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Ready for Life and SPCA Tampa Bay present Paws for Progress

Former Foster Youth Are Learning How To Help Shelter Animals Thrive

Ready for Life and SPCA Tampa Bay are pleased to offer Paws for Progress, a 12-week program that teaches young adults volunteerism, employability, compassion, and resiliency. Participants volunteer for 2 hours per week then take part in a paid group session following their volunteer hours.

The Paws for Progress experience from Participant Mya:

"When I first saw the Paws for Progress program, I didn’t know what to expect besides the usual volunteering with animals, but this program goes much further and deeper than that. When you walk through the SPCA doors on Tuesday mornings, you may hear the dogs barking, you may see the hustle of workers and volunteers and you may smell the life of animals around you. So you’d probably expect to only do the usual housekeeping and caretaking duties, but the originators of this program created a window of time where we come together after our tasks and reflect on our lives within and outside of the program.

We walk through those doors on Tuesday mornings now knowing that there’s at least an hour set aside for us to catch up on all of the things that made up our week; the good, the bad, the things we’re looking forward to achieving and a chance to receive lessons that give us skills to incorporate throughout our lives. We reflect on these moments and the emotions held within them and we’re given perspective, courage, and the chance to grow.

My goal in the program was to learn how to take care of the animals within the SPCA, to give a better life to future pets of my own. But I soon developed a second goal of wanting to better understand and help individuals. Advice can be delivered the same over and over but it is interpreted differently each time based on a person's situation and the severity of their mindset/mental health status. This program has helped me achieve this goal, and it has given me insight into how differently individuals perceive the same things and it has given me the opportunity to grow in all ways to better help myself and those around me. Hands-on work with animals and their living spaces and the debriefing of what we’ve done and what we’ve gone through in a week is genuinely an amazing way for us to heal, grow, spread love and a listening ear. Thank you Ready for Life for this program and all that you have taught us and allowed us to learn. Thank you to the SPCA for opening your home to us. Paws for Progress stands true to its name and I couldn’t be more grateful to be a part of the startup journey. "

View the video below for more information on Paws for Progress!

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