At AHS, chances are you’ve met or worked with a student from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. These students work part-time in Animal Care, Adoption, and at Animal House from mid-August to mid-June each year. In total, they each contribute over 300 hours to AHS per school year.
Cristo Rey is a college and career preparatory high school founded in 2007. To help pay for the tuition to attend Cristo Rey, students participate in a corporate work study program. The program provides students with real-world professional experience and helps Animal Humane Society promote itself as a future workplace for graduating students!
Kasey Lyons, a Vet Tech at Golden Valley, is a Cristo Rey alum who built a career at AHS.
“At first it seems scary, being 14 years old and having to go out into the world and work at a huge company,” says Kasey. “It really does break you out of your shell, giving you reasons to ask challenging questions and seek support from people who aren't a part of your everyday friend group. This program really sets students up for success. It gives you patience, time management skills, and work experience you may not have had until after graduation.”
Before working at AHS as a Cristo Rey student, Kasey wasn’t familiar with our work. Because she expressed an interest in working with animals in her future, she was one of the first four students selected to do a work study at AHS her junior year. “I started off doing a lot of clerical work: faxing, filing, and copying in the admin area,” says Kasey. “But I also got some experience working with the boarding side of AHS, cleaning and taking care of those animals.”
Kasey returned to AHS for her senior year and was able to do more animal handling as AHS and Cristo Rey worked together to give the students more responsibilities. After graduating, Kasey got a taste for many roles at AHS, serving as a receptionist in Adoption Services and working in Animal Care. These experiences solidified her dream of working in the veterinary field. “As my love for animals grew, I became more intrigued with the work we do here,” says Kasey.
Kasey stepped away from AHS for two years, but returned to the organization in her dream role as a Vet Tech and says she feels like she’s found her own forever home.
Kasey believes the partnership with Cristo Rey has grown and gotten even stronger since she first did it.
“You almost don't recognize that they're high school students because they are so professional and work very hard doing the jobs here,” says Kasey. “We make them feel welcome by making them a part of the team. Their names get written on our daily task boards, and we have the same expectations of them that we have for our other employees.”
If your company would like to explore creating opportunities for Cristo Rey students and graduates, please reach out to Kate Emmel at KateEmmel@cristoreytc.org.
https://www.animalhumanesociety.org Source: Animal Humane Society