Meet Joyce! RASKC is extremely pleased to honor Joyce Grajczyk as Volunteer of the Month. She is one of the hardest working volunteers and one of the very few volunteers who has received at least three written kudos from staff.
Animal Control Officer Diana Fowler wrote, “Has shelter helper Joyce been a Volunteer of the Month yet? If not, she should be. She is such a hard worker, always looking for things to do, always lending a helping hand, very sweet and friendly, and usually stays way later than her scheduled time just to finish her tasks.” Animal Services Coordinator Nickie Ford wrote, “I just wanted to share a kudos for Shelter Helper/M&G volunteer Joyce. She was here late to fill kitten food boats because we were out. When everyone else in the building had left, she insisted on staying to finish the bag of food she was working on. She is always so helpful, and she is also just one of the sweetest people around. She greets staff by name when she comes in and she always has a smile on her face. We’re very lucky to have her and I hope she’ll end up being volunteer of the month one day.” Another staffer wrote, “I don’t know what it is about Joyce, but I could be having the worst day and when I see her smiling face, it lifts my spirit. She always goes the extra mile to make sure I have what I need.”
During normal times, she works very hard as a Shelter Helper on two shifts each week. And she trains lots of new volunteers. Joyce also picks up donations for RASKC on a regular basis from a Mud Bay store near her home. Previously Joyce worked a weekly shift for two years on our Cat Meet & Greet team too. Thank you, Joyce!
Q: How did you hear about RASKC?
A: I have lived in Kent for 36 years. We adopted our first dog from the shelter in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s. Back when RASKC was King County Animal Care & Control, I did at one time in the mid 1990’s try to volunteer. Unfortunately I was told at that time, rather curtly, they did not need any help. Therefore, I did not go back to try again to volunteer until 2017.
Q: What made you want to volunteer, especially to work with animals?
A: I came back again in 2017 for my peace of mind. I chose RASKC because of my love for animals. This is a place where I can interact with most all animals.
Q: What do you like to do when you aren’t volunteering for RASKC?
A: When I am not volunteering, I read a lot- not just novels, but also magazines and newsletters I receive from some of my charities that I donate to…..namely Defenders of Wildlife, Best Friends, Ocean Conservancy, Alaska Wilderness, African Wildlife Foundation, and many others. I learn so much about what they doing to save animal lives. I also read articles about wildlife from my emails and watch videos they post. Later in the evenings I watch television with my husband.
Q: What have you gained and hope to gain from your experience as a volunteer with RASKC?
A: I have gained a lot of respect for the staff who are so dedicated to helping all the animals that come into the shelter and their willingness to help the public and our volunteer Meet & Greet team members who help the people find their perfect companion. I hope to gain more knowledge about how to help the animals in our care.
Q: What is your life motto?
A: This sums up what I am just learning about myself: Failure is an Opportunity, Not a Condemnation. I have failed many times and felt worthless, but volunteering here has totally shown me that this is the ultimate opportunity to believe in myself.
Q: Tell us a little more about yourself.
A: I was born in Pennsylvania in a suburb of Philadelphia that was rural at the time. Our house had an old barn at the end of the driveway that had a hayloft. I used to climb up into the hayloft. One day I discovered a nest of mice. I tried to bottle feed one them with a doll’s bottle. It didn’t work. We always had a lot of animals, such as cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, parakeets, even a chipmunk we caught, but my favorite was my duck. He followed me everywhere. When I was 11 years old we moved to Seattle. The adjustment was difficult for me, since I had to choose only two of my animals to come west with me. I didn’t want to leave my duck. I chose one dog and one cat. City life was not for me. My favorite place to live was outside of Philly.
I have always been quiet and reserved except in a family environment. Our family has had its share of troubling times and issues as any family probably does. Now my husband and I are in our twilight years and have mellowed and accepted what life has offer…. (not expecting this virus to upset the apple cart, so to speak)!
Q: Tell us about your pets and their personalities.
A: Yes! I have three dogs, three cats, and a guinea pig. Since volunteering, I have adopted one dog, one guinea pig, and two foster cat failures. I already had two Japanese Chins. With seven pets, you get seven different personalities. I call one of my Chins my vacuum cleaner, as she walks around with her head to the floor to find whatever crumbs, etc. that have been dropped. Her half sister is deaf. She likes to bark at any movement she sees walking past our house. The Yorkie we adopted from the shelter is a bit hyper and eats her food in just about one gulp. My six-year-old cat doesn’t like competition, but has adjusted to our two foster fails. Sometimes he takes a swat at them. One of the kittens is a thief, who carries off my oven mitts or a dish cloth and takes it to his cache under the fireplace hearth. His brother has also been caught in the act of stealing a cat blanket and dragging it into a play tunnel. The guinea pig is actually quite quiet and loves to eat.
Q: What are some notable moments from volunteering at RASKC so far?
A: All the moments with the staff have been memorable! The staff has always been helpful. Whenever I needed information on where to put an item away or to help a with a machine malfunction, they never hesitated stop what they were doing to assist me. This is why I so enjoy my time volunteering as a Shelter Helper. The volunteers I meet during my shifts are very dedicated to what they are doing, especially the Meet & Greet volunteers, since these are the volunteers who I interact with the most.
Q: What else would you like to say about volunteering for RASKC?
A: I would like to finish by saying volunteering at RASKC has offered me an insight to how satisfying helping animals can be and keep up the good work- staff and volunteers! You all are amazing!
Interested in learning more about how to volunteer at RASKC? Visit our page: www.kingcounty.gov/RASKCVolunteer