By Sarah Bransley
Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to the community. Champaign-Urbana is surrounded by selfless individuals who provide their time and money every day to provide services and products to those in need. If you’re looking to be one of those people (and love animals), I have a couple places that might interest you!
First up is S.H.A.R.E. or The Society for Hooved Animals’ Rescue and Emergency. This is an amazing organization dedicated to educating the public about the health and well-being of hooved animals. They are a non-profit that provides housing, care, and training for rescue horses that are then put up for adoption. They are well-known in the Champaign area for their special care of horses with difficult backgrounds. I myself have had a chance to volunteer here and they are so caring and dedicated to their work, you can tell the horses really shine under their care. If you’d like to help them out they take both groups & individuals, so if you have a group of friends or an RSO they can use your help! The most help, as always, is someone willing to go on a set schedule because those horses need to be fed every day and the stalls cleaned out.
The next organization I’d like to introduce you to is the VetMed Wildlife Clinic. Now this clinic requires a lot more dedication and responsibility if you want to volunteer here. Not only do you have to go through an application process with an interview and work a minimum of 15 hours a week, but you need to get a round of rabies vaccinations that probably costs more than your rent for the month. However, the experience you get here, if you are interested in working with wildlife, is unparalleled. They have on hand raptors that are unable to be returned to the wild for various reasons. Raptors, of course, referring to the bird variety, not the dinosaur. These guys are used for educational purposes for both the public and the students at VetMed. As a volunteer you get to assist VetMed interns run the clinic by helping intake, care, and release all animals admitted to the clinic. A serious commitment for a serious wildlife lover.
If you’re looking for a volunteer opportunity, ask yourself two things. Am I doing this for my enjoyment or to add to my resume? And if it’s to add to my resume, what skills will I gain by performing this activity? Employers love seeing a rounded individual, especially when you can relate skills from your outside activities back to the task at hand. Happy volunteering!