Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – The Art of Lending A Paw

Name: Jordan McKoy
From: Greensboro, North Carolina
Grade: 12
School: Greensboro College Middle College
Votes: 41

The Art of Lending a Paw

By: Jordan McKoy

Volunteering is something I had always kept dear to my heart even when I was
younger I had always wanted to help people who were not as fortunate
as I am. Giving back has always been something that I treasured. My
biggest passion is animals. I always dreamed of becoming an animal
conversationalist and helping endangered and threatened species of
animals. So in my sophomore year of high school, I sent in an
application for the Greensboro Science Center to be a member of their
well acclaimed volunteer program.

When I had gotten word that I was accepted, I had went through all of the
proper training and learned all of the animal handling protocols and
other things of that nature. I only volunteered and still do
volunteer twice a month for anywhere between three to four hours.
Over the years I have managed to serve a total of two-hundred and
fifteen minutes. While volunteering I have talked to hundreds of
people on animal conservation and why it is important. The talks
with visitors really confirmed that I was doing what I needed to do
to help animals who are at risk of extinction. The talks opened many
people’s eyes to the fact that animal endangerment and the
extinction of a particular species of animal can have a damaging
impact on the environment as a whole. While volunteering I have
handled animals for one-on one interaction with the visitors, I have
cleaned enclosures to help the animals be prepared for the day, and I
have also helped prepare animal diets.

The biggest challenge for me
has been dealing with visitors who don’t want to listen when you
tell them that some rules are set in place for their safety as well
as the animal’s safety. For example, visitors will often try to
hop over the rope in the Wallaby Walkthrough to touch a Wallaby,
which is not a great idea. And even when there are days that are
very busy the thing that keeps me wanting to volunteer is when I feel
like I am making a difference by educating the general public on why
animals are important. I have had people tell me that aren’t
animal lovers in particular that the information I gave them, gave
them a whole new perspective on the issue and they wanted to learn
how they could help. I have learned in my experience volunteering
that even something as small as educating something on a topic can
make a difference between an endangered species and a threatened
species. The volunteer program at the natural science center is
constantly expanding as more and more people are joining the program.
I think that programs like the Natural science Center are imperative
to helping foster the movement of conservation of animals. While
progress is being made there is still a lot of work to be done. I
would like to see more of people wanting to put to action what they
have heard about conservation through my educating them.

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