Volunteering: PAWS – Habitat – ESL

Between work and play I make time for help. This summer I chose to help by volunteering with three organizations: PAWS (Philadelpha Animal Welfare Society), Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, and Center for Learning and Literacy.

PAWS has three shelters. Each one houses a number of dogs and cats which you as a volunteer help care for. I have only been in a few times to help but am already accostumed to where things go and how a shift is run. Now it isn’t all playing with cats and dogs while you are there. Yes, it is important that the animals get to play, walk, and get some time outside their kennel. However, there are many other small tasks which are vital to keeping the shelters running smoothly such as: replacing cat litter boxes, making boxes, refilling on food and water for cats and dogs, assisting with laundry, sweeping and moping floors, sanitzing toys or new kennels for incoming animals, etc. In between playing and petting animals I like to clean my hands and rotate to any of the tasks listed above. My best suggestion for volunteering at a shelter would be to wear sneakers, long pants (prefereably a pair you don’t care about getting dirty), and a loose t-shirt. This attire is comfortable and allows you to move around and get messy. It also keeps most of you covered and away from any diseases or fleas which an animal may be being treated for.  When I am not helping animals keep happy on their search for a new home I like to help people.

Habitat for Humanity is more closely related to my field of design and is people oriented. Habitat’s volunteer days or slots fill quickly! I haven’t had a chance yet to acutally volunteer. Most people know about Habitat’s construction site volunteer days, however they also run a ReStore. The ReStore is like Goodwill. Gently used furniture, appliances, utensils, techonology, and building materials  are sorted, stored, and sold. Volunteering for the ReStore is more difficult becuase positions are given first to families being given a Habitat Home. These families pay back the Habitat Home in part monetarily and in part through “sweat equity” or volunteer hours. I am excited to volunteer on either a construction site or in the ReStore and can’t wait to see the July calendar before it fills up! In the meantime, I was hoping to help people in Philadelphia learn English.

Sadly the Center for Learning and Literacy was underfunded and could not continue their volunteer tutoring program in ESL. Despite this I will keep my eye out for their return of the program or a similar language tutoring program to volunteer for. If you know of any, please comment below. I really appreciate it!

I always find it nice to spend time away from school and work productively. By volunteering I get to do something fun, on my own schedule, build a unique set of skills, and help others out at the same time. Take some time out of your day to give back and get back: happy volunteering!

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