Volunteer Appreciation: Aiko

Today we celebrate Aiko Hayashi, a long-time volunteer writer for this very blog!

Our bloggers commit to several stories a month, allowing them to fit volunteer work into their schedules. The blog is full of happy post-adoption stories because so many adopters are excited to share stories and pictures of the pets they adopt from Berkeley Humane, but we also cover topics like events, fundraising initiatives, volunteers, animal behavior, and community outreach.

"We have a team of amazing volunteer blog writers who continue to come up with original story ideas for the website. Since I started volunteering, I have seen more and more of those original stories that are both interesting and informative." -Aiko Hayashi

Aiko, Berkeley Humane blogger
and new mom!
Aiko joined the volunteer blogging team during its renaissance under previous Lead Storyteller Maria Stoop. Aiko’s willingness to volunteer for stories made her an indispensable team member for a solid nine months – an auspicious duration, as she recently went on hiatus to welcome her son, Oscar, into the world. Before she left us we grabbed the chance to pepper her with questions about her time blogging for Berkeley Humane.

All of our volunteer bloggers have some background in writing. The group includes published authors, sales and technical writers, and casual bloggers. When she’s not volunteering, Aiko is a journalist with a background in financial and business news, and her training shows in her ability to take a brief summary and turn it into a clear, entertaining story.

“I thought blogging would be a good way to put my experience to use,” she says. “Also, I thought it would be really cool to help put the word out about the work and animals at Berkeley Humane, while also getting a chance to write about something I care about.”
Aiko's world traveling cat, Wednesday

Aiko wrote on a variety of topics (take a look at all of her stories here) but fundraising stories were among her particular favorites. 

"I really enjoyed writing about the Kitten Season and Donations for Berkeley Humane. I was thrilled to address our readers directly about the important mission at Berkeley Humane and its need for everyone’s support during the very busy kitten season. I also liked writing about Bonaparte, a Bichon Frise pup. Just because he is so adorable and loved so much by his family. And of course, he’s got a great name!”

Berkeley Humane bloggers revel in a parade of wonderful animals and happy adoption stories every week, but the work is not without its challenges.

“Writing something fresh and fun as well as informative on a consistent basis is always a challenge,” Aiko says. “That said, this is exactly why I love being a blog volunteer. It’s not always easy but it’s a worthwhile responsibility (and fun!) without a doubt.”

Wednesday meets baby Oscar for the first time
Aiko always delivered her assigned stories on time, and true to character she delivered her biggest story ahead of deadline: baby Oscar arrived two weeks early on August 21.

Oscar was met at home by Wednesday the cat, whom Aiko adopted when he was five weeks old. "He's quite a world traveler. I got him ten years ago when I was studying in New York, and since then he’s lived with me in Tokyo, Hong Kong and now in California."

Naturally, Aiko wondered how her pet would adapt to the new baby. Wednesday's initial response was wary but positive. 

“Wednesday is cautious but curious about the baby,” says Aiko. “I hope they’ll become best friends! We're making sure he's also getting enough cuddles even after the baby!”

Aiko is taking a well-deserved maternity break from blogging right now, but those of us who worked with her consider ourselves fortunate to have benefited from her skills.

Thank you, Aiko!

Bonus Wednesday!

Interested in expanding your writing repertoire? Berkeley Humane's blog team welcomes new writers! Sign up for volunteer orientation on our website or contact Volunteer Manager Jenn Suzuki.

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