You might be surprised to learn the breadth of the volunteer program at GAWS. Not only do we have permanent volunteers who attend one or more scheduled shifts per week usually working around animals, but we also have placement students who stay with us for a year, other students who assist for a week fulfilling course requirements, students who do work experience and special event volunteers who assist us on an ad hoc basis. Some of the events and special one off occasions our volunteers have assisted with this year include a Bunnings sausage sizzle, off site cat and Greyhound adoption events, an information stand at Market Square Shopping Centre, Canine Massage Reiki and Communication workshops, a bulk mail out activity, archives sorting and filing, off site sewing bees, on site sales days selling sewn items created in sewing bees and a highway collection event. All of these extra activities allow GAWS to spread the word about the vital work we do in the Geelong community, allow animals to be exposed to a greater number of potential adopters, provide learning opportunities to members of the public, assist with time consuming large one-off tasks, and assist in raising much needed funding for the shelter.

Calls for special assistance at events such as the ones mentioned are often put out through our GAWS Facebook page. Make sure you keep an eye on the page for events which might appeal – who knows when something might come up that might make you think “I can do that!” Your support is always greatly appreciated.

Market Square Promotion – by Rebeca Normington, GAWS volunteer

During the month of April, I had the opportunity to be Lead Volunteer for a Promotional Event we ran one day a week at Market Square Shopping Centre. Week 1 and 2 were run over the School Holidays, so it was a busy time with lots of littlies around. We had been given a stall just outside Gloria Jean’s, where we set up the GAWS banner, some flyers and a donation box, and the most important thing of all, some kittens that needed a home.

The kittens got lots of attention, especially over the school holidays, as all the children dragged their parents over to see the tiny balls of fluff, but the truth is that most adults couldn’t resist them either, so we found ourselves very busy answering questions and hearing lots of pet stories. This gave Sarah and I the opportunity to chat with many members of our community, and raise awareness about the work we do at GAWS.

I was surprised by how many people were not aware that GAWS does not receive government funding, and relies on the community for support. Some people were also concerned about what happened to dogs and cats who did not find a home for a long time, and we were able to reassure them that we take care of all rehomeable healthy animals for as long as it takes to find their ‘Furever’ home. The best part was hearing all the wonderful stories from members of our community, about how their own furry friends entered their lives. Most were either strays who showed up at their door one day, or rescues from shelters, rescue organizations and other places who re-home adult animals. It was encouraging to see that there seems to be an overwhelming public opinion that it is best to “adopt, not shop”, with every single person I spoke to saying they would definitely be adopting their next pet from a shelter, which was wonderful to hear.

Some of the people we spoke to even told us stories about their children wanting to help animals in need. One lady told us that her young daughter collected lemons from her aunt’s tree, and made a lemon stand, then donated 50% of her proceeds to GAWS (a total of $20 which is huge for a kid). Others told of food collection drives and towel collection drives organized by their children and supported by their schools. Sarah and I were both very impressed with these wonderful children who already show such a strong sense of social conscience, and with their parents for instilling those kinds of morals in them from the start. It gave us hope for the future, knowing that some children are already taking so much responsibility in trying to help animals and the planet.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience. Over the first 3 weeks, we have raised around $370 in donations, but more importantly than that, we have connected with our community and let them know that not only do we need their help to do what we do, and that they are helping to give hundreds of lost and abandoned animals a second chance at a loving home by supporting our work here at GAWS, but also that we are extremely grateful for all their help and support.

I found the entire experience to be invaluable, both personally and professionally, and very enjoyable. I would love to be involved in future promotional events within the community. I want to thank Sarah Marshall, who has been amazing, and made the packing/unpacking process so much easier, Evan who helped out for a few hours on the only day Sarah wasn’t available, and Pip and Felicity for answering all my questions in preparation for the event

Superstars to the rescue

A big shout out to our GAWS Volunteers of the month, Carole, Glenda, Sharon and Cheryl, pictured here with GAWS CEO Adrian Buckley. While we usually award Volunteer of the Month to one volunteer, this time the award was presented for a group effort.
Carole, Glenda, Sharon and Cheryl all volunteer in our Op Shop in Hamlyn Heights. Not only do they do a great job in their roles, these ladies all rushed out on a stormy night to assist in an emergency situation at the shop. Their dedication ensured the shop was able to open as usual the following morning for business. Well done ladies!
If you would like to join the crew at the GAWS Op Shop, or help GAWS as a volunteer please email Volunteer Coordinator Felicity at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.