June 23, 2012
I have served on HSSV's Youth Advisory Board (YAB) for the entirety of my high school career, with my service culminating in my role as board co-chair in my senior year. Before joining YAB, I had already held HSSV in high esteem, as it was the most notable animal shelter in my area, and I would frequently beg my parents to stop by and let me visit each of the cages. HSSV's move to the new Milpitas facility was certainly a dream come true not only for me, but for all involved with helping animals in the area...and of course, the animals who were, are, and will continue to experience the care of HSSV. Through my experience here, I wish to particularly highlight two aspects of this organization. Firstly, HSSV is a model for animal shelters everywhere in its resources and the genuine love HSSV staff and volunteers have for animals. From simply taking a tour around the facility, you can experience this for yourself. The dedication of the people here truly makes all the difference in the lives of the animals--from ensuring that every shelter guest gets individual attention and playtime, to ever keeping a watchful eye on the animals' health, and most of all, to never giving up on the search for the perfect home. Animals at HSSV stay as long as it takes to find new families right for them, and the foster care system provides important support as well. At HSSV, each happy ending is celebrated. Staff and volunteers are always rooting for each adoption. Secondly, I believe that one of HSSV's greatest treasures lies in its well-managed, thoughtfully conceived education programs. The education department was my guide in my years of involvement here, and I speak for every young person who has been in an education program at HSSV when I say that this humane society helps the community to grow in its stewardship, knowledge of, and love for animals. I have been involved in every educational program available for the teenage age group, including YAB, Compassion In Action (CIA), Amazing Animals summer camp junior volunteer counseling, and volunteering at other sessions for children and special events. YAB has given me a chance to lead other high school students and exercise our voice for animals at HSSV. CIA was community service for the HSSV animals, while making friends and hosting our own educational event. Summer camp counseling allowed me to take responsibility in helping animal-loving children learn and have fun, and re-live my own animal-centric childhood (that was a bonus). Volunteering in other events simply enabled me to offer my time to many worthwhile causes to sustain the organization, and be surrounded by animals too! Behind every activity in every session of every program lies meticulous planning, consideration, and care on behalf of the education department. Many people my age seek to help animals, and all of these programs provides opportunities to directly help the animals (such as making needed supplies), forge new friendship with peers with the same passion and drive, become empowered to educate others about the plight of homeless animals, and of course, playing with the animals! I have never seen a sad face in these programs, except when it comes time to leave. I will be forever grateful for the role HSSV has played in my life, as without it, I wholeheartedly believe that my senses of leadership and responsibility would not be as they are today. So is HSSV a "Great Nonprofit?" My answer is yes, and everything more. When it comes down to everything this organization does to impact both human and animal lives, the word "great" simply doesn't do it justice.
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MY ROLE:Board Member