With your kids out of school, it can sometimes be a challenge to find enough events and activities to fill up their now-empty schedule and keep them from being restless or bored. There are certainly numerous camps or summer schools they could attend. While positive opportunities, these can often cost a good bit and may only last a week or two. What other alternatives are there?
How about checking out animal volunteering? Local pet shelters can especially use all the help they can get, and there are many ways for youths to contribute to the effort! There are plenty of jobs youths can help out with, such as cleaning cages, decorating shelters, doing basic office administrative work (such as making phone calls), or taking pictures of pets and posting them on adoption sites.
How would you go about finding a shelter or other pet volunteer opportunity? First, do a thorough search of the pet shelters or programs in your area. If they have a website, they’ll often have direct contact info or might even have a page already set up for volunteer job listings that you can apply for.
Get in touch and fill out any provided forms so they can get you on their list of potential volunteers. Some shelters may contact volunteers on a rotating or as-needed basis, or they may schedule you for several weeks or months out, so you know exactly when to go in and lend a helping hand.
If you find a shelter that doesn’t have specific volunteer listings, don’t hesitate to touch base with them and offer your help anyways! It’s the rare shelter that isn’t always needing extra support, and they may just need a suggestion or two from you to realize how valuable your volunteering could be.
Recognize that some shelters have legal reasons for limiting the age groups that can be active on their grounds. This can mean only youths 13+ or even more restrictive limits such as only those 16-18 years old. Contact your local shelter to learn exactly what they’re looking for. Even if your kid is too young by themselves, there are certain shelters that allow them to participate so long as they have an adult sponsor along for the time.
Have your kids ever volunteered with any pet initiatives or at an animal shelter? What was their experience like? What local pet volunteer programs would you like to let others know about so they can get involved as well?
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