Every so often we will interview one of our volunteers. Learn why they volunteer, what they like about being a volunteer and advice they would give to new volunteers and more. .Meet Sandra Krug, she, and her husband, Garrett, not only volunteer but they are both on our board of directors. Sandra was recently interviewed by Patty of Let’s Talk Pets Radio show on behalf of FANS:
How did you hear about Farmhouse and what made you decide to become a volunteer?
My husband Garrett and I have always been animal lovers. We began to adopt dogs, especially special-needs dogs, many years ago. We have worked with many varieties of animals over the years, including birds, reptiles, and fish. As we studied more about animals and widened our minds and hearts to the world of animal care, volunteering was just a natural outshoot from there. We also have a love of nature and all the wonders that God has provided for us. We understand the responsibility that humans have to care for and protect nature and our environment while benefiting from sustainable resources we have.
We moved to Florida in 2007. Shortly after that, we had the blessing of meeting Dave and Lisa Burns. They have their businesses. That was what initially brought us together. Dave has done some truly fantastic work on our property in Myakka City, FL. As we got to know each other better, we discovered the shared love we all four have for animals and nature. Of course, our friendship just flourished from there. One of the animal sanctuaries where Dave and Lisa volunteered began to have structural changes within the organization due to illness. They became the primary caretakers of the Sanctuary. We offered to be of any help that we could. Eventually, the animals from that former Sanctuary moved to the location of the Farmhouse Animal and Nature Sanctuary in Myakka City. Along with Dave and Lisa, Carrie Brown, Tony Wakefield, Sue Clapper, and Georgia Keene, Garrett and I became part of the Board for the Sanctuary. With Dave and JJ as our Youth Advisor Panel! While serving on the Board, I also do volunteer work for the Sanctuary.
What types of things do you do as a volunteer?
As a volunteer, I work on social media, fundraising, and exhibiting. Writing has always been fun for me. I write for the newsletters. These are posted on the website and also sent out via email. Posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest is a way to help promote the Sanctuary and our events and fundraisers. Posting is also fun to do and is quick and easy. I write for grant proposals as well. Grant writing can be challenging and time-consuming! Part of getting the name of Farmhouse Animal and Nature Sanctuary out there in the community, as well as raising the much-needed funding, is exhibiting at animal and nature related community events. In that capacity, I set up tables with our information, volunteer signup sheets, items to sell (like our logo t-shirts), and fun coloring sheets for kiddos. Our nonprofit Sanctuary is very dedicated to the youth of our community. I have taken animals to the Summer Camps to educate the children, let them see and touch and have an increased appreciation for animals and nature. These children will be the future volunteers.
What is the most rewarding or your favorite part of being a volunteer?
The animals need me and I need them! Volunteering adds a sense of purpose in my life. Human beings are hard-wired to give to others. If you have ever volunteered before, you have probably experienced this: volunteering makes you happy! I become happier by volunteering more. When I give my time to others, I attain a personal sense of accomplishment, which accounts for some of the positive effects that volunteering has on my mood. But, volunteering does more than boost my mood—it also has effects on my physical well-being. Volunteering goes beyond just being something fun to do; it decreases my stress, too.
Did you know that studies prove that volunteering with animals improves mood, reducing stress and anxiety? Volunteering also allows me to explore new skills and interests that I might not get to enjoy otherwise. I can broaden my horizons while helping others at the same time.
Which animal is your favorite at FANS and why?
They are all my favorites! Can you ask a mom her favorite child?
Does anyone else in your family volunteer at FANS or elsewhere?
Garrett and I believe that one of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together, and volunteering lets us do just that. We are both involved with the Farmhouse Animal and Nature Sanctuary. Volunteering allows us to give of our time, treasure, and talents in countless ways.
Do you work (if so what do you do), go to school or are you retired?
I work and go to school. I wear many hats as an Entrepreneurial business owner, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Legal Nurse Consultant, a Registered Respiratory Therapist, life couch, Certfied Mental Health First Aid Instructor and teach at my church. I am currently working towards my bachelor of ministry degree.
On average how often do you volunteer?
As much as possible!
What other hobbies/interests do you have outside of work, school and FANS?
I am involved with my church. I am an author. I love to read. I really love to just walk in my front yard and smell the pine trees. That makes my soul smile. As well as the animals at the Sanctuary, we have many at our home. They are a true source of joy in my life too. Hard work, especially for Garrett, but pure love and joy.
What pointers would you share with someone who is thinking of becoming a volunteer?
The most rewarding reason to volunteer cannot be measured. As a volunteer, you gain valuable experience, learn new skills, make friends, and meet others who share the same values and interests. You can try volunteering at any age to help build a sense of purpose. Whatever your age or life story, volunteering can be an essential technique to help give your life new meaning and direction!
If you are considering volunteering, ask yourself a few questions before taking the plunge. Firstly, think about which causes you are passionate about – it means you are more likely to enjoy and stay committed to the work. For example, if you are a big animal lover, you may want to volunteer at Farmhouse Animal and Nature Sanctuary. Decide what tasks you would be most comfortable with initially and make sure the staff is aware of any limitations you have. As you spend more time volunteering, you will find a good routine and may even take on more hours and responsibilities.
Reliability is one of the most important characteristics needed in volunteers. Animal sanctuaries need to know they can count on a core group of people to keep the animals healthy and happy. So if you know that you plan to volunteer only for a limited time, inform the staff when you apply. Volunteering at an animal sanctuary can be a rewarding experience with many benefits. It also helps sanctuaries that are low on labor continue their endless care of animals. Sanctuaries are not all created equal, and volunteering can be very different from one city to the next. From a practical standpoint, volunteering for a nonprofit organization is a great addition to your resume. It is also an easy way to open some doors if you’re looking to land a paying job in a shelter.
If you could ask for one thing to help the animals at FANS what would it be?
Of course, people can donate through the website farmhousesanctuary.org. And, we do have a wish list posted there as well. If I have to say one thing to ask for it would have to be community support. If someone is interested in the Farmhouse Animal and Nature Sanctuary, I would ask that they volunteer and donate, but SHARE with their friends, family, and colleagues. If the sanctuary can grow in continued community support, that will take us a long way for years to come.
Any additional comments/notes you would like to share?
Volunteers play a strategically important role. It gives you the chance to contribute every day to the kind of community and world you want to live in.