Youth Forward Scholarship 2018 – Volunteering Impacts

Name: Gabrielle Trent
From: Spokane, Washington
Grade: 10
School: The Community School
Votes: 0

Volunteering
Impacts


People
used to push me to volunteer because, “That’s what colleges want
to see!” But that’s not why I volunteer. Volunteering is an
action that is supposed to help others, not only yourself. So I
volunteer in the animal care field, somewhere I know I can make a
difference. I volunteer to help the animals that aren’t likely to
get adopted.

I
volunteer up to three hours a week or sometimes more, depending on
how busy I am and how busy the shelter is. I also help with their
outlook programs, such as adoption fairs and expos. On a normal day,
I am responsible for walking the dogs and caring for them, spend a
bit of time training with them, doing laundry (bedding and toys need
to be washed a lot!) and speaking to potential adopters.

The
biggest challenge for me is training the dogs. Nobody is watching us
to make sure we train the dogs, and it’s not a volunteer necessity,
so it’s easy to just pick up a tennis ball or sit on your phone
while the dog runs around for ten minutes. But I know that training
these dogs will help them find homes, so I went to a local training
facility and learned some training techniques. It’s difficult and
requires a lot of patience, but it’s all to help the dogs.

Volunteering
takes up a lot of my free time, so it’s easy to ask myself why I do
this. But then I notice my work start to pay off. The dogs I’ve
come to help get adopted. It’s worth it, because that was the whole
reason I started volunteering. Every dog has a potential, but I just
need to work harder with some to see it. I learned that dogs are a
lot like people. People often make our first impression based off of
the pictures we see or the clothes they wear instead of how we
interact. But if we only take our time before choosing how to judge
somebody, we can see what’s really there.

I’m
setting up a program with the assistant director at the humane
society to take better photos of the dogs in the shelter to raise
their adoption potential online. I’m cooperating with the shelter
to organize different ways to reach out to the youth and spread the
word of volunteering. I mean to look forward to ensure that I can
make a difference after I’m gone.

To
look forward can mean several things. It can mean to gaze into the
oncoming distance, it can mean to positively anticipate something, it
can mean having a positive attitude.  To me, it means planning
ahead. I’m planning ahead to help the animals in the shelter even
after I’ve left. I’m reviewing what I’ve learned from volunteer
to look forward to my future. I know I’ve made a difference to not
only the shelter animals, but to myself by learning and making an
impact.


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