Monday, April 27, 2015

Volunteer Appreciation Series: Romy

Today’s Volunteer Appreciation post features a very special volunteer, Romy Harness, who serves Berkeley Humane in two distinct but complementary roles: Canine Volunteer and Board Member. Romy started volunteering three years ago as a Canine Volunteer. Her expertise with a range of dog behavior earned her an “upgrade” to Dog Training Assistant, where she is able to help with pooches that might prove a little more challenging to a new volunteer. Her talents and dedication led to an invitation to join Berkeley Humane’s Board of Directors, where she has served as a Director since August 2014.

Romy enjoys contributing to the varied talents that board members bring to their monthly meetings. “Everyone brings a lot of good personal insight and expertise from the different realms they come from,” she says. “When we get together to share ideas and brainstorm, it’s a really good and positive experience. We work together really well.”

The talents Romy brings to the Board of Directors are highly informed by her experiences volunteering at Berkeley Humane. “Because I’ve been a volunteer for three years now, my chosen focus is staff culture, volunteer culture, and morale,” she says. “I’m the only board member who volunteers at Berkeley Humane so I think it gives me a particularly good insight into the other side apart from administration. I don’t have a particular educational background in animals, but [all Board Directors] have something to bring. In my other life, I’m an Executive Assistant at a software company. What I can share from that is an ability for organization, and knowing how to run a professional organization.”

She got started working with Berkeley Humane when she realized how much she wanted to spend time with dogs, even though she recognized that her loft apartment — while a wonderful place for her three cats, Pepe, Rocky, and Bucci — wasn’t ideal for a dog. She realized that volunteering was a great way to spend rewarding time with dogs who would greatly benefit from her efforts. “I started volunteering at Berkeley Humane because I wanted to be around dogs more but wasn’t really set up to have a dog. I started to volunteer and it has grown from there.”

Romy also points out that volunteering wasn’t just about satisfying her need for quality doggy time. The animals and shelter benefit just as much.

“I know that organizations like Berkeley Humane and other shelters really depend a lot on volunteers. I know how valuable foster help and people helping on-site can be.”

Romy’s dual positions as a board member and dog training assistant complement each other. “[Holding both volunteer positions] is extremely beneficial! They benefit each other, especially by giving me a lot more breadth of knowledge about the day-to-day running of the shelter. It really helps me because I get to know the staff and other volunteers well and see how things are going.”

“I think my future vision is twofold. One is to get a new shelter built. Along with that [my vision is to] continue to examine as a board how to best serve the animals and people of our community.”

Thank you for your dedication, Romy! We appreciate your years of service and the variety of ways you help Berkeley Humane grow.

If you’d like to help make Romy’s vision of community service come true, please consider volunteering at Berkeley Humane. No matter what talent you have to share, we probably have a volunteer opportunity you’ll excel at.

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