Thursday, July 26, 2012

What Does the Color Mean?

You may have noticed that our several different colored t-shirts worn by folks working or volunteering at our sanctuary.  Recently, we were asked what do the t-shirt colors signify, if they do signify anything at all.

Actually, the color of our shirts represents the make-up of our organization.  For instance, the green shirt worn by a volunteer means he or she completed our 3-month training program and is able to be certified to clean enclosures unsupervised, as well as learn other duties such as feeding, enrichment and training. (Volunteer)

Our gold shirt means our volunteers have been volunteering regularly with us for at least one year. (Senior Volunteer)

Our grey shirts are worn by volunteers who are certified on every enclosure at the sanctuary, and can help with all duties.  (Chief Volunteer)

Our black shirts are worn by our paid employees and the blue shirts are worn by our board members.

There are many ways our volunteers help, including, but not limited to:

Cleaning animal enclosures
Cleaning bowls and buckets
Preparing animal diets
Working in our Visitor Center (Sat/Sun only)
Helping with special events
Fund raising / office work
Building new enclosures
Landscaping projects

Once volunteers gain some experience and complete our  three month training program, he or she can also learn to help with giving tours to visitors, feeding and training cats (our cats are trained to follow simple commands that assist us in their medical treatments), as well as help with our enrichment program.

It is important to point out that much of the work involved in running an animal sanctuary does not directly involve animal-care.  Our volunteers are also asked to help with non-animal chores that are necessary to keep the sanctuary running smoothly.

For animal-care volunteers, we do require a minimum commitment of three days per month.  This ensures consistency among our volunteers and allows for adequate training.  Our animals need people they can get to know, trust and count on.

Volunteers unable to commit three days per month, are asked to help us out in the Visitor Center, giving tours, special events, construction, landscaping and other projects, rather than animal-care.  

If you are interested in volunteering, you should know that our days start by 9:30am, and we are normally wrapping up the work for the day by 4pm, seven days a week!  Many volunteers can only come out half days—and that’s okay!  We are grateful for the time our volunteers put into helping our animals.

We encourage you to visit the sanctuary as a regular visitor before scheduling a volunteer interview (we are open to the public during the summer from Thursday - Sunday, 11am-6pm).  This will allow you to see the operation and to see some of our volunteers at work, which will help you decide if volunteering at our sanctuary is something you would like to do.

Once you have visited the sanctuary, please contact Chemyn Reaney to schedule an interview.  Our interview process will help determine if there is a good match between your skills and interests, and our needs, and will also allow you the opportunity to ask questions you may have about our volunteer program.

If you are accepted into the volunteer program, and choose to become part of our team, you will then be scheduled for a new volunteer orientation! 

After orientation, you will be scheduled to begin one-on-one training with a Senior Volunteer (gold shirt!).

It is important remember our cats, while sometimes very affectionate, are dangerous predators, so safety precautions and guidelines are strictly enforced rules for all volunteers!

One of the programs our green shirts can participate in is our Cat Companionship Program.  Since our cats depend on their human caregivers to meet their needs, it's important that we establish a bond of mutual trust and respect. Our cat companion team builds this bond by sitting and talking with the cats outside the enclosures with the cats being the primary focus. Sometimes cat companions read or play soft music to their cat as a way to make the cat more comfortable and relaxed.  No work, training, medical procedures, etc. are allowed during companion sessions. There is no physical contact between our cat companions and our animals.

It is amazing how well our animals respond to their companions.  Some cats arrive scared and unsure of their surroundings.  A cat companion helps put the cat at ease by spending quality time with the animal.  Sometimes that means just sitting in visual range of the scared cat and not saying a word at all—thereby allowing the animal to adjust to its new home in his or her own time. Our cat companions are also in the position of observing and reporting to staff any unusual behaviors demonstrated by their cat.  Our Cat Companionship Program is a cornerstone to the success of our animal care program.

Want to learn more about our Volunteer Program?  Simply click HERE for more information!  We look forward to seeing you at our next orientation class!


No comments:

Post a Comment