by the adoptathon.  The North Shore Animal League depends on funds from such events to keep the League up and runnig.  In August and September I was also able to work in the fund raising events of the Patient Welfare Program.  This program collected funds for disbursing to people in need by having a series of dinners that I helped to coordinate.

I feel that in completing this project I learned a great deal about not only myself but about the reasons that people give their time to volunteer at such groups as the North Shore Animal League.  Volunteering is such a personal journey that each person takes and seeing my fellow volunteers and the joy that they felt inspired me in ways that I didn’t think they would.

Prior to taking part in the activities that I did, I had never really thought much about volunteering, but I found a greater sense of purpose when I saw the look on the people’s faces that were adopting a pet during the pet adoptathon. I had never thought that there was a need in a community for volunteers but the experience that I had showed me that indeed there was a huge need.

One man that I worked with told me that he volunteered at the League because it made him feel good to know that he was helping animals find loving families.  At first I did not understand what he meant, but then as I worked in the adoption center, I began to see what he meant.

The animals that I helped to find homes for made my heart swell with pride whenever one of them was adopted.  It is one thing to sit in a classroom and hear a lecture about volunteering and the joys that can be gained from such an experience but it is totally different to actually take part in the volunteering.  As a volunteer, I saw the need for it that we as a society have and how community groups like the North Shore Animal League would not survive if they did not have volunteers that gave of their time to such a worthy group.

In completing this assignment, I found strength of new purpose to my own goals and direction in life.  Prior to volunteering at the North Shore Animal League I had never thought much about volunteering.  I had heard a lot about the benefits that people felt after they volunteered, but had never thought of doing if myself.  From the moment that I began volunteering I saw how one person could make a huge impact on the lives of other people and animals.  Being around the animals at the North Shore Animal League and helping to find them good homes not only made me feel great about myself but also showed me the difference that a volunteer can make.

I also understood better what volunteering was all about after I completed this project.  Before I had thought that volunteers were just people that did it because they had a lot of time on their hands or were bored, but while working with this group I saw that volunteers help out because they know that groups like the North Shore Animal League need them there.

Without the base of volunteers groups like the North Shore Animal League would not be as successful as they have become.  I now understand that volunteering is not something that people do because of boredom, but that they volunteer because they want to make a difference in the world.  I feel that the time that I spent in volunteering at the North Shore Animal League has also given me a greater clarity on my goals for the future.

I saw the immense impact that volunteering at such a worthy group had not only on the group themselves but on my own personal outlook.  Prior to volunteering, I saw giving up time as something that was just another requirement in a list of other requirements that I had for classes.  Once I got to the League and saw the difference that giving my time to help the animals that were there had, I realized that volunteering wasn’t just another requirement, but was something that filled me with a joy and sense of purpose that I have never felt before.  I feel that because of what I have learned in doing this project that I will continue to give up my time to help others in my community more often.

My goals for the future now include giving up a few hours of my time every week to help out at such worthy causes.  I know that by doing this I can make a difference.  When I worked at the League, I got to help in a variety of areas. One area specifically impacted on me while I was there was the pet adoption center.  It was heartbreaking to see the faces of the animals that were waiting to be adopted.  They waited forlornly in the cages for someone to come in and take them home.  I at first felt sad when I was helping in this area, but then I noticed how the animals changed when a respective family would come in to the adoption area.

The pets didn’t see their time at the League as a doom filled life as I first thought, but as a chance to find a new life with a family that would cherish them.  When my volunteering was done that is something that I took away from the experience.  There is always a new and shiny chance for a brighter tomorrow and the experiences that I had while at the league helped me see that.  I now look upon life and indeed volunteering in a new light.  Before I saw it only as a chore, but now I see volunteering as something different; a gift that each of us can give back to our communities and make everyone have a brighter, happier tomorrow.