The Humane Society of Southwest Missouri is seeking young volunteers to help create a calm, friendly environment for its animals.
Reading for Rescue is one of the humane society‘s many volunteer programs. While it is geared toward children, volunteers of any age may participate.
The program gives volunteers the opportunity to read to an animal in the shelter. Children as young as 3 years old may participate. Children under the age of 15 must be supervised by a guardian.
After completing the volunteer sign-up form, available online and in person at the shelter, volunteers must attend an orientation. During this meeting, they will learn about safety protocols and expectations and get a tour of the shelter. Once volunteers have gone through orientation, they can visit the shelter any time it is open.
Reading for Rescue volunteers may choose any available animal to read to in one of the shelter’s meet and greet rooms. While only one animal can be read to at a time, volunteers can read to several during their visit, if they wish.
The shelter provides a few children’s book, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own. Katie Newcomb, humane society marketing manager, added that children don’t necessarily have to read to the animals. Sometimes children come in and want to tell a story or sing to an animal, which is fine, too.
Newcomb described Reading for Rescue as a win-win situation for both parties. Children learn how to be around animals, while improving their reading skills, and the animals enjoy the relaxing atmosphere.
“This program has really helped us bring