"Our Best Friends" is a monthly installment to honor just a few of our outstanding Best Friends LA volunteers. This is your chance to get to know some of the shining stars in the Best Friends LA volunteer program! Volunteers are either nominated by Best Friends LA staff or other volunteers in our program. If you would like to volunteer, e-mail the Best Friends LA Volunteer Department at volunteerLA@bestfriends.org.
Janine Hicks- Honored January 2018
Jani tell us.....
What programs and projects do you volunteer with at Best Friends LA?
Since experiencing debilitating post-surgery complications related to my knee replacement, I switched from being an active dog, front office and mobile adoption BFLA volunteer to primarily doing at-home administrative work for Best Friends. BFLA has been extremely accommodating, providing me with a wealth of volunteer opportunities that enable me to work at home or avoid standing: I assist the Mission Hills Volunteer Department with daily administrative activities like sending text reminders to volunteers about the following day’s training, handling unsubscribe requests, handling cream/brown/blue paw requests and new volunteer interest requests; I regularly work on a special project for the BFLA Front Office related to the system conversion of the animal/person/adoption database from PetPoint to Shelterluv, moving scanned adoption contracts into the appropriate adopter’s Shelterluv record; as needs arise I assist Adoptions in processing adoption contracts and/or cashiering for special events, and assist HR in special projects. I also assist BF National: I prepared meeting documents prior to last year’s Best Friends National Conference in LA, as well as volunteered each day at the conference in Registration. Lastly, I am really looking forward to my upcoming fourth trip volunteering at the Sanctuary in June.
Why do you choose to volunteer with Best Friends LA?
I have been supporting BF for well over 20 years, so when BFLA opened their doors in 2012 I jumped at the chance to have hands-on involvement as a volunteer for an organization whose leadership I admire and that I wholeheartedly stand behind, from their mission to their goals, philosophies and strategic actions. While there are other animal welfare organizations in LA, I could only volunteer for an organization that firmly supports no-kill as BF does. I have a special place in my heart for animals, especially homeless pets that cannot help themselves and have landed in a shelter due to no fault of their own. I consider it a personal privilege and my obligation as a human to do whatever I can to help these animals – to be their voice and hands, working with BF to reach no-kill in our country by 2025. And I LOVE working with the BF staff – they are an amazing bunch of caring, competent, supportive, creative and fun people. I truly appreciate BFLA’s efforts to provide volunteers with a vast array of opportunities so we can choose activities that fit our schedules, lifestyles and especially our physical limitations.
How long have you been a Best Friends LA volunteer?
Since December 2012.
What type of fun stuff do you do when you're not volunteering?
Over 4 years ago I retired early so that I could dedicate the rest of my life to volunteering, as I wanted the work that I do to make a difference in people’s lives as well as the lives of companion animals. So far so good! In addition to volunteering for BF, I also volunteer for my church (Shepherd Church at Porter Ranch). When not volunteering I enjoy traveling internationally, going to Paso Robles for wine tasting and going camping in our National and State parks, seeing the wild animals and exploring the amazing beauty of our country.
Do you have a favorite story to share about an experience volunteering with Best Friends LA?
It has been difficult adjusting from being a very active person to dealing with my unexpected post-surgery physical limitations. But the moment I realized that I don’t have to physically be at Mission Hills to volunteer and support BF, it made all the difference in my life. The BFLA staff is so helpful and supportive in training me on at-home administrative volunteer opportunities that not only help the organization, but also make me feel that I’m helping BF to reach no-kill.
Do you have any pets?
I have chosen not to adopt since my dogs passed away because I am a big-dog lover, and due to my knee issues I am not yet physically able to provide a big dog with the exercise and lifestyle they require and deserve. So I instead give the gift of my time to help all homeless animals.
What others are saying about Jani:
Jani comes to big adoption events to help with cashiering. She is a champion of finally getting our contacts (and eventually spay/neuter certificates) uploaded into our shelter database. She has a positive can-do attitude and she is always willing to go the extra mile to help with any admin tasks. Love her! - Miriam, Adoptions Manager
Jani has been a volunteer since we opened in 2012. I first met her when I was the Mobile Adoptions Lead. We immediately connected and she quickly became my most dependable and trusted volunteer. I loved doing events with her and I always knew that when she was there, it would be a good day. After the mobile adoptions department was discontinued, Jani started volunteering in an administrative capacity; helping Adoptions, Human Resources, and the Volunteer Dept with all kinds of administrative support that is extremely needed for us to stay organized. With Jani's support we have been able to improve efficiency in all these departments which positively impacts our ability to reach our no-kill goals. Thank you, Jani, for everything! I hope you know just how much we appreciate you and enjoy working with you. Fun Fact: Jani is also my dogs godmother and Lucy loves her sooo much :) - Christine, Volunteer Programming and Internships Lead.
I don't know what we do without Jani! She is such a vital part of the volunteer department and stays on top of many of our day-to-day tasks. We have greatly improved our efficiency with her help. We are so grateful for her continued support. - Aimee, Volunteer Coordinator