Our volunteers are the reason for a lot of OneKind’s successes. From signing petitions to helping raise awareness, our volunteer teams are always supporting us – joining the fight to end animal cruelty in Scotland. We want you to meet our volunteers to highlight their passion for our cause and the individual work they do for us. Today we talk to our volunteer Steph. Steph volunteers in the OneKind office, writing for our international site OneKind Planet …
When did you first become interested in animal welfare?
I’ve been interested in animals in general for as long as I can remember and, up until age 9, I planned on being a vet.
I would say I became interested in the welfare aspect in my first year at high school. We did a unit on animal testing for RMPS which was the first time I’d even heard about the issue. As part of the unit, we wrote letters to companies that tested on animals to question their decision and present what we’d learned and we also wrote to companies that opted not to test on animals to find out more about their reasoning for doing so. When the unit was over, I wasn’t satisfied, so I asked the teacher what more could be done and she gave me several resources, not just about animal testing, but about animal welfare in general and all the ways to get involved.
When did you first come across OneKind?
I don’t remember exactly when it was but I’ve done a lot of fundraising for the Scottish SPCA in the past and, at events, you get talking to a lot of like-minded people. And so the topic of OneKind came up a lot.
I also have a family member who is a supporter and often spoke to me about OneKind’s work. She was very happy when I started volunteering in the office.
How did you go about becoming a OneKind volunteer?
I saw the role advertised on the volunteering section of environmentjob and it sounded perfect. Combining my love of writing with my passion for animal welfare was something I’d wanted to do for a long time, so I applied. I was asked to come into the office to talk a bit more about my experience and what I’d be doing and to discuss ideas I had for OneKind Planet. I was then put in touch with Jane, the editor for OneKind Planet, who gave me a couple of assignments to get me started. And I’ve been writing content for the site ever since.
Can you tell us what your typical volunteer day looks like?
I usually have multiple assignments that I’m working on at any given time so, the first thing I do is prioritise and decide which one is the most pressing. For example, a blog post that’s linked to an upcoming event will take priority over an entry for the Animal A-Z, which can be written at any time. The main part of my day is then researching for the piece I’m writing, taking notes along the way. It can be tricky and time-consuming as there’s a lot of misinformation out there. I always make sure I can find the same information from multiple credible sources, otherwise I won’t include it. Once I have all the information I need, I start writing the actual piece, which varies depending on what part of the site it’s for. Luckily, Jane created a writer’s guide that we can follow for each type of piece.
Why do you volunteer?
It just feels like the right thing to do. I’ve always aimed to help in any way I can, even if it’s only in small ways. I know no one can fix everything that’s wrong in the world but I feel that, as long as you leave the world a little better than when you came into it, you’ve done your part.
When you’re not volunteering, what else do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love to cross stitch and, in fact, I’m also a volunteer stitcher with Love Quilts UK and a few other charities who make quilts for sick children.
I am also currently learning Gaelic and I sing with Stirling Gaelic Choir. I’ve always loved music in general so, in addition to this, I play tenor horn and piano whenever I have the time.
You can read Steph’s work over on our OneKind Planet site.
Interested in finding out more about becoming a OneKind volunteer? Drop our Volunteer Officer an e-mail at Sarah.Mackenzie@onekind.org