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Recruiting coordinator Sarah Barnett holding a cat

Sarah Barnett: I Volunteer beCAUSE...

Posted On07/08/2019

ContributorKaila Prins

At Nelson, we care deeply about the communities where we live, work, and play. Through the Nelson beCAUSE program, everyone at Nelson, from individual contributors to community-based teams and even the company as a whole, is empowered to give back. We support the causes we care about through volunteerism, donation-matching, and corporate grants. In this series, you’ll learn more about Nelson’s philanthropic employees:  

Meet Sarah Barnett, Recruiting Coordinator for Google Onsite

Recruiting Coordinator Sarah Barnett

Tell us about your favorite charity or volunteer gig.

I volunteer weekly at the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA. Our adoption center where I spend most of my hours is located in Burlingame! You can usually find me on the adoptions floor on Monday evenings.

I started volunteering at PHS in October of last year. Since then I have been going in once or twice a week every week to “Cat TLC” shifts. TLC volunteers spend time socializing animals that are ready to be adopted. They have a few different TLC opportunities, from dog walkers to bunny cuddlers, but I have a soft spot in my heart for cats—so that was the most natural opportunity for me to take on.

As you spend more time with the animals, and you hit certain total hour milestones, you have an opportunity to work with animals that have different behavioral needs, and more complex personalities. I am currently working with the behavior department to make my way to the top tier of the volunteer chain, as these cats need the most help, and they have the least number of qualified volunteers for them. I am one step away from being able to test for that opportunity, and I hope to be able to do that by the end of the year!

I say by the end of the year, because it is kitten season. My latest adventure at PHS is an additional weekly shift at the kitten nursery. And, while that doesn’t mean I will be giving up my behavioral shift every week, it does mean that most of my focus will be on the orphaned kittens and making sure that I am helping them grow big enough to be adopted! Kitten nursery volunteers work the kitten season annually and bottle/syringe-feed kittens that are too young to be out on the adoption floor. Last year, PHS cared for nearly 400 orphaned kittens between April and October. These guys require a lot of careful care and attention, being as young as they are. When you are in the nursery, you will see kittens being fed, weighed, cleaned, cuddled, and monitored by our onsite veterinary team. Once kittens are big enough to be adopted, they are moved out to the adoptions floor with the other cats!

Do you have a particular act of charitable giving or volunteering that stands out to you?

I have many stories about volunteering at PHS but the best part is that each story ends in animals finding a forever home. That in itself is rewarding enough!

If people would like to watch the stories unfold, I have an Instagram account for people to join me in my journey!

Millie, pictured here, was one of the cats I have had a chance to work with, and she was featured in the news! More pictures and videos can be found on my Instagram!


Tell us about your involvement with the Nelson beCAUSE program.

My entire team went to volunteer at a soup kitchen of sorts over the holidays last year, and that was a great bonding experience for all of us. I think it is wonderful that Nelson encourages and highlights the philanthropic spirit of their employees! We all truly enjoyed the experience and are looking forward to doing it again!

What is your “beCAUSE”?

I am an animal advocate, plain and simple. I have been inspired in particular by Hannah Shaw and Jackson Galaxy over the last few years, and finally decided to put my passion into action.

While excuses tend to get in the way, if you find yourself able to jump in and take even two hours out of your week every week, the fact is, it just feels good. There are plenty of different organizations out there that thrive off of the passion of their volunteers, and it is absolutely a win-win opportunity for both the organization, and for the volunteers themselves! I find that being active in my community and advocating for those who do not have voices if their own, has, without a doubt, been one of the most rewarding decisions that I have made to date.

You can learn more about the Nelson beCAUSE program here.