Changes to Volunteer Program
Changes to our Volunteer Program
by Brandon Mustful, Executive Director
At Great River Rescue, we are constantly reviewing and evaluating our programs and procedures. The ultimate goal of everything we do is to save more animals. Our volunteer program plays a big role in providing enrichment and training for our pets, and ultimately helping save more animals. At the same time, we’ve learned that proper training and boundaries are really important to a safe and successful volunteer program. With that in mind, we’ve decided to introduce some changes that will further protect volunteers and shelter pets, allow for better training of volunteers, set up important boundaries, and save more companion animals.
First, beginning March 15, we are introducing a $15 application fee for all potential volunteers. This nonrefundable fee will help cover the costs of processing applications and providing training. We understand that some people may choose not to participate due to this fee, but we need to make sure that our program is sustainable. This fee will allow us to maintain and even improve our volunteer training programs which will better prepare volunteers for their service at the shelter. Additionally, volunteers will learn valuable skills that will not only help them be a better volunteer, but will apply to other areas of their lives. Volunteers must still be 16 years of age or greater to volunteer on their own. Volunteers ages 13 – 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Only the adult will need to pay the $15 application fee for each youth they will be supervising.
Next, we will be emphasizing distinctions between Level One and Level Two volunteers. We have had a Level Two program for several years, but very few volunteers that complete the program. More advanced volunteers are important for activities such as helping train dogs with behavior issues, socializing hard to handle cats, and assisting with intake procedures and behavioral assessments. We hope that by creating clear distinctions between Level One and Level Two volunteers, more volunteers will desire to earn the privileges of becoming a more advanced volunteer. We will also be offering scheduled Level Two trainings twice per year. These classes will be 1 1/2 hours long and will cover the more advanced volunteer topics mentioned above.
Finally, we will giving volunteers aspecial GRR Volunteer Key Chains in either green or blue. The green key chains will indicate that an individual is a Level One volunteer. The blue key chains will indicate that an individual is a Level Two volunteer. These key chains will need to be worn by volunteers while at the shelter and will allow for easy distinction between volunteers. We hope that volunteers will enjoy having this item which shows they care about companion animals and contribute to our cause.
That covers the major changes that we are making with our volunteer program. We really value our volunteers at GRR and look forward to a continued partnership with community members who care about the work we do here. Below you can download our updated volunteer handbook or our volunteer pamphlet.
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