Homeless Teens and Animals Win Big
Thanks to all the Care2 members who voted for Rachel Cohen and her Philadelphia cause, Hand2Paw, in the Students in Service Awards™ competition. Rachel was notified last night she has won! This means she will receive a $5,000 academic scholarship along with a $2,500 grant for Hand2Paw.
The grant money will allow Hand2Paw to create paid internship positions for Philadelphia’s homeless youth who have aged out of the foster care system. The skills learned in caring for homeless animals will help those youth in future job opportunities as well as teach empathy for other living beings.
Rachel told me, “We plan to use the $2,500 to expand our program in Philadelphia this summer, and provide 3-4 youth with paid internships at animal shelters. Internships last six weeks, during which interns are coached about pursuing jobs in animal care or pursuing opportunities like vet tech programs.”
“Interns apply and are hand selected. They have typically distinguished themselves as role models at our sessions, and have shown true compassion for animals. I, along with the PAWS [Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society] staff, supervise and mentor the interns, guiding them through their daily activities, and empowering them to shine in the job setting ( something that many of them have never had the opportunity to do),” explained Rachel.
Animal shelters are frequently short on staff. By actively working in the kennels, Hand2Paw participants free up kennel staff to search for adoptive homes for the animals, as well as other tasks they might not otherwise get to! Yes, it really is a win-win for all concerned.
The University of Pennsylvania junior’s efforts will be formally recognized at the award ceremonies in San Diego, California on April 28.
Thank you Rachel, for creating such a worthwhile and caring program. And thank you, Care2 members, for helping Rachel and Hand2Paw win! This is such a wonderful opportunity for all.
Photo by Amy DiDomineco - of Rachel assisting Hand2Paw volunteer with puppy bathing - used with permission.