Kennedy is a sweet-spirited eight-year-old who’s been volunteering for the Humane Society of Utah’s Pet Resource Center in Murray since January 2022. She comes to our center weekly to help out where she can: reading books to our homeless cats or socializing with the bunnies, ferrets, and rats in our Humane Education Program. Usually, when Kennedy arrives for her shift, she’s wearing a pair of leggings decorated with cat faces or sparkly animal ears on the top of her head, or both. This month is National Volunteer Month—a month dedicated to recognizing the importance of volunteers like Kennedy and honoring their significant contributions by generously donating their time and talents to worthy causes.
For as long as she can remember, Kennedy has had a deep love and appreciation for animals, especially cats. Reading to our cats through our kid-oriented Happy Tales Reading Program is her favorite thing to do. “I like reading the book, ‘Are You My Mother’ by Dr. Seuss the most because it’s really cute. The cats seem to like it, too. When I read to them, they’ll lay beside me and get comfortable, or sometimes they’ll fall asleep!” She explains with a laugh.
Kennedy’s dream is to learn how to care for all types of pets and support as many as she can in her lifetime. She says she’s volunteering at HSU in hopes of working for us when she’s older. Since Kennedy is only eight years old, her mom, Brittany, accompanies her during her volunteer shifts. Brittany is happy to support her daughter’s dreams and desires to give back. “Most kids her age aren’t that into volunteering. But I think it’s beneficial for them to learn the value of volunteering early on so they can see the importance of being a part of a greater good,” Brittany explains.
April is National Volunteer Month
At HSU, we depend on our volunteers for many critical tasks, such as providing direct animal and staff support, assisting in fundraising efforts and events, and so much more. Our volunteer opportunities allow individuals and families to work side-by-side with our staff as we work to save the lives of more than 7,000 homeless pets each year. In 2021, we had 496 volunteers donate a total of 11,740 hours, which saved our organization an estimated $152,620 in costs.
HSU’s Foster and Volunteer Manager, Jolie Gordon, states, “To say we can’t do what we do without our volunteers is an understatement. We are so grateful.” Jolie adds that recruiting young volunteers helps them foster a lifelong commitment to helping their community. “As young people grow older and into more power to act on that commitment, imagine the change they’ll be able to create. Not to mention, young volunteers often bring a fresh perspective, passion, and energy to our organization. They tend to be more open to new ideas, meaning they can help drive positive change and create new opportunities for improvement.”