Image of Heritage Team students with a Golden PAWS volunteer, being taught how to make a blanketImage of Heritage Team student volunteer holding up a handmade blanket at Arlington Animal Services CenterHeritage Team Photo 01Heritage Team Photo 02Heritage Team Photo 03Heritage Team Photo 04Heritage Team Photo 05Heritage Team Photo 06Heritage Team Photo 07Heritage Team Photo 08Heritage Team Photo 09Heritage Team Photo 10

Arlington Animal Services’ Heritage Team was founded by Animal Services Manager Chris Huff in 2014. Huff was inspired to create the program when she noticed a disparity in the number of minority  junior high and high school students actively volunteering at the Animal Services center, and thus the program was born.

Members of the Heritage Team become approved Animal Services volunteers and commit to dedicating a year of volunteering at the center. The program concludes each year in a contest. Each team member is asked to prepare an end of year presentation regarding a heritage leader, or a legendary event. Student performances in the contest are judged on professionalism, accuracy of depiction of the subject or subject matter, and the quality of the delivery of the presentation. Scholarship funds are awarded to the contest winners.

The Heritage Team program is helping grow a more diverse population of youth volunteering at the shelter, while it inspires scholarship opportunities, and the reward of giving back to the community. The goal is a long term positive effect that invests in the community through the enrichment of youth, while also benefiting homeless animals.