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High School Students are “Ready for Life” Thanks to Grant

HCWS new intern program lets high school students work with pups like Stella. Stella was rescued by HCWS and is looking for a new home.

Written by volunteer Charlene Proto

When Kim Yates was contacted by “Ready for Life” a state agency offering annual grants of $22,000 to non-profits working with children, she was “ready”!  As the coordinator for HCWS’s “Angels for Animals” program reaching out to elementary aged children with animal education, she was extremely excited about the opportunity to expand to the high school age students.  The perfect candidate for Kim’s expansion was the new magnet high school West Career and Technical Academy which offers veterinarian programs to secondary students.

The school Principal Monty Day was enthused and the program took shape. Every student in the veterinarian program and several from the medical program applied for acceptance. The carefully planned program selected six student interns from interviews, applications and essays for the first eight week session.   With the annual grant their hope is to include 25 students per year.

Student interns began their program with volunteering at the clinic:  answering phones, manning computer stations, answering front desk inquiries.  Additionally, they worked behind the scenes cleaning floors and cages, assisting with spay and neuter surgeries, and tending animals.  HCWS’s wonderful  veterinarian, Dr. Henderson allowed them to hand him instruments and assist techs during Feral Cat Clinics.

Next these eager interns were required to attend one HCWS community event like Pet-A-Palooza or Bark in the Park.  After instruction on answering questions and inquiries they spent a day informing the public on the crisis in pet overpopulation and HCWS’s mission in our community.  

“Block Parties” were the next project tackled by the students.  Neighborhoods with high feral cat populations are identified for participation in HCWS’s TNR (Trap-Neuter- Return) program.  If there are neighbors willing to feed the population HCWS provides food to the volunteers.  The party, which is really a party for the neighborhood, was totally planned and executed by the students from food to tent set-up/break-down to distributing flyers to all the neighbors.  During the “party”, vaccinations are provided for animals and vouchers for free spay/neuters are offered.

As a finale to the eight weeks students all “graduated” and were awarded with embroidered scrubs and stethoscopes at a ceremony. The response from the participants has been overwhelming; the hands-on experience life-changing.  Friendships were bonded as interns gained awareness of the value of community involvement, volunteerism and the importance of taking concern for our serious pet over-population problem with them as they become future veterinarians. 

Congratulations to: Andrea Alatorre, Tyler Desiderato, Taylor Martinez, Hannah Melly, McCall Phillips and Christina Sanders!

To help HCWS continue its programs for the Las Vegas community – Click Here.

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One Response

  1. Great program. I’m sure that some of those students will be inspired to make a career of helping animals in some way.

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