National Volunteer Week was celebrated in the United States and Canada between April 10 and 16 of this year. This is an annual event organized by the Points of Light foundation to give organizations a chance to honor the achievements of their hard working volunteers, and here at The Anti-Cruelty Society, we’re more than happy to take part and celebrate our amazing, wonderful, and all-around awesome volunteers.
The festivities began on Sunday, April 10, with a volunteer appreciation kickoff party held right next door to our shelter at the famous Gino’s East pizzeria (and brewing company). A stylish, 1950s-themed affair (see pictures below) that featured tasty pizza, sweet treats, drinks, a photo booth, and plenty of laughs, and some of the Society’s “senior staff” (i.e., Presidents, Vice Presidents, and Directors) were on-hand to work the event and serve the volunteers. And since it was an appreciation party, the Volunteer Services Department publicly appreciated the volunteers with a raffle, personalized pins for those celebrating “milestone” anniversaries at the Society, peer-nominated awards (with winners voted on by all the volunteers), and awards from our President and staff Directors. All in all, it was a fun and successful event for everyone involved – especially Volunteer Services Coordinator Eric Tostado, who was organizing his first National Volunteer Week celebration.
Remember, though, that this was a week-long volunteer celebration, and the festivities continued with the different departments around The Anti-Cruelty Society each being assigned a weekday on which they were tasked with making some sort of decorative “thank you” display and providing snacks for all of the volunteers working during on that date. Some examples of these staff treats can be seen below. Everyone involved did a great job with their displays, and by the end of the week, departments seemed to almost be trying to outdo one another, with the ideas getting more elaborate and creative as they went on. The Community Programs Department had the Tuesday shift, and Sarah Williams did a great job making an eye-catching full-sized poster for the volunteers that we all signed.
During the week, we also gave out the Volunteer Buddy Award, in which volunteers nominated and awarded the Society staff member that they felt was the most helpful to them. Volunteer Services also organized a scavenger hunt for volunteers and employees to participate in. And finally, on Saturday, April 16, Eric and Lydia hosted a special breakfast and open forum for the Volunteer Leaders to get together, catch up, network, and voice some of their concerns (and compliments) about our volunteer programs as they currently exist.
As always, National Volunteer Week was a great chance for staff and volunteers to come together to enjoy one another’s company (along with some tasty snacks), as well as a great reminder for everyone at the Society to stop and consider just how much work these volunteers do to help keep things running smoothly around here. From walking dogs to helping patrons to assisting in the clinic to pet visitation events to fostering (not to mention the dozens and dozens of other projects they participate in), our roughly 600 volunteers serve as a constant reminder that the work that we do here has an impact and means something to the community that we serve. To have so many people willing to dedicate their time and energy to further our cause is a sincerely humbling gesture that we never want to take for granted.