Chris

The Director’s Cut

With our fiscal year coming to a close and another one beginning, there is a lot happening and a lot to be excited about. The major annual fundraiser was another success. Our partners at VSAS recently hired a volunteer coordinator. Community outreach continues to be a major focus of our work not just for animal welfare but for human equity.

The Fast & The Furriest®
The 2019 event was another wonderful success. There were 639 registered participants in the 10K and 5 K races, 189 registered dog walkers, more than 200 dogs vaccinated and microchipped, 31 dog licenses issued at the clinic, and nine pet adoptions. City Council Vice President, Willie Lightfoot, issued a Proclamation at the event and announced his commitment of $1,000 to future pet adoptions for City residents. The Camp ROC Star performers were incredible and a welcome addition to this great event.

Volunteer Coordinator
On behalf of Verona Street Animal Society (VSAS), I am pleased to announce that VSAS has hired Shannon Megna as the Volunteer Coordinator for RAS and VSAS. Volunteers provide invaluable support for our collaborative programs and services and are critical to our success in our shared mission of serving people and animals. The addition of a volunteer coordinator will ensure that we are providing consistent support and guidance to this critical area.

Shannon started in June and has been working with the RAS management team and VSAS to get assimilated. In this new role, Shannon will be providing oversight and management of the volunteer programs for both organizations.  Specific responsibilities include maintenance of policies, procedures, and guidelines; bolstering recruitment and retention; standardizing training; managing volunteer records and the associated analytics and reports; and scheduling volunteer activities.  Shannon is working part-time, has office space at the Animal Services Center, and can be reached at 585-428-6788 and shannon@vsas.org. She is a VSAS employee but will work closely with and receive daily guidance and support from the RAS management team.

Shannon has worked as a volunteer coordinator for a variety of local non-profit organizations including Lifespan, the Jewish Home, and Willow. She has also volunteered for her town school board and youth athletics groups. Shannon is the mother of five children, two dogs, and one cat.

We are excited to have Shannon joining the team and bringing her skills and experience to help strengthen our volunteer program. Please join us in welcoming Shannon to the RAS-VSAS family.

Outreach
Our mission has always involved serving animals and people.  As one would expect from an animal care and control agency, those services include pet reunification, pet re-homing, spay and neuter, rescuing trapped and injured animals, enforcing animal ordinances, and keeping people and pets safe.  However, with our heightened focus on proactive outreach over the past three years, our core purpose has evolved beyond those aspects of traditional animal welfare.

We are now routinely providing door-to-door outreach in Rochester’s underserved neighborhoods, sharing information, and offering free resources and services. Through this work, we have come to understand that animal welfare is impacted by systemic and institutional challenges for people and their pets. Those challenges include poverty, segregation, housing insecurity, and resource inequity, among others. Through non-judgmental relationship building and support services, we are addressing barriers in access to resources to keep families together and celebrate the human-animal bond. Our outreach program is driven by social justice and we operate as an agent for inclusion and equity. If this sounds like something with which you would like to be involved, email shannon@vsas.org about becoming an outreach volunteer.

Thanks for all of your support and assistance during this past year and for your continued support as we enter our 20th year as a City agency. Together we are making our community a better place for people and for pets.