Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2016 – Making a Difference for the Animals

Name: Candace Jensen
From: Greer, South Carolina
Grade: 11th
School: Greer High School
Votes: 0

Making a Difference for the

As an animal lover, it hurts me to see animals living on the streets or stuck in cages sick and lonely. After years of seeing this issue and how it had increased, I decided I wanted to do my part for those animals. I didn’t have the time and resources available to go my local humane society on a regular basis but I wanted to figure out something I could do to
support them. One day I saw a post on the Greenville Humane Society Facebook page about fostering. I checked out their website to get more information and realized this might be the opportunity I was looking for. Being able to bring an animal home for a couple of weeks and take care of them was right up my alley and I knew I would be able to make a difference in the lives of these animals. 
I began volunteering as a foster parent my sophomore year and have been doing it ever since. Through this, I hope to encourage others to find volunteer opportunities that match their interests and fit their lifestyle.

When I foster an animal, I take them home for two weeks and then take them back to be adopted. Just like having a baby, it’s a 24/7 job. The animals I foster are sick and they need to be taken out of the shelter so they won’t get any other animals sick. While they are in my care, they are given lots of love and attention. I also feed them and make sure they take their medicine. Since I have to keep them separated from my pets, I turn a room in our house into their temporary home and have to make it safe and keep it clean. It’s amazing how big of a mess one little puppy or kitten can make. After two weeks, I take them back to the Greenville Humane Society where they are checked out by the vet and, if healthy, put up for adoption.

It’s practically impossible not to get attached to the animals I foster. Once you have spent two weeks taking care of them and loving them it is very hard to take them back. Hands down this is the most challenging aspect of fostering. In the end though, it’s worth it knowing that you have helped these animals get a second chance at finding their forever homes.

Being a foster parent takes a lot of time throughout the day but it strengthens my time management skills and gives me a greater appreciation for what all is involved in taking care of another living thing. Fostering has also taught me the importance of community service. Without the help of volunteers, non-profit organizations would not be able to accomplish the things they do. Volunteering with the humane society matches my love for animals. I had always hoped to have lots of pets but my career goals involve lots of travel which isn’t conducive to pet ownership. Continuing to be a foster parent will allow me to have the best of both worlds.

Discovering a volunteer opportunity that matched my interests and fit my lifestyle has changed my viewpoint on volunteering. Volunteering for something you are passionate about is volunteering you will continue to do in the future; that’s what forward looking means to me. Not only has it opened my eyes to the vital role volunteers play in an organization,
it also taught me the importance of doing research to find not just opportunities but opportunities that ignite a passion within.

If by volunteering at the humane society I am able to save the life of just one animal, then I have made a difference. If I can encourage others to volunteer, then I have made a huge difference; one that will have an impact 10, 20, or 30 years down the road.

Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".