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Out of the Cage! The Blog of the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals

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Barbra Tolan, Mayor's Alliance Coordinator of Events and Training (center), and 'Miles For Paws' Team volunteers Melisa Simo (left) and Dominique Joseph (right) represented the Alliance at the April 24 'Run for the Wild, Run for the Tigers' event at the Bronx Zoo. (Photo by Todd D'Addario)

Barbra Tolan, Mayor's Alliance Coordinator of Events and Training (center), and "Miles For Paws" Team volunteers Melisa Simo (left) and Dominique Joseph (right) represented the Alliance at the April 24 "Run for the Wild, Run for the Tigers" event at the Bronx Zoo.

Photo by Todd D'Addario

Out of the Cage! (April 2010)

Re-vitalized Mayor's Alliance Volunteer Program Hits the Ground Running

In March, the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals invited veteran and newbie volunteers to its first-ever volunteer training session to kick-off a renewed effort to harness the enthusiasm and diverse talents of our dedicated volunteer corps. Recognizing that volunteers are, and always have been, a vital resource that enhances our ability as an organization to accomplish more than would be possible with the small Alliance staff, we hope to build on our success with a more diverse and structured volunteer program that offers greater opportunity to volunteers with a broad range of interests and skills.

The inaugural training session, hosted by Barbra Tolan, Mayor's Alliance Coordinator of Events and Training, provided volunteers with a general overview of the Mayor's Alliance mission and an introduction to a range of available volunteer opportunities — among them, assisting at adoption and spay/neuter events, microchipping clinics, fundraising events, and tabling events.

Barbra also announced some exciting new opportunities available to Mayor's Alliance volunteers. One such activity is "Miles For Paws." Volunteers are invited to join the Mayor's Alliance "Miles For Paws" team and represent the organization at races and walkathons throughout the city. Earlier this month, Team "Miles For Paws" hit the ground running at two events, each supporting important animal issues.

'Miles For Paws' Team volunteers staffed the Mayor's Alliance information table at the K9K Pet Cancer Awareness Walk in Brooklyn on April 25. (Photo by Laura Covino)

"Miles For Paws" Team volunteers staffed the Mayor's Alliance information table at the K9K Pet Cancer Awareness Walk in Brooklyn on April 25.

Photo by Laura Covino

On April 24, the team opened with the Wildlife Conservation Society's "Run for the Wild, Run for the Tigers" at the beautiful and biologically diverse Bronx Zoo. The 5K run/walk began at 7:00 a.m. and "our volunteers were up and ready to bring out the tiger in them!" reports Barbra. The event attracted more than 5,000 runners representing 360 teams, and raised $160,000 to help save the tigers' natural habitat across Asia.

"Our team goal was to raise $500," says Barbra, "but we exceeded our goal and raised an amazing $765!" Joining Barbra on Team "Miles For Paws" were Todd D'Addario, James Hsu, Dominique Joseph, Melisa Simo, and Diana Taveras. Following the race, participants had the opportunity to spend the day at the Zoo visiting its resident wildlife, including the red pandas, polar bears and, of course, the stars of the day — the tigers!

The next day, undaunted by drizzly weather, another Mayor's Alliance crew grabbed the baton for Team "Miles For Paws" at the Second Annual East Coast K9K Pet Cancer Awareness Walk to raise funds for the Animal Cancer Foundation. Starting out at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, volunteer walkers and their pooches strode across the Brooklyn Bridge, enjoying each other's company as well as one of the most amazing views of the New York City skyline peering through the mist. The two- and four-legged walkers then rounded back across the bridge toward the finish line at Cadman Plaza. For this event, Team "Miles For Paws" included walkers Ellen Augusto, David Glicksman, Marcia Levinson, Elizabeth Petit, and Barbra Tolan; volunteers Lydia Arroya and Laura Covino staffed the Mayor's Alliance information table.

The weather didn't stop the Mayor's Alliance 'Miles For Paws' Team from making the trek across the Brooklyn Bridge at the April 25 K9K Pet Cancer Awareness Walk. (Photo by David Glicksman)

The weather didn't stop the Mayor's Alliance "Miles For Paws" Team from making the trek across the Brooklyn Bridge at the April 25 K9K Pet Cancer Awareness Walk.

Photo by David Glicksman

Throughout the year, Team "Miles For Paws" will participate in more events to be announced. If you'd like to join the team, or if you'd like to find out about other volunteer opportunities with the Mayor's Alliance, you can contact Barbra at volunteer@AnimalAllianceNYC.org. We also invite you to submit a Volunteer Application on our website.