Every semester, I do my outside hours at home at the Griffin Pond Animal Shelter. Every since the first day I volunteered, I have felt such a strong sense of compassion for the animals there. They were all underdogs with no voice, and I was always rooting for them. My entire world feels right when I free a dog from its cage and take it away from the noisy, stressful kennel. I know that every walk could be the difference between a dog being adopted or being put to sleep. The kennel environment in the shelter is very stressful, and animals can sometime become aggressive as a result. These aggressive animals are deemed unadoptable and are put down. I know it really does sound silly, but walks save lives.
When I went back to the shelter this break, I ran into a volunteer I used to see when I was at the shelter all the time. I don’t know his name and he doesn’t know mine—but he remembers me because I used to be there all the time. And I remembered him too. I never realized that people noticed the work I did there. I just saw the usual volunteers dedicating themselves to a cause and I was inspired to do the same. I never thought that what I did would be remembered by anyone.
The good things you do really mean something to others—whether you have helped them directly, pushed them to do more, or helped a cause that was near and dear to somebody’s heart Keep doing good, APO.
Greyhounds are a special kind of dog. Most of them grow up in racing environments, and it can cause a lot of behavior issues you tend not to see in other dogs that are raised in households. Some of them are shy or overwhelmed by other dogs. Many of them are terrified of stairs and can’t figure out how to walk up or down them. Usually they startle easily. They normally require a little bit of extra training when they are adopted.
Nittany Greyhounds is an organization in State College that cares for these very special dogs. The organization picks them up from different racetracks that would otherwise dispose of them and take them back to the shelter. Recently, they had an adoption day at Petco, and Alfred Garcia and I were lucky enough to help out.
We set up a table in Petco, and then assisted at the event by holding the leashes of greyhounds and introducing them to people coming into the store. Most of the dogs were previous adopted dogs that were at the event to show what wonderful pets greyhounds can be. There was only one adoptable dog at the event, as the shelter had a stroke of luck and had two dogs adopted one day beforehand.
Alfred and I really enjoyed our time helping spread the word about the shelter and letting the community know what wonderful companions greyhounds are. Hopefully some of the people who met the dog’s that day are considering greyhound adoption for their next pet.
Cranberry Festival - Alex Weber
I never considered myself a fan of cranberries, however, volunteering back in October for the Cranberry Festival was an extremely fun and rewarding experience. It was located at Black Moshannon State Park. Our APO volunteers were spread among many different activities stations, that attending kids could participate in: leaf pressing, drop the cranberry in the jar, and candle dipping. Having split my time among leaf pressing and candle dipping, I can certainly say the best part was seeing so many kids excited to celebrate the fall through our activities. It was especially entertaining to watch the kids’ patience be put to the test with candle dipping; it is a very slow process and took me about 45 to make a decent-sized candle. Some kids lost interest immediately, but one boy diligently dipped his candle for two hours, creating the most massive piece of wax I’ve ever seen. The parents were especially grateful for our help making sure the children didn’t get burned on the hot wax. What was even better was that we all got to make our own candles with the leftover wax on the end! Overall, it was a very memorable day and I am very glad I participated!
Boy Scout Merit Badge Day
The Boy Scout Merit Badge Day was a great way to serve and to take part in Leadership, Friendship and Service! A group of Alpha Beta Brothers met up with the St. Francis University brothers at their campus to help boy scouts complete their final requirements for badges in their areas of interest. I volunteered to work with the boys completing their astronomy badge. I was extremely impressed with the boys’ prior astronomy knowledge—they knew more than I did. In addition, I felt that by helping them with their activities, I learned a ton about the universe, stars, our solar system, and extraterrestrial life! And not to mention, playdough planets make everything a lot more fun! We took a break for lunch halfway through the day and had a chance to bond more with the St. Francis brothers—it was so inspirational to see their passion for LFS. It made me realize how happy I am to be part of a nation-wide service organization and how powerful and impactful our service is—not only as individual chapters, but as one national organization.