Do you read the blogs on your local Patch? Blogging is fun, easy, free and open to everyone. In May, we are going to take some time to get to know our local bloggers. This week we are featuring Amanda Newsom from the Athens Area Humane Society, whose blogs may be found on the Oconee Patch.
Here's what Newsome shared with Patch in an email interview:
What is your educational background?
I received my bachelor of arts degrees from the University of Georgia in magazine journalism in 2007 and anthropology in 2008 (double major). I then went back to graduate school at UGA and received my master of arts in management of nonprofit organizations in August 2011. I plan to pursue a humane leadership graduate certificate through the Humane Society University in the coming years, as well.
Tell us a little about yourself, your interests, your accomplishments, what’s important to you…
I am so lucky that I have a great job that I love and that it is related to my number one passion in life, helping animals in need. I have always been an animal lover since I was a child, growing up with all types of animals including many rescues, and in my college years I realized the opportunities that were available to help animals that weren’t as fortunate.
I began volunteering locally to help animal welfare organizations and after Katrina hit my eyes were opened to a whole new way of helping in disaster and emergency situations. So I began my training with the Humane Society of the United States’ NDART team (National Disaster Response Team) and the United Animal Nations’ EARS team (Emergency Animal Response Services)—UAN is now RedRover and the EARS team is now called RedRover Responders—to volunteer nationally. I have deployed through HSUS and UAN/RedRover on five cases since 2009 and hope to increase that number this year. I try to remind people that there are so many ways we can all help animals in need, beginning at home by spaying/neutering and being responsible pet owners, adopting rather than purchasing pets, reporting neglect or cruelty cases and volunteering at local animal shelters. The list goes on but I always enjoy sharing my passion to help animals with others and it’s great to get positive feedback and to inspire others to help as well.
I like to tell people that my life doesn’t completely revolve around animals, I actually do have other interests, although most of my time does end up going to helping animals. I enjoy learning about the workings of nonprofits in general. There are so many incredible causes out there that are worthy of support.
I also have a great passion for anthropology and archaeology. Museums are some of my very favorite places to visit and I generally judge my vacation destinations by the number of museums and historical sites that I’ll be able to see! (I love traveling when I get the chance and am always saving up to visit the next place on my list. Another related passion of mine, I want to see the world!) I love learning about other cultures and people and it really puts our lives in perspective and helps to expand our world view to be more open and compassionate toward others.
Archaeology is a great way to learn about our past as people and each find is just so exciting! I had the pleasure of doing archaeology field school at UGA in the summer of 2007 and fell in love with it. If I ever weren’t in the nonprofit world, I would most certainly be pursuing archaeology or cultural anthropology as a career.
What are your ties to the Oconee Patch? How did you become involved with blogging here?
I met Stephanie at our 2012 MLK Volunteer Work Day where she was volunteering. She asked if she could write about her experience on the Oconee Patch and as we were talking about our perspective roles at Oconee Patch and AAHS, she suggested that we start a blog to promote our adoptable pets, events and relevant topics related to animal welfare. Very soon after that, I signed up to become a blogger and we are happy to have such a great relationship with the Oconee Patch!
Why do you like to blog and what subjects are your favorites to write about?
Before coming to AAHS, I started my own blog to talk about animal welfare topics (Amanda Talks Animals). I already had an interest in writing about animals and just sort of transferred it to a different forum. I admit that I’ve neglected my blog some because of it (a blogger 101 sin!), but I’m so happy to share my articles through Oconee Patch to help support AAHS and its mission in our community.
Do you have a favorite quotation?
Absolutely, and I can quote it from memory! It’s a quote by anthropologist Margaret Mead that sums up my outlook on life and why I do what I do:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Any additional information you would like to share with our readers….
I’ll just give you an overview of AAHS and my role within it:
The Athens Area Humane Society is a no-kill, private 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to lowering the euthanasia rates through adoption, spay/neuter and pet retention programs in Athens, GA and surrounding areas. Founded in 1989, AAHS is the county’s oldest animal welfare organization, and it rescues and cares for over 4,000 animals each year. The adoption program finds new homes for over 300 cats, dogs and small animals; the monthly Pet Care Clinics provide over 1,000 low-cost vaccinations and other services; and the Spay & Neuter Center performs over 3,000 low-cost sterilization surgeries each year.
In 2009, AAHS transitioned to a no-kill shelter and began rescuing and adopting dogs in addition to cats and small animals. Its Zeus House Shelter and Spay & Neuter Center are now located in Watkinsville, GA and its Adoption Outreach Center is located in the back of Pet Supplies Plus in Athens, GA. Through all of its programs, AAHS contributes to the reduction of pet overpopulation in our area and increased knowledge about the importance of responsible pet ownership.
I am the Outreach Coordinator, which encompasses several tasks. I help with community outreach and increasing awareness about AAHS and its mission which includes our PR and marketing efforts; fundraising and writing grants; assisting with special events and promotions; and managing our volunteer program as well as our Food Bowl and Humane Education programs. And this is actually not my first stint working at AAHS. In 2009, I worked as an adoption counselor for a few months before going back to school! I also interned to help with the volunteer program last summer as part of my master program, which lead to my coming on board as staff after graduation. Like I said earlier, I’m lucky to have a job that I enjoy so much!
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