Kimberly Hart, the Outreach and Education Program Manager for the Austin Animal Center recently visited students enrolled in the Principles of Health Science courses at Eastside Memorial High School. Hart provided students with information about preparation to work in public health and community health, while also explaining the services and resources provided by the Austin Animal Center. Many students who owned pets explained to Hart they had used some of the services, but were unaware of the many alternative support systems being offered by the Austin Animal Center. Some examples of services, according to Hart, included free micro-chips for their pets; especially cats and dogs who have habits of leaving the house and property areas. “The Austin Animal Center encourages all dog and cat owners to micro-chip their pets as well as ensure that they have a visible ID tag. These measures prove invaluable in reuniting lost pets with their owners and it’s free,” Hart said.
The visit by Hart coincides with the overall aim of the Health Tech Program at Eastside Memorial High School, which provides its students with expanded comprehension of career choices and career preparation for those interested in pursuing careers such as veterinary assistant, dental hygienist, surgical technology, social work, nursing and even medical school. Hart, a native of California, highlighted her career path to becoming the Outreach and Education Program Manager with the City of Austin. During her presentation, Hart explained to the students the importance of obtaining volunteer work experience and internships to learn more about any health related occupations and to meet professionals in a specific field. She elaborated to students by asking, “Why do you think it was important for me to volunteer and seek an internship post college? I was fresh out of college - shouldn’t that guarantee me a job?” Hart also told the students it was important to obtain some type of higher education degree beyond high school to make their profiles more marketable to potential employers. She also explained some of her duties such as grant writing, community presentations and public relations.
Elsa Ramirez, a student enrolled in the Principles of Health Science class thought the presentation was very helpful.
“I think it is good information because Miss Hart talked about how to work with animals and learning to be patient with people," she said.
Hart provided students with information about ‘Lost Dