- What is the accommodation like?
Volunteers will live on the animal shelter site in a shared-accommodation guest house. The house has a fully equipped kitchen (stove, refrigerator, microwave, blender, cookware, dishes and utensils), a living area with a TV and DVD player, three bedrooms and two bathrooms with showers, tubs, sinks and a western toilet. Each bedroom has a night-stand, a closet and either one or two bunkbeds. The house has central heat and air. Bedding and bath towels will be provided. As you and the other volunteers share the guest house with other guests who are not part of the project, you are required to observe a respectful etiquette at all times.
- How is the food provided?
Volunteers will be offered one weekly vegan communal dinner. They are welcome to participate in the preparation of the meal. It will be prepared by the Guest House Innkeeper. In the fully equipped kitchen of the guest house volunteers can prepare meals themselves. The staff members purchase basic staple food items to cover two meals per day for each volunteer. Volunteers will need to provide any additional food they need/want. Once a week a staff member will take the volunteers to the city for some grocery shopping.
- How are working time and free time divided?
You are expected to work four consecutive days in 9-hour-shifts with a 1-hour-lunch break included. Three days are off. Volunteers are assigned an AM or PM shift; start and end times vary on time of year and will be explained to you by a staff member upon arrival. Please be prepared wo work as early as 6:30am or stay as late as 8:00pm in the summer months.
- How can I spend my free time?
Volunteers have three days off. Unless there is an emergency need at the sanctuary, days off are consecutive. The shelter is within driving distance to several local, state, and federal parks including the Tahoe National Forest. It’s also within driving distance to Grass Valley or Nevada City which contain theatres, movies, restaurants, concerts, wineries, bars and recreational areas. In the other direction is our California’s capital, Sacramento which is full of restaurants, bars, museums, and recreational areas. The United States does have strict drinking age rules – only those 21 and older may drink. Please note that Yosemite National Park is between 4 and 4.5 hours away. The Bay Area (e.g. San Francisco) is between 2.5 and 3 hours away.
- Do I have a contact person on site?
Yes, you will find a contact person at the sanctuary. Additionally you will be looked after by a supervisor.
- What expenses do I have to expect during the project? Can I withdraw cash on site and do I have to pay in local currency?
Volunteers usually spend $50-$75 per week on groceries. If you plan on participating in activities outside of the project you will need to budget accordingly.
The US-dollar is the official currency of the United States and its insular territories. A few weeks prior to departure to the US you can get a certain amount of dollars from your local bank. There are also foreign exchange places at the airport. Furthermore you can withdraw cash at the airport or in the city.
- How can I contact family and friends at home?
The guest house has access to the internet. If available to a volunteer’s smartphone, one can enable making phone calls via WiFi. Cell phone service is limited but available. There is a land-line but not for making long-distance phone calls. You should use Skype or a calling card for international calls.
- What’s the climate like?
The climate in California is mild and pleasant. It is always colder the closer you get to the coast or the higher you go up the mountains. During the night desert region can also get very cold. Besides that the rest of the country has nice and warm summer with temperature over 20° C and cooler winter months below 10°C. The perception varies strongly from region to region. In Northern California summers are hot and temperatures can reach >37°C. The winters are generally wet and cold, ranging from 0-7°C.
- What happens in the event of an emergency?
In the event of an emergency, you will either be transported via sanctuary staff to a nearby hospital or urgent care centre. Please make sure your insurance covers possible transport via ambulance which patients are required to pay for. Consider something like Emergency Evacuation Coverage.
- Are there any rules and restrictions?
Volunteers must adhere to a vegan lifestyle while on the project site. No smoking is permitted on the site, aside from inside your personal vehicle. Alcohol is permitted but must be consumed after hours. Working under the influence is prohibited and will result in termination of the volunteer programme with no refund. Here’s a list of what not to bring or do:
• Illicit or recreational drugs (including medical marijuana)
• Animal flesh, dairy products, eggs, honey, gelatin
• Leather, wool, or any animal-derived clothing or shoe
• Cosmetics/personal hygiene care tested on animals or containing animal-derived ingredients
• Bedding made using down feathers
• Weapons (guns, knives)
• Cigarette smoking is not allowed on the project site due to high fire danger (aside from inside your own personal vehicle)
- What is veganism? How is the vegan lifestyle at the sanctuary characterized?
Vegans avoid animal-based foods (animal flesh, dairy, eggs, honey); clothing/shoes/wallets/bags containing the skins, fur, feathers, or fiber of other animals and products that contain animal-based ingredients or were tested on animals (to the best of one’s ability). Veganism is the ethical belief that human beings should cause the least amount of harm possible toward both nonhuman and human animals.
A person may choose to be vegan for ethical, health or environmental reasons. At the sanctuary all team members are vegan for ethical reasons as they seek to protect the lives of nonhuman animals harmed by animal agriculture. Therefore, certain goods are not permitted at the sanctuary: animal flesh (including fish and insects), dairy from animal lactations, eggs, honey, gelatin, animal fibers or skin (leather, suede, wool, fur, feather, down, silk) as well as cosmetics/personal hygiene care tested on animals or containing animal-derived ingredients.