South Florida has a vast array of animals that need to be cared for. Some are abused and abandoned while others provide a service to humans. That’s where you come in. As volunteer, you can donate your time and love to an animal in need, enriching their lives while changing your own. Most volunteer opportunities take up a few hours of your time per week but the experience leaves an impression that lasts a lifetime.
Miami-Dade County Animal Services
7401 N.W. 74th St.
Miami, FL 33166
Miami-Dade County Animal Services is the natural choice for volunteering. It’s home to strays, lost dogs and cats and relies on volunteers that are 18 years old and up or 15 years old with parental consent for daily maintenance and care. Potential volunteers must submit to a background check, speak fluent English and attend orientation. Volunteers must also comply with
the dress code and wear mandatory uniforms, which includes a supplied T-shirt, khaki pants and closed-toe shoes. Positions include cat socializer, customer service greeters, bathers, pet detectives and more. With so many options, how can an animal lover refuse?
Sawgrass Nature Center
3000 Sportsplex Drive
Coral Springs, FL 33065
If you have a fondness for the local critters that populate South Florida’s landscape, then this is your opportunity to interact. The Sawgrass Nature Center cares for abandoned and at-risk local wildlife and pets so volunteers will not only have the opportunity to interact with dogs but also squirrels, raccoon and birds. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the local wildlife and signing up is easy. Simply provide $25 fee for a one-year membership and t-shirt and you’re on your way to helping the environment one animal at a time.
Pelican Harbor Seabird Station
1279 N.E. 79th St. Causeway
Miami, FL 33138
South Florida’s close proximity to the sea means plenty of nautical and avian wildlife are at risk. The Pelican Harbor Seabird Station rehabilitates pelicans, primarily brown pelicans, and then releases them into their natural habitat. Volunteer work with these wide wing-spanned creatures is the stuff that Saturday morning wildlife shows are made of. To sign up, volunteers
16 and up must go to the website and fill out the application. A representative will contact you with volunteer opportunities and ask you to donate three hours per week of your time to help these animals along with other indigenous wildlife, like tortoises and more.
Humane Society of Broward County
2070 Griffin Road
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
The Humane Society is always a worthwhile organization to volunteer for no matter where you live. The Human Society of Broward County has a vast volunteer network spanning 500 members and including services like Animal Care and Animal Assisted Therapy where volunteers and their personal pets visit hospitals, nursing homes and hospices to cheer up the sick and dying. The
volunteer process requires a six-month commitment, orientation attendance, a one-on-one interview and a $15 fee that includes T-shirt, security badge and background check. Adults 18 and up are welcome to participate and teens 14-17 are welcome with parental consent, however there is a one-year waiting list for teen volunteers. See website for a full list of volunteer
Good Hope Equestrian Training Center
22155 S.W. 147th Ave.
Miami, FL 33170
The Good Hope Equestrian Training Center is open to volunteers 14 and up and provides a service to both horses and humans. This facility gives mentally and physically disabled children the opportunity to ride a horse while teaching the volunteer handlers to care for horse and rider. Everyone is welcome to volunteer, but several times during the year, the facility will take on abused and homeless teens to volunteer as part of their rehabilitation process. No experience with a horse is necessary but volunteers must submit an application including background and medical information and $25 application fee that pays for volunteer supplies and volunteer accident insurance coverage. It’s the perfect opportunity for those looking to enrich the lives of more than just a four-legged friend.
Niema Hulin was born in Newark, NJ but raised in Lexington, South Carolina for the bulk of her formative years. In 2002, she moved to Miami after graduating from the University of Florida. Since then, Niema has worked in film, television and commercials as a Production Assistant and Production Coordinator. Some of her films have included Bad Boys II and I Am Number IV. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.