Recently I've had a couple of opportunities pop up to complete number 8 on my 30 Before 30 List.: Volunteer.
Last Tuesday night, I attended a volunteer orientation for the Ohio Wildlife Center. They are a non-profit wild animal rehabilitation and conservation center. They treat and rehabilitate injured and orphaned wild animals. They also provide non-lethal animal control and conservation and wildlife education. I'm planning on training to work on the education side, to learn to handle the animal ambassadors and teaching and doing presentations with them. The center has brought animals to my workplace several times, and I've wanted to get involved with them for a while now.
I'm really excited to get to work with animals and help educate the public about our native species, but from what I've learned already, I need to remember a couple of things about the center. First, these animals are wild animals, not pets. They don't necessarily love you back like our domesticated animals. Also, it is important to know exactly how to handle each one. Especially when working with the raptors, they can hurt you pretty seriously if you're not careful. It will definitely be an eye opening experience, but I'm looking forward to starting!
I also had the opportunity to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald house here in Columbus, across from Nationwide Children's Hospital. A group of us from work went to bake goodies for the families. Between the 8 of us that went, we bagged up over 250 packets of treats! We had brownies, rice crispy treats, iced cut-out cookies, chocolate chip cookies, S'mores on a stick, and candy Buckeyes! We had a really good time and got to take a tour of the facility. It really is an amazing place.
They are a non-profit organization, operated almost completely on donations. The house provides a place to stay for the families of seriously ill children. There are 70 rooms, similar to hotel rooms with private bathrooms, and 10 suites, with a bedroom and separate living space with a kitchen and washer and dryer. Almost all of the work is done by volunteers, including all of the cleaning, laundry and food preparation. Supplies are provided by donation, including laundry soap, paper towels, toilet paper, food, toys, clothing, cleaning supplies and anything else you can imagine to run a home or a hotel. If you have a Ronald McDonald House near you, I encourage you to volunteer or donate supplies, they are always in need!