Young girl volunteers with animals

Child, a young girl of 10 years old, volunteers with animals at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Kids as young as six years old can volunteer with pets.
By Jennifer Hayes

Most kids love animals. However, it’s truly a rare and special soul who will take that love a step further and actually work to make the world a better place for animals. Helen is that kind of kid.

At only 10 years old, she’s too young to volunteer to work directly with the animals at shelters in her hometown of Menlo Park, California. However, did she let a little thing like age get in the way? Heck no!

Go-getter girl raises money for homeless animals

10-year-old Helen at the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCAAt the suggestion of her aunt who runs an animal rescue group in Canada, she decided to solicit her family, friends and neighbors for funds and wish list items for the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA. Thus, Helen’s Hope for Homeless Animals was born.

She blew the socks off her $500 goal. In only two weekends, she raised $1,595, plus received enough donated items to fill an SUV. “I was really surprised. My mom didn’t think I would make that much,” says Helen. “That was way higher than I expected.”

Local shelters should start lining up now. In a few years, Helen will be old enough to join their volunteer ranks.

Hands-on opportunity volunteering with animals

Despite her successful fundraising efforts, Helen still wanted to volunteer directly with animals. With no local options, she and her mom recently visited Best Friends. They helped in Dogtown and Cat World, but Helen particularly loved her time at the Bunny House.

Helen making friends with Jessica the rabbit“I think Bunny House was my favorite place because I got to work with the bunnies and clean out their little runs.” says Helen. “When we were cleaning the cages, some of the bunnies, they weren’t shy and they’d come up and I’d be able to pet them.”

“She was absolutely thrilled to do it,” says Caroline Hubbard, Helen’s mom. “She was so excited dealing with the straw, sweeping and mopping. She just loved it.”

So parents, want your kids to clean up more around the house? Apparently a pet rabbit may be just the right incentive.

Future plans

“The minute we got home, she said she wants to go back to Best Friends,” laughs Caroline, who believes the family will return for a few more days of volunteering in June, once school is out.

Always thinking, Helen may just be investing in her animal welfare future. She heard about Best Friends’ internship program and hopes if she volunteers annually, her chances at being selected once she’s 18 will increase.

And if her lobbying efforts are half as successful as her fundraising, Helen will soon have a canine playmate for her dog, Charlie. She’s already searching through Petfinder listings for just the right companion.

Watch out, mom, we predict a rescue dog in your future.

Volunteering at Best Friends

If accompanied by an adult, children as young as six can volunteer at Best Friends. Click here for more information.

Photos by Molly Wald and Caroline Hubbard

Volunteer Stories