an article by Lucrina Ștefănescu

A few things about me

My name is Lucrina Ștefănescu and I have been volunteering for NUCA Animal Welfare since 2013. I am researcher and freelance translator. I like to read, sew clothes, knit, ride my bike and spend time with my friends and my cats. I listed all these not to brag about my numerous skills and activities, but to discourage any comment of the type “This woman doesn’t have an occupation!”. On the contrary, I have lots of things to do, but I also choose to be a volunteer because:

We have to contribute to change!

We keep hearing Mahatma Gandhi’s words everywhere nowadays “Be the change that you wish to see in the world!” Although this seems to be a sterile motivational or personal development phrase, I believe it is true. There are so many thigs to do and we are all waiting for “somebody” to do it. This collective “somebody” may be the authorities, the neighbors, people from other countries, others, superior beings. I think this “somebody” is us: me, you, my sister, your brother, our colleagues, all of us. If each does something, we all make a difference!

I love animals!

People keep asking me why do I get involved in this thing with animal welfare? Why not in child care, old or disabled people care? Just because I love animals and I have decided to contribute to their welfare. But my volunteering activities are not limited to NUCA. I am also a volunteer translator for Translators without borders, where I translate texts about environmental damage, health care, humanitarian aid, emigrants, etc. The problem of stray animals touched my heart and I chose NUCA because I saw that my contribution and efforts translate into real results: this number of saved animals, that number of spayed animals, this number of happy animals after being taken from miserable conditions in the streets. It’s like when you donate money for charity and you see the results and know that you had a contribution. Well, I donate my time, my efforts, and my skills for a cause I believe in (animal welfare).

I believe in the power of volunteering!

I would like to start my argumentation with the definition of volunteering. Volunteer – “acting willingly, on her/his own initiative, freely, consciously; (about actions) that are performed willingly, without any constraints (DEX online)”. This does not include the work tasks that your boss assigns to you saying that since there are no funds for these, you have to do them on a volunteer basis. This is not volunteering! Volunteering means when you offer your services yourself and you do it out of conviction and passionately. This is the power for volunteering. I have met a disaster management expert who said during a course that a volunteer and a person with a hobby is a professional in that field because he/she is empathic and likes what he/she is doing. When you do this you do not need money and you do not feel that you are working, although that is exactly what you do. You work very hard!

I liked NUCA volunteers!

My first volunteering action for NUCA was during the spay-a-thon in a village near Cluj-Napoca, in September 2013. As I was a newbie I was assigned the easiest task: to help with animal registration, write order numbers for the animals, simple things. I was impressed by the commitment of the others, the more experienced volunteers. Seeing how hard they were working I myself started to do more that my “job description”. By the end of the day I was helping the others (I was carrying and cleaning cages, I was comforting the animals). This gave me self-confidence and made me feel that I belong to a group of very special people, who worked beside me and with me for the same good cause and with such tremendous power that seemed to me like superhuman.

VOLUNTEERS ARE SUPERHEROES!

I end here the list of reasons for which I am a volunteer and I conclude by saying that to me VOLUNTEERS ARE SUPERHEROES! And I am not referring only to the NUCA volunteers (whom I love), but to volunteers in general, from any field of activity. They are superheroes because they find in themselves the motivation to do things without being paid, when everywhere around us money is the main engine and sometimes, sadly, the only reason that people do something. And even if you would like to pay them you wouldn’t have that kind of money because the passion and commitment of volunteers are priceless.

Volunteers are superheroes because they decide to contribute to change instead of doing nothing, because their good cause is the only thing that matters and they do everything in their power to fight for it. My idea is that there is a superhero in each of us. We only need to discover him/her. You can become one, you can learn many things, you can reach a superior level of understanding just by changing your point of view, by looking at the bigger picture from a different angle and you will definitely become a better person after this experience. While volunteering for NUCA I learned many things about people and animals. It is a real experience, when you feel that what you do directly influences the course of action. And that gives you superpowers!

I strongly believe in this category of people, the superheroes, as I call them, and I am sure that we will manage to build a better life for animals, but also for people, in a safer and healthier environment!