By Marija Miteva (YES 2017-2018, North Macedonia, hosted by American Councils in O'Fallon, IL)
My name is Marija Miteva and I live in Shtip, North Macedonia. I am in my senior year of high school and one of my greatest achievements over the last year was volunteering at the local animal shelter.
It’s been some time since I returned home from my year in the United States on the YES Program, and since returning I have discovered what makes me feel happy and fulfilled. I found out that one of these things that makes me feel happy was volunteering at the animal shelter. There I found myself surrounded by likeminded people; the whole organization was comprised of people that simply wanted to help animals. There were only a few of us volunteers, and our tasks were to feed the animals, make sure they were healthy and, most of all, help them find new owners. During my time volunteering, I helped out with the adoption of an adorable and amazing puppy. He was only a few months old, but he got an awesome new owner that is taking good care of him.
Shelters can be a tough environment at times, with so many sad stories, but thankfully there are many success stories and inspirations, and I was so happy to create another success story. After a few months, I ended up adopting a kitten of my own. Helping these animals out was an amazing experience and taking care of them was even better. This experience led me to believe in the motto “Volunteers are not paid — not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!” Unconditional love is as close as your nearest animal shelter.