Lauren Novorska is not kitten about her future

It was the summer before her first year of high school. She would go to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay three to four times a week, where she helped kids learn more about animal shelters and taking care of animals. At the end of it, she had amassed a total of 120 service hours.

 After many years of Girl Scouts and multiple volunteering programs, sophomore Lauren Novorska finally found the perfect project for her Girl Scout Silver Award. It combined her passion for animals with her dream of educating people about important issues of the environment, such as spreading awareness on animal homelessness.

Exploring a new passion

“That [project] kicked off my volunteering at the Humane Society. It has really opened up a lot of doors. I love working there,” Novorska said. 

Her mother also volunteered at the shelter with her, and now works there as a volunteer coordinator. “I think it’s terrific that Lauren wants to give back to her community by volunteering at the Humane Society. She’s always been very interested in animals and has loved working with them and trying to preserve the environment,” her mother, Lisa Novorska, said. “Volunteering also gives her an opportunity to learn about possible animal-related careers. Plus, who doesn’t want to spend their afternoon playing with kittens?”

Besides achieving her goals of giving back to the community and advocating about the topics she is passionate about, Novorska also gets to explore her love for cats, and animals in general, each time she volunteers there. Her role at the shelter is typically working with the rescued cats or educating people. 

She takes visitors and volunteers on tours and explains the Humane Society’s mission. Two of her own four kittens, Cocoa Puff and Rascal, also came from the shelter.

“Even though my pets may be safe and happy, others may not be. So, it’s really important to me while working there to make sure that they have the best life that they can possibly have during their time at the shelter,” she said.

Her future plans

 Novorska is very interested in ecology and genetics, and plans to combine those with her passion for animals, becoming an environmental lawyer in the future. “It all plays into conservation and the species survival plan. That would be my dream job, to work with animals and educate in things like climate change and why it’s important to impose regulations from a governmental stand point and from a law stand point,” she said. 

She is currently working on her Girl Scout Gold Award project with the Humane Society. Her plan is to work with their Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Release Program. This program includes capturing feral or stray cats in the community to give them any specific treatment needed before returning them to the wild. She says her goal is to spread advocacy about the importance of neutering your pets. 

“Even though it’s great that volunteering gets me hours, it’s more of wanting to actually do something to impact those around me. If I’m here, I want to make sure I’m doing something to help, and this is the way I’ve chosen to do so,” Novorska said.