GCD – COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

For 3 years, I have been participating in the official school service activity of Animal Relief Club(ARC) with the intention to contribute on facing the issues related in Animals in general. Although the activity itself is open to any issues revolving around the topic of animals from local to global, I have been focusing on tackling the problem of sheltered animals for both reducing their numbers as well as finding them a comfortable life. However, since all the actions I took regarding this issue was through ARC, a school activity, I was not able to make drastic changes as I would have to act under the directions the ARC leaders have set. Therefore, unless there was an appointment I would not be able to directly attend adoption fairs or volunteer at shelters. Thus, on my 3rd year, my mindset has changed, as I was able to recognize that I could fulfill these tasks individually whether or not it was associated with ARC itself.

This is how I became associated with Animal Refuge Kansai(ARK) an NGO organization. I believe that working with ARK granted me the opportunities to take direct action towards a cause I have been meaning to support for a long time but struggled with how. For the entire day, I volunteered to participate in helping an adoption fair in a church in Roppongi. I was in charge of two main roles of looking after the animals(mostly walking cleaning) and interacting with the visitors seeking to adopt. As much as helping the animals directly did fulfill my determination to help unfortunate animals, I believed interacting with many visitors was what truly displayed my community engagement. While working in ARC and supporting the community indirectly by raising money does show commitment to resolve the issue, I felt as I was able to gain more knowledge. One thing that moved me was how I discovered the system of “foster pets”. Foster pets are basically animals that people take after in their personal time until they find a new pet. Until then, as I person who cannot adopt due to personal issues, I always thought the only way for me to help was to raise money. However, learning that temporarily looking after shelter animals was a possibility, it made me recognize that in a community, many people can help out in different ways. This was something I would not have found out, had not I joined an outside organization similar to the activity I do in school. It helped me recognize the importance to explore and connect in a community.

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