AEO associates share our commitment to doing better, being better and building a better world. We’re proud to spotlight our people who are making a real and lasting impact in their communities.
Meet Melanie, SEO Content Strategist on the AE Digital Marketing team. Since 2016, Melanie has spent time volunteering with the Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh – logging an impressive 600 hours of service with the organization through dog walking and her work on their Junior Advisory Council. She’s sharing more on her service and how others can join in making a difference in their local communities.
Tell us about your volunteer service at Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh (HARP).
I am a volunteer at HARP, where I get to walk dogs at the North Side shelter, train new volunteers, and work with staff to provide care to pets awaiting their forever homes. I have loved my time with the organization so much that I also recently joined their Junior Advisory Council where I co-chaired our inaugural Barks & Brews fundraiser event this past spring!
How many years have you been volunteering?
I started volunteering at HARP (then the Humane Society of Western PA) in 2016 as a dog walker and have more than 600 hours of service with the organization between weekly dog walking and my work on the Junior Advisory Council.
Why is giving back to the community important to you?
I have always had a strong desire to serve my community and found HARP to be a great fit for my life. I am able to walk dogs once a week, meet like-minded people who share the same passion for animal care and contribute to an organization that I believe in. HARP does incredible life-saving work in the Pittsburgh community with their two local shelters, wildlife center and community outreach programs, and I am grateful for a chance to contribute to their mission.
How do you think that being an active participant in your community helps to Build a Better World?
To me, building a better world means giving back to the community and getting involved with organizations you’re passionate about! It also means utilizing AEO’s associate engagement programs designed to level up those contributions and give resources back to organizations in need, like the company’s Volunteer Recognition Program and Team of 10 volunteer initiative that allows associates to organize a service project with fellow associates.
What are some of the benefits you have found in volunteering? What have you learned?
There is such joy to be found in volunteering and contributing to my community on a consistent basis. There’s nothing better than seeing the animals at HARP blossom with the care and love they receive, and then seeing them adopted out into their forever homes. People often assume volunteering at an animal shelter would be too sad, but there is a great amount of joy as well. And I can promise that I’ve only adopted one dog from HARP, not all of them!
I encourage everyone to look into their local shelter or rescue organizations and learn how to get involved through volunteering, fostering, donating or adopting, as I’ve learned that everyone can make a difference when it comes to animal advocacy.