For many shelters, one of the biggest challenges is finding volunteers who are invested in the shelter. In some cases, the shelter has a tough history and the community thinks of it as a “sad place”. Consequently, they don’t want to spend time there.
Offering a free children’s program (or any-age program) in the community at a library, church, rec center, or other gathering place, is a way for a shelter to give back. It’s also an opportunity to show the public what is happening in the shelter, introduce them to adoptable dogs, and change the narrative.
Most importantly, it’s a wonderful opportunity to recruit good-quality volunteers. If they care enough about animals to come to an educational program, they are just the type of people who will care enough to help a shelter or rescue. Outreach programs are great PR for any shelter or rescue.
Many volunteers want to help walk dogs, or play with pups and kittens. Have a list ready for age-appropriate and skill appropriate tasks for anyone who wants to volunteer, where the volunteer feels appreciated and the shelter gets its needs met. Some examples:
- Youngsters can put the food enrichment items together. (The dogs don’t care if it doesn’t look pretty.)
- Senior citizens can sit in an office and help socialize pups and kittens with just their presence (and not being knocked down.)
You can utilize our programs and tailor them to fit your needs, expanding on them or even using them to create a “camp” for kids in the summer time to get your community into your shelter building. While liability sometimes prevents shelters from allowing children to handle dogs in the facility, they can do other things – fill Kongs with peanut butter, make enrichment toys, draw pictures of the dogs, write adoption profiles, hold fundraiser or supply-drives, assist at adoption events, maybe spruce up a play yard. Kids want to help and by making the shelter a welcoming place. It’s where they will go when the time comes for them to get their own dog.
Our mission is to raise awareness and resources for shelter animals and the people who champion them.