Shelters Spotlight: How Being a Veterinarian for a Day Teaches Students Unexpected Life Lessons

Maga-
zines need love too!
There’s got to be a better way to get over a breakup, and creative tech is showing us how http://t.co/xnr0KYt6LQ http://t.co/P1R2lorAKJ
Shelters Spotlight: How Being a Veterinarian for a Day Teaches Students Unexpected Life Lessons Shelters Spotlight: How Being a Veterinarian for a Day Teaches Students Unexpected Life Lessons
Education

Shelters Spotlight: How Being a Veterinarian for a Day Teaches Students Unexpected Life Lessons

by Alessandra Rizzotti, GOOD Partner

August 22, 2013

Student holds an anatomical model while a classmate in the background learns to read digital X-rays.

When people think of their local animal shelter, they might not think of it as an education and career-building organization. But the success of VBSCPA shows how shelters can help educate the community. Even without any advertising, the Be a Vet for a Day program is extremely popular and always full. In fact, the program has outgrown VBSPCA’s conference room and now has an official classroom. Many young prospective vets return to VBSPCA for the summer Critter Camp, where they learn about wildlife and visit state parks. Some students become junior shelter volunteers and eventually enroll in veterinary school or a science-related program. Shambo says, “When I hear these kids are participating in fundraisers or spreading the good word at their schools, and when they say they do those things because of what they learned through our program, it humbles us that we had that impact because we don’t have them for a great amount of time.” And while seeing animals in pain from an illness or injury makes some students realize they may not be cut out for a career in the veterinary world, Shambo sees it as another kind of valuable experience that can help steer students in a different direction that’s right for them.

With almost 28,000 eager student volunteers last year — due in part to a community service requirement for Virginia schools — the shelter’s education programs are thriving. To make an even bigger community impact, they’ve taught Standards of Learning lessons to about 56 school classrooms across Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach, and launched an award-winning reading program and green after-school “Scoop the Poop” program. They’ll also be implementing a counseling program in schools for behaviorally challenged kids. As VBSPCA’s programs continue to grow and expand, Shambo says she hopes youth in Virginia will not only learn how to treat animals more humanely, but also explore how pets and wildlife might fit into their career goals.

Photos courtesy of Virginia Beach SPCA

+
Join the discussion
Recently on GOOD