Cedar Bend participating in UNI homecoming, looking for volunteers

The Cedar Bend Humane Society is having a parade this Saturday, Oct. 21 on Mainstreet at 10 a.m. with UNI. This shows that CB (Cedar Bend) is getting involved with the community; however, the community could become more involved with CB.

UNI and Cedar Bend are having the parade to celebrate the homecoming with the community. There will be 82 participants in the parade.

Cedar Bend could always use more volunteers to help with the animals, for example, walking the dogs, organizing the toys and leashes, feeding the animals, etc. There aren’t many volunteers during the weekend, as most people are either too busy to come in, or don’t know about CB.

Regarding what schools can do to help local shelters, Sarah Bishop, a volunteer at Cedar Bend Humane Society, said, “Schools can create after-school programs that allow students the opportunity to volunteer. They can help by partnering directly with their local humane society/rescue. They can even help gather the necessary resources (e.g., food, bedding, blankets, cleaning supplies, donations, etc.) to help all animals. When schools help their community, they also help their students by giving them experience and learning in taking responsibility. It also will teach kids how to give back (i.e., not be selfish) by helping and sharing their love with others. If you think about it, ironically, the humane society/rescue centers would be helping the schools because kids will get the sensation of achievement and reward, helping boost their morale and self-worth. It’s a win-win.”

It would be greatly appreciated if more volunteers came in to help with the animals, as this allows them to become more used to humans and can also teach people how to handle animals. The animals range from cats and dogs to pocket pets like gerbils, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc.

Felicia Arias, the volunteer coordinator at Cedar Bend Humane Society, said, “An after-school volunteer program can be beneficial not only for the animals but also the students. However, there are restrictions on the age limits of students that can participate, but if such a program can abide by the rules set in place, 10 years and old[er] and a guardian to co-volunteer with the students, then I can see this program can be helpful for the shelter. Knowing that certain days a reliable group will be in to assist with shelter tasks can bring much needed relief to the staff members and give the animals something extra to look forward to. There is already a similar program set up with Central Rivers AEA. Students and a guardian will go through orientation and training to become official volunteers. On their scheduled days they come in to assist with daily shelter tasks such as refilling water bowls, passing out toys, folding laundry, sweeping floors, cleaning windows, socializing cats etc. It has proven to be successful. In addition to the wonderful help the shelter receives from the program, the students also get to enjoy social time with the animals and learn more about what it takes to care for animals. Some students were able to interact with animals that they’ve only seen in books like ferrets and gerbils. It is a great educational opportunity for them in return for their generous time.

 Again, such a program will still need to follow the same rules set in place for all volunteers. Students between the ages of 10-15 will need to have a guardian with them. The limit is five students per one guardian. Students that are 16-17 years old can volunteer on their own upon parental consent. Everyone must attend orientation and training. Any grade of students should be able to participate if they are interested. However, older students would have the ability to perform more hands-on tasks if requested to. If this type of program were to be implemented the volunteer hours would still need to take place within standard volunteer hours as well. I will attach the new volunteer orientation handout that goes over the policies and procedures, times for volunteering and guidelines for animal handling.”

To learn more about the Cedar Bend Humane Society, visit the website with this link: https://www.cedarbendhumane.org/about

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