While many spring breakers are heading to resort destinations this week, others are opting for something a little different.
College students along with community volunteers have traded in their beach towels for power tools this week to work at the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter. They will spend the week building exercise pens and repairing a fence for the homeless pets.
Janet Hixson has volunteered at the shelter for years and said the pens and repairs are much needed for the animals.
"The shelter itself is a really stressful environment," said Hixson. "So, if they can get out and get a little exercise time and run around, then they are more relaxed. When people come here to adopt, they can see who they really are as an animal."
The program is sponsored by the Petfinder.com Foundation with funding from The Animal Rescue Site. Most of the participants are student members of Rescue U chapters at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University. Rescue U is a club whose mission is to improve the lives of homeless pets while empowering students by teaching them life skills.
"Most of the kids we bring on these things don't know a screwdriver from a hammer," said Doug Woolsey, project manager. "But at the end the week, these kids are a lot more self-sufficient than they ever were. So, it helps out with their life and their self-esteem."
Aside from the Rescue U student members, volunteers from around the community will also take part this week, including some from Tinker Air Force Base.
"There would be no Rescue U without these amazing volunteers and the local community support we receive." says Dr. Bryna Donnelly, program manager for Rescue U. "Our goal is that the skills we teach these students will give them the know-how to continue our mission to help homeless pets long after we leave."
Many of the volunteers for this project were also on hand for the January Rescue U rebuild of the tornado-devastated shelter in Guthrie.