A Volunteer's View
by Lee Chambers
Sometimes when you’re low, the only way up is to lift others. Here’s a remarkable letter from a Dakin volunteer that will make your day.
Denise Broverman has a full time job and also volunteers at Dakin, tending to our cats on Thursdays. She worked for a non-profit before, so she knows how essential volunteers are to keep organizations going. Recently she sent a letter to Ellen Duffey, manager of volunteer services, describing how coming in to help with our kitties and interacting with fellow volunteers and staff one afternoon transformed her mood in a huge way. She has graciously allowed us to share it with you:
I leave my desk in Agawam on Thursdays and drive over the south end bridge, and some days I think, gosh I’m so tired (property management can be very stressful, trust me) – it would be so easy to just take the Longmeadow exit and head home. Instead I move to the left lane and head downtown. I keep my volunteer badge and rubber gloves in the console of my car.
No matter when I walk in, the greeters ALWAYS say hello enthusiastically. In fact, let me just shine a spotlight on those gals – last year when I was going through some difficult personal issues, I had to take a hiatus from all my volunteering for a good bit of time. When I came back, no one berated me; quite the contrary, I felt that folks were honestly happy to see me and told me I had been missed. I felt warmed and welcomed.
I signed in and headed to the adoption floor. Still not too many cats on the floor, but I stopped to open some cages and remove the detritus of their morning meals, petting some kitties along the way. Already, I can feel myself relaxing, the trials of my work day slipping away, simply obliterated by a cat’s purr. Heading to the back room with my trash, I see a woman looking into cages – and her nametag identified her as Karina King, Director of Operations. I’m not at Dakin that often, therefore I do not know too many people – and was humbled to meet Karina, and introduced myself. Very kind, she thanked me for my volunteer efforts.
I was fortunate to be on the floor when three kittens were being brought out – and I set up their cage for them. Gosh they were little purring machines, their personalities already coming through. Visitors could not wait to hold them! In one of the colony rooms, Dusty was running the show there, haha. Affectionate and seeking attention, he was not really playing well with others (they used to say that about my brother in school, the poor kid) so he was being moved to a cage in the main room. Again, I was pleased to be able to make up a homey spot for this fellow too. Every staff member thanked me.
The rest of my shift was washing dishes and litter pans, and sweeping up. I left after about an hour, but with such a sense of fulfillment, and with the knowledge that even the small amount of time I spent was worthwhile, not just to me but to the organization.
Denise added that she knows that fellow volunteers and staff never take her efforts for granted. As she herself said, “Whether a volunteer can stay an hour to wash dishes or three to do all the laundry - all efforts are cherished, valued and appreciated. None more than the other.” We thank Denise and all of our fantastic volunteers for the incredible gifts they bring every day as they join us in helping animals. If you’d like to know more about becoming a Dakin volunteer, click here.