Noelle and Vince have been with AFA since they were 17 years old – back when we were bending the age requirement for volunteers! Noelle’s mom turned her onto volunteering, and Vince got dragged along with. Lucky for us, because they’ve been great! Five years later they’re still with us. Despite their hectic college careers, they faithfully return on breaks and brief visits home to tend to the animals and catch up on the latest AFA goings-on. Both agree that the animals and interacting with them are their favorite part of volunteering. Noelle adds, “They are all such characters!” It’s true! Each one has his or her unique personality!
As is the case with most volunteers, cleaning is the #1 task for this dynamic duo. Vince’s least favorite chore is cleaning the outdoor fox enclosure, which can be a dirty job and a challenge, as well. Noelle would rather not clean outside in bad weather. Winter around here is………well, it’s hell! But there are good times too! Says Vince, “On my first day volunteering, we sprayed perfume in the raccoon/coati enclosure and the coatis buried the scent into their tails instantly. I thought that was really neat!” And Noelle recalls meeting and handling Ozzy the bearded dragon while volunteering at an event. “I now have two bearded dragons of my own. I absolutely love the species,” she beams. And Noelle loves the sulcata tortoises, too!! Since volunteering at AFA she has also rescued one of her own. Vince’s favorite, however, is Tallulah the kinkajou. But Noelle also cherishes her, as well. LOL.
Both Vince and Noelle agree that AFA is very, very friendly, fun and a laid back atmosphere. Says Noelle, “You’re welcome to volunteer at varying times or whenever your schedule permits, or you can create a ritual of coming at the same time each week.” That’s one of the things that makes AFA unique and different from other organizations.
New Lenox resident Vince shares his home with 3 dogs and a tortoise. When he isn’t working as a UPS driver, he enjoys jet skiing, biking, snowmobiling and working in the garage. He sees himself sticking around UPS for quite a while and hopefully advancing through the ranks there. Tinley Park resident Noelle’s home is a bit more crowded with 5 dogs, 2 bearded dragons and a sulcata tortoise. She’ll soon be graduating from UIUC with a BS in Animal Sciences in the summer of 2015 and moving onto graduate school. Noelle’s aspirations are to go into zoo research or work in animal husbandry, animal welfare or conservation in a zoo or aquarium setting!