Volunteer of the Month – July 2017

Dania with one of her kitties, Mouse

On the heels of celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday, we’d like to celebrate our Volunteer of the Month for July, Dania Sheldon!

Dania discovered VOKRA when she rescued a cat who had been abandoned in a burning apartment; the humans had an illegal grow-op and left her there when an electrical fire started. She thought the cat might like company, so she looked online for options. It seemed to her VOKRA was a good fit as the foster system seemed a much better approach to cats’ welfare than the shelter model. Dania also had previous experience of caring for unweaned orphaned kittens. She has been volunteering with VOKRA since 2005, when she adopted her first three bottle-feeders who had been discovered in a bag in a dumpster.

With Maximus and Thumbelina

Before moving to Gabriola Island, Dania was involved in the day-to-day running of VOKRA as the operations manager. She was in charge of many tasks, such as cat care, bringing kitties to new foster homes, picking up and delivering supplies, fundraising and developing publications such as our Mewsletter and annual VOKRA calendar. Since moving to Gabriola, she’s continued with the calendar through to the 2017 issue, along with facilitating and coordinating the adoptions of VOKRA cats who require safe indoor/outdoor homes that can be found on Gabriola. Dania also represents VOKRA on the Rescue Roundtable, which is a coalition of no-kill rescue groups in  southern BC, sharing education, experience and contacts to achieve the best possible outcomes for animals in need.

“My favourite part of volunteering is spending one-on-one time with cats, particularly those who are shy, frightened, semi-feral or otherwise in need of particular consideration and care,” says Dania. “There is nothing more absorbing, for me, than being entirely focused upon another being and trying to provide whatever will soothe their anxiety. If this means sitting in a room for hours at a time, pretending not to notice a cat while s/he assesses me, I’m up for it. What’s more amazing than the feeling you experience when a once terrified, wary cat decides to trust you? Nothing. That’s the best.”

We’re grateful for all the hard work Dania has put into volunteering with our organization for the past 12 years. She’s helped VOKRA grow and improved the lives of countless kittens and cats. A favourite story that has stuck with her is told below by Dania:

“A little male tabby kitten had been born with his rear left leg significantly shorter than the others. He required ongoing physio, as he also had some spinal deformity either due to or concurrent with the stunted limb. Given his need for indefinite specialized care, it could have been difficult to find him a home, but a family in which the parents were physios heard about him and were interested. As it happened, their boy had a similar condition with one of his legs. His name was Keegan, and he fell in love with this kitten, whom he named Keegan. VOKRA received a note from the mum, who said that this little cat had completely transformed her son’s life; his whole demeanour had changed now that he’d found his buddy, whom he talked to and hung out with all the time and kept up to date on daily events.”

With Lua, a kitty who survived a spinal cord injury. Dania’s written a book about Lua and you can learn all about it here

We thank Dania for helping with the rescue and rehabilitation of cats for the past 12 years and we’re sure the kitties she has saved thank her too.

“There would be no VOKRA if Dania had not stuck with me in my basement in 2005,” say Karen Duncan, co-founder of VOKRA. “We were pretty well done, overwhelmed by the numbers coming in. It was only through her determination and ability to get things sorted and written that we were able to pull through. We were sure we pulled it off with our wonderful glass magic wands which we zipped out every time we ran into a new impossible problem, waving them with desperate hope to find answers. We shared so many tears and much hysterical laughter over this time, and have been great friends ever since.”

Karen sums up our gratitude to Dania pretty well, so we just want to acknowledge and give thanks for every single ounce of work Dania has put into this organization. You have helped VOKRA take off and we couldn’t be happier to have you on our team!

Post written by Aurora C.

As a 100% volunteer-driven non-profit, we clearly couldn’t do what we do without our extremely dedicated and hard working team of volunteers. THANK YOU!

If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at vokra.ca/volunteer.

Volunteer of the Month – May 2017

April showers bring May flowers…right? While it has been a rainy April we’re sure hoping for the sun to shine for everyone in May! But at VOKRA we’re lucky because we get sunshine everyday from all our lovely volunteers and it’s time to celebrate our Volunteer of the Month – Marlene Smith!

Marlene has always been a cat lover, having been involved with several cat rescue organizations. She joined the VOKRA volunteer team more than four years ago at an adoption event. She fostered a few cats here and there for a couple months, but decided not to continue due to her resident cats being less than amused by the lack of attention they were receiving. However, over the years she’s picked up short-term fostering again until longer term fosters can be found in Surrey or Vancouver.

