Over the summer, I came back to Bideawee for my third year of service with them. I was responsible to doing the laundry, cleaning the rooms, and playing with the cats and dogs. I got to volunteer with my sister. I enjoyed spending time with her while being productive.
It was exciting to be one of the older and more experienced volunteers as I was able to teach the younger volunteers how to do the laundry, and I was able to do more work by myself. Each time, after I finished cleaning the rooms, I would sit in the cat rooms. As soon as I sat down, Pumpkin would jump into my lap. Pumpkin is classified as a red, which means that she can be very frisky. I felt very honored to see her sweet side.
I also got to learn more about Bideawee as an organization. The CEO of Bideawee was trying to shut down the location where I was working. I was so moved by the community’s response as they made it clear how important Bideawee was to them.
Over the summer, I volunteered at Bideawee Westhampton again. When I came back in July, after not being there since last September, I was surprised to learn that Matilda, a cat with CH, had been adopted. I had enjoyed seeing her the year before and the shelter felt different without her. Since it was my second summer, I was given more responsibilities. When new volunteers came into the teen program, I taught them how to many of the chores that we were responsible for, like mopping the floors, doing laundry, and taking out the trash. This year, I had the chance to form stronger bonds with some of the animals. I met a new dog named Marlon Brando, who had been rescued off of dead dog beach. He came into the animal hospital with a high fever that the vets did not expect him to survive. When he came out of the hospital, he still wasn’t in great shape. He has many scabs and bald spots because of an autoimmune problems. The medicine that he took made him often lose control of his bladder, which was my responsibility to cleanup. It was amazing to see his condition get better as the weeks passed. I also got to interact with Joel, who is a cat that had been adopted and then returned. He often tried to escape the room, which led to us having to chase him down. When I sat down, he would jump into my lap and attack my hand if I tried to leave. I also spent more time with Penelope and Acorn, who are two shy cats. By the end of the summer, they met me at the door everytime I came in. The best part of my time there was getting to see Louise, a very sweet dog, again. It had been her fifth year of being at Bideawee. I found out at the end of the summer that she was finally adopted by a great family. It was an amazing experience, and I am excited to come back next summer.
I had an amazing time working on my YPI project. It taught me how to communicate. It was challenging to keep everyone in our group updated because one person hardly used their phone. I also learned how to be a better presenter. I am definitely more confident in my presentation skill than before. I also learned how to make phone calls. I was really nervous at first when I called the helpline, but I then realized that the person on the other side of the line is human too.
This project made me a better advocate for mental illness. I really understand the issue more and how to be a better advocate.
I found this project to be very meaningful and productive for our curriculum. We are learning about interations this year and the YPI teaches you to interact with the community.
The biggest reward was being able to say that I am proud of the work we did.
Our charity is NAMI. More information can be found at nami.org
Over the summer, I volunteered at Bideawee in Westhampton. Bideawee is a no kill animal with three locations in New York. My sister and I went in four times a week for two or three hours each day. Work at Bideawee made me realize how neglected some animals are. At the shelter there were animals that have been abandoned and beaten. There was a dog that came from the south with a broken jaw. One of the volunteers told me that the dog’s previous own shot its mouth with an air soft gun. Matilda, cat at the shelter, has Feline Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH). CH makes Matilda have jerky movements and she often falls into her own litter. Matilda has to live in a padded room so she does not hurt herself. The saddest part is that she is the most loving cat in the world and she still hasn’t been adopted. It’s heartbreaking to know that some of the animals at the shelter have been there for at least 8 years. Jackie, a blind dog, has been at the shelter for so long that she is now blind. The no one will adopt her and the shelter can’t kill her. Whenever anyone came in to look at any of the animals, I would get so excited and hope that someone would adopt Jackie or Matilda, but no one ever did.
At the shelter I also has cleaning responsibilities. I cleaned litter boxes, washed windows, did laundry, mopped floor. It was a nice balance of work and play. I loved getting to know the staff and all of the animals.
Here is a video of one of the cats at the shelter. Someone found her with wire wrapped around her leg. The wire gave her a very bad cut. She also came into the shelter with a broken back. She has been in the animal hospital for over two weeks.
Here is a photo of me with Matilda.