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