Working from home, Marlene takes on many tasks at VOKRA. She enters health and medical information of kitties into our database, handles calendar distribution in Surrey and organizes community and fundraising events. As well, Marlene assists with the collection of donations, preparing tax receipts and documenting payments for online auctions. The volunteering doesn’t stop there! Marlene has also administrated and reported on two spay/neuter grants for VOKRA in Surrey.

“It was a learning experience and brought me in contact with people from many walks of life,” says Marlene. “This involved speaking with cat owners, setting up vet appointments and driving to and from vets to meet surgery times when an owner didn’t have transportation. In addition, I was trying to find carriers, washing carriers and delivering carriers for transport to and from the vet.”

Marlene truly is a hard worker, helping with emergency pick-ups and driving calls for injured cats or kittens that need a fast trip to the vet or our Operations Centre – no speeding tickets so far! She also prepares adoption papers in Surrey and meets with adopters. It’s a great way to meet people and share the information VOKRA provides during the adoption process.

Marlene is happy to volunteer with VOKRA, along with all the great volunteers who are associated with our organization. We too are over the moon to have Marlene as one of our volunteers. So, this month, we’re celebrating Marlene Smith as our wonderful Volunteer of the Month! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to VOKRA!

Post written by Aurora C.

As a 100% volunteer-driven non-profit, we clearly couldn’t do what we do without our extremely dedicated and hard working team of volunteers. THANK YOU!

If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at vokra.ca/volunteer.

Calling all graphic designers!

Each year VOKRA produces and sells a calendar to raise money for the kitties. The time has now come to refresh the design and we’re looking for a volunteer designer/design firm to be our redesign partner. As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we can’t afford design costs, but our partner will be remunerated by having their name on the calendar as our design partner, free sponsorship on one of the calendar months for one year, lots of purrs from our cats in need of homes and hugs from our volunteers and cat adopters.

Goals:

  • Fundraising! Last year we raised $15,000 and we’re looking to grow this each year.
  • Brand messaging – To tell our story through the kitties featured each month on the calendar.
  • Building community – Providing adopters an opportunity to see their kitties in the calendar and introducing new people to VOKRA.

Process:

We’re looking for expressions of interest based on the below criteria. We’ll choose one partner who will then provide us with three design options to choose from. There are no design requirements as part of the expression of interest. Expressions of interest are due by May 1, 2017.

Please include the following in your response:

  • Information about your background and relevant experience
  • Any calendar design experience, including pictures of such designs (otherwise, please provide pictures of similar elements in designs you have worked on)
  • Information about your volunteer experiences, if any
  • A short paragraph about why you’d like to volunteer on this assignment for VOKRA

Redesign Criteria:

  • Functionality is key. In previous years we’ve sold calendar date squares to people so they can see their adopted cats in the calendar. This has been a challenge as end users are then unable to write on the calendar because the dates squares are full. As such, the new design should leave the dates squares open.
  • Please think outside the (litter) box. We’re open to any design format that meets the redesign criteria. This includes overall size and shape.
  • A look and feel that fits with VOKRA’s mission statement and personality (see below).
  • The calendar must include space for a feature cat photo each month, along with their brief story (approx. 2–3 lines) in a prominent way as part of each month’s calendar page. We’d like the story to be incorporated as part of the picture.
  • Thought should be put into how a sponsor’s logo can be incorporated into each month.
  • As we’d like to continue to offer adopters the opportunity to see their kitties in the calendar, we envision the ability to incorporate 5 -6 small photos into each month. This should be taken into account in the overall design.
  • Format and design: We’re flexible and open to suggestions.

For any questions or further discussion on this RFP, please contact Majid Khoury at 604-725-5892 or strategy@majidkhoury.com

Electronic submissions are preferred and can be emailed to strategy@majidkhoury.com by May 1, 2017.

Learn more about VOKRA on our website at vokra.ca or visit our Facebook page.


VOKRA’s mission is to end cat overpopulation and homelessness. We rescue, heal, then place cats—first in our network of foster homes, then in carefully matched, loving, forever homes. We are a passionate, volunteer-driven charity with extensive cat care experience. We believe that no-kill is the only responsible approach, that Trap Neuter Return works and that cats are AWESOME!

Key messaging to support the positioning:

  • No-kill policy
  • 100% volunteer-driven
  • All donations go to cat care
  • Cats live in foster homes, not cages
  • TNR program to reduce feral cat populations
  • Operated by experts on cats and cat health
  • Stringent policies and procedures related to the health and nutrition of cats in the care of VOKRA fosters
  • Stringent policies and procedures for accepting the right adopters who align with VOKRA’s love, protection, and respect for the adopted cats
  • Volunteers have a wealth of information and best practices on cats’ health, nutrition and behavioural issues

VOKRA personality to set the tone of branding/marketing/communications look and feel:

Professional, trustworthy, compassionate, caring, knowledgeable, organized, yet loveable and playful, like a cat.

 

 

 

Volunteer of the Month – March 2017

We’ve zipped through the first two months of 2017 with great success in saving kitties, and we only plan to rescue more this month, but not without first thanking our Volunteer of the Month, Nina Maravic!

Nina began her role at VOKRA nearly two years ago, shortly after she adopted her two cats. In her first year, she took on the role of a volunteer recruitment coordinator. She wanted to become even more involved with the organization and so began her transition into planning events.

As an event planner at VOKRA, Nina works hard to make sure the events we participate in run smoothly. The first event Nina planned was the online Christmas Craft Fair in 2015 and included items from creative volunteers and local shops. Nina also organizes information booths at pet food stores, community events and pet conventions. Some large-scale events include the Pride Festival and Canada Day, which are great opportunities to raise awareness for VOKRA and kitties in need. In addition, Nina manages school visits where kittens are brought into classrooms and students learn about cat welfare and VOKRA.

“My favourite part of volunteering is planning outreach events that positively impact the community,” said Nina. “I recently worked with SFU on their first Kitten Therapy initiative (ours as well!), which got a lot of media attention and positive feedback from the students. I also love the teamwork that goes into all aspects of volunteering with VOKRA, whether it be the planning, trapping, fostering or any other job. It’s amazing that such a large group of individuals can come together for a common goal.”

We really appreciate Nina’s hard work and dedication to VOKRA

“Nina is an exceptionally hard worker and very curious about all the different volunteer areas within VOKRA,” says fellow volunteer Valerie. “She stepped in and did a wonderful job with the recruitment team before she moved onto the volunteer committee and off to join the fundraising committee. Her skills in setting up events, including all the preparation and organization required, is exceptional. She has introduced a team to handle school presentations which is very popular and a wonderful tool to educate younger people. She’s a very busy volunteer with fresh and new ideas and is a great asset to the VOKRA team!”

Once again, Nina plays such an important role within our organization and we wouldn’t know what to do without her. Thank you, Nina!

Post written by Aurora C.

As a 100% volunteer-driven non-profit, we clearly couldn’t do what we do without our extremely dedicated and hard working team of volunteers. THANK YOU!

If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at vokra.ca/volunteer.

Volunteer of the Month – February 2017

peggy-sullivanIt’s the month of love and we have all the love to give for our volunteers. This February, we’re giving our biggest thanks to Volunteer of the Month Peggy Sullivan!

Peggy joined the VOKRA team seven years ago when her friend invited her to volunteer. As a busy individual, she always told herself she would work with animals in some way when she found time. As the adoptions team lead, Peggy’s in charge of training adoption counsellors and ensuring VOKRA’s kitties are going to the best forever homes available. She oversees the processes of matching kitties to applicants and making sure the adoptions team works together to make both the kitty and the adopter happy.

“I work with amazing people at the VOKRA family and have never worked with such a dedicated, unselfish group of people before,” says Peggy. “I have a team of ten members who I’m so proud of. They work tirelessly, they are excellent team players and they’re incredibly dedicated to the cause. We adopted out about 1,400 cats and kittens last year and we’re working harder to beat that number this year.”

The best part of being the adoptions team lead for Peggy is to see how each and every adopter is so committed to the kitties and that the team gets to find furever homes for the kitties that come into VOKRA’s care.

We truly appreciate all the work Peggy puts into this organization because, without her dedication and hard work, the process of adoptions wouldn’t run like clockwork! We thank you Peggy for all the time and effort you put in to make the lives of VOKRA kitties better, one at a time. You’re the best!

Post written by Aurora C.

As a 100% volunteer-driven non-profit, we clearly couldn’t do what we do without our extremely dedicated and hard working team of volunteers. THANK YOU!

If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at vokra.ca/volunteer.

You can help save a kitten this holiday season

cauliflower-with-new-kittens

This is Cauliflower and she’s the proud mama of five kittens.

She was found upset and crying in the street not far from our Operations Centre. We’re not quite sure how she came to be on her own, but a neighbour told us this isn’t her first litter.

Unfortunately Cauliflower’s story is not uncommon. This year alone, more than 130 moms gave birth to more than 545 kittens while in our care. That’s a lot of kittens! And it doesn’t even take into account the little ones who’ve arrived without a mom.

The reality is only 25% of kittens who don’t receive human care survive. As a volunteer-driven non-profit, we wouldn’t be able to help all these moms and kittens without the support of people like you.

Kittens in our care have a chance at a happy, safe and healthy life. Once they’re old enough, Kale, Parsnip, Courgette, Broccoli and Cabbage will all be spayed/neutered and adopted into loving forever homes. And, like all the moms, Cauliflower will be spayed so she’ll never have to worry about getting pregnant again and she too will have her own forever home.

Your support today will help us pay for the cost of spaying/neutering, as well as for the food, litter and extra veterinary care all these moms and babies need.

Will you help us today?

This holiday season, please DONATE to help save families like Cauliflower’s.

veggie-patch

Parsnip, Kale, Cabbage, Courgette and Broccoli

screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-7-32-25-pm

brussel-sprout_tania

Brussel Sprout

And meet little Brussel Sprout, an honorary member of the veggie patch. He and his sister were found freezing cold in a shoebox when they were just a couple of days old. Despite our best efforts, we lost his sister and he was left alone in the world. But luckily for him, he went to live with foster mom Tania where he was bottle fed and received round-the-clock care. It just so happens Tania’s also fostering Cauliflower and her kittens. Cauliflower took one look at him and decided he needed to come join the veggie patch and that’s how he became Brussel Sprout!

P.S. – By becoming a monthly donor you can show your support for VOKRA all year long. Just $10 pays for one kitten to be vaccinated each month.

Volunteer of the Month – November 2016

lizAfter a terribly rainy October, it’s finally a new month which means it’s also time to congratulate a new Volunteer of the Month – Liz Menning!

Liz first heard about VOKRA through the West Vancouver SPCA, then applied to be a foster in 2012. The current count for cared kitties in Liz’s home is 57! As much as Liz and her family enjoy fostering, it’s no longer feasible with four cats in their household – three of which are foster fails! Liz’s three kids are happily a part of VOKRA and even set up lemonade stands to raise hundreds of dollars to save the kitties. In the four years Liz has been volunteering with VOKRA, she’s taken on many tasks, including caring for kittens, creating the online foster handbook, helping out at adoption events and much more. Liz’s goal is to make sure all the kitties out there are brought in, cared for and, ultimately, loved.

liz_cats

The three former fosters Liz adopted.

“My first official rescue was in April 2013,” says Liz. “There was a small tortie, Emma, in Horseshoe Bay living in the shed behind a fish and chips place. She was extremely thin when we brought her in, still wearing a ratty flea-collar and missing most of the fur on her lower half. She spent seven months in a foster home where she learned to be pampered; her coat grew in long and thick, so much so that she needed to be brushed daily. Emma was adopted in October 2013 into her forever home.”

As a volunteer, Liz has found a rewarding hobby in trapping and bringing in kitties to VOKRA. It doesn’t matter how feral or how busy the Ops Centre is, because VOKRA treats every incoming kitty with love and kindness. Liz calls it a “Kitty’s Lucky Day” to come to VOKRA. Some of Liz’s most memorable events with VOKRA include her first mass intake of 23 most sick kittens from Abbotsford and Walk for the Kitties.

liz-at-ops

Liz busily helping to get out Operations Centre up and running.

She’s deeply inspired by Karen and Maria at VOKRA and their commitment to kitties – each and every one of them. Liz loves working alongside phenomenal volunteers and felt extremely proud seeing the large number of people who attended the VOKRA Volunteer BBQ this past summer.

We here at VOKRA feel the same way about Liz. She’s an extraordinary volunteer and has gone through great lengths to provide the best care possible for all the rescued kitties. Thank you Liz! We appreciate all your hard work and effort to help our organization be successful and, most importantly, to improve the lives of all kitties. Stay awesome!

Post written by Aurora C.

As a 100% volunteer-driven non-profit, we clearly couldn’t do what we do without our extremely dedicated and hard working team of volunteers. THANK YOU!

If you’re interested in volunteering with us visit our website at vokra.ca/volunteer.