On Saturday, Jan. 22, more than 120 students gathered for Hamilton’s 13th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day. The community service event, run by the Hamilton Association for Volunteering, Outreach and Charity, or HAVOC, sent students to a wide variety of locations across the Utica area, from the Kirkland Town Library to Lutheran Home for the elderly to the Rome Humane Society.
At the Rome Humane Society, volunteers walked dogs, assisted with paperwork, and helped care for the many animals awaiting a permanent home. Because the cats and dogs at the shelter can easily become isolated in their cages, students showed their compassion by sharing an afternoon with the animals and showering them with attention. As multiple employees mentioned, the best way for student volunteers to help the animals is by showing them care, kindness and interest.
Since 1956, the Rome Humane Society has offered a nurturing home for abused, abandoned, and stray animals. They provide medical attention, food and shelter to the animals for as long as necessary to find them new homes and the employees are passionate about the power of adoption to change lives, both for animals and families. Their work extends beyond the walls of the shelter itself, including humane education around the community. Even in the hours that Hamilton students were at the shelter, several cats and dogs found new homes or were reclaimed by the owners who lost them. Andrea Blood ’13 says of the experience, “It felt really good to see many cats and dogs get adopted while we were there. Especially when a young boy found the cat he lost five months ago.”
The volunteer locations were varied enough that students could become involved in what they are passionate about, including art, animals, and elderly care. HAVOC’s work in these and other areas is not limited to these special events, and they continue to show their commitment to community service all year. Events such as MLK Service Day help recruit new students for the organization, so it can extend and expand its charitable work.
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