Kim: Why I Volunteer

April 20 – 27, 2013 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week – and we have a special appreciation for the volunteers who help us here at our clinic in Waynesboro!  Scores of volunteers donate their time and services at the Wildlife Center in a variety of ways – cleaning animal enclosures, feeding orphaned wildlife, assisting the veterinarians with daily treatments, transporting patients to and from the Center, and more!

As we honor our hard-working volunteers this week, we asked them:  Why do you volunteer at the Center?  What keeps you coming back?  Throughout this week we’ll share their responses on our blog.

Interested in volunteering with us?  Learn more!

This post is from Treatment Team volunteer Kim. Kim has been volunteering with us since 2011:

Why do I volunteer at The Wildlife Center? Just as a general rule from a selfish perspective, volunteering seems a good way to get to do interesting things on one's own time for as many or as few hours per week as one might wish. I volunteered at my children's schools when they were young - motivated by a combination of wanting to help and also wanting to get inside and see what the heck was going on. I have volunteered for many years at a local Charlottesville theater because I love live theater and wanted to be involved. It was only rather belatedly - after years and years of supporting The Wildlife Center with donations - that I realized there were volunteer jobs at the Center that would afford me the chance to actually get my hands on critters, and once I figured that out, I couldn't wait to sign up.

Sadly, even though I was a kid who always loved animals, and was the one who would say "Yes, please! Me, me, me!!" when the question "Does anyone want to hold the snake, bird, puppy, lamb, cow, bear?" was asked, it somehow never occurred to me that something involving veterinary medicine would be a good career choice. Thus having foolishly missed my chance at making animals my life's work - I made it to my current ripe old age before finding out a bit over a year ago that I could come in and be physically involved with wild animals at The Wildlife Center. Thank goodness I finally took the time to explore that old wonky website and stumbled over the "volunteer opportunities" page!

What keeps me coming back is that it's never boring, there's always something new to learn, and I really like all the people I work with. Plus - it's fun!

What I'm getting out of volunteering at WCV is the chance to do things I'd never in a million years have imagined myself doing - like holding an eagle, or cleaning up vulture vomit. Ha! As a completely unexpected bonus, it's also helping me, finally, learn to listen when someone tells me her/his name. There are so many students coming and going it's brilliant practice in the art of paying attention when introduced!  And of course, it's lovely to feel like I'm providing a tiny bit of actual hands-on help in the daunting task of mending some of the damage that we so thoughtlessly inflict on our fellow inhabitants of the planet. Volunteering at The Wildlife Center makes me feel like I'm actually doing something helpful. The fact that I'm having a whole lot of fun while doing it is just icing on the cake. I only wish I'd realized this kind of volunteering was an option a long time ago, but I'm very glad I finally did.

Read more from our other volunteers on our blog!

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