Hello fans of the Ahimsa House community outreach program! Now that the fall outreach frenzy has concluded, and it is decidedly too chilly to table outside (even though the sun is deceptively bright!), I want to take a moment to reflect on what we have accomplished. We have had a hugely successful outreach program, utilizing energetic volunteers and staff to reach a variety of community and professional partners.
While September and October were a flurry of smaller festivals and rescue events across the state, keeping our staff and volunteers running, November was a slower month with a BIG theme. All of the events were attended were simply HUGE! Huge venues, huge turnouts, and a huge response from the community. In the beginning of the month, for example, Ahimsa House was lucky to operate a booth at the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association Fall Convention, which boasted a whopping 404 attendees from veterinary clinics across the state as well as a variety of pet-oriented vendors. We are super lucky, as a small non-profit, to be able to participate in the exhibitor’s hall! And the weekend was well worth it– the response from veterinarians, techs, front office staff, rescue individuals, and GVMA staff was overwhelmingly positive. From offers to foster, distribute our information in clinics, and donate medical and boarding services, our time spent at the Fall Convention was an invaluable investment. Veterinary clinics are often the first physical interaction a client has with our program, and being able to communicate the values of our program and send individuals in the midst of domestic violence to an office where they will be treated with respect and confidentiality is key. Without the support of our veterinary partners, we simply wouldn’t be able to do what we do!
The very same weekend, some hard working volunteers represented Ahimsa House at Veg Fest, an annual vegan-themed conference featuring speakers, round table discussions, kids activities, and vegan-friendly vendors. Not surprisingly, there is a huge overlap between animal lovers and the vegan community, and our participation in Veg Fest always garners a lot of support and interest from the community! Pratyusha, Brooke, and Phoebe did an incredible job educating the attendees about Ahimsa House and our services. Similarly, the huge crowds at the Atlanta Pet Expo, a HUGE pet-friendly event in the Georgia International Convention Center, were extremely receptive to our mission after speaking with volunteers Michelle, Joanna, and Pratyusha.
The month ended on a fantastic note with the North Atlanta Pizza Wars, a brand new event organized by our friends over at Pet Pages!! Featuring a dozen local pizzerias in competition, a beer garden, and a ton of local rescues with their most adoptable dogs, North Atlanta Pizza Wars was always going to be a great event, and the weather being 70 degrees as well on Thanksgiving Weekend was just the cherry on top! Celebrity judges such as Victoria Stillwell of It’s Me or the Dog were in attendance, and Ahimsa House Ambassador and Miss Universe 2014 Sabrina Pinion engaged those who came to our booth. Best of all, the event benefited Ahimsa House and went super smoothly thanks to a legion of dedicated Ahimsa House volunteers!
Overall, the fall outreach season went out with a bang and we were able to make many valuable professional and community connections that will enable us to help more people and pets escape domestic violence together! I owe a HUGE thank you to the invaluable volunteers who make all of our work, especially community outreach, possible. To show our appreciation for our volunteers, this fall we have been tallying hours for a prize drawing, with more hours representing more chances to win. I am pleased to announce that Joanna B. has won the prize, a custom folk art pet placemat and bowl! Joanna, who volunteered with us this fall at BarkFest and at the Atlanta Pet Expo, says, “I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to volunteer for a group that is very near and dear to my family and heart.” We are so thankful for you, Joanna!
Until the spring, everyone! Happy Holidays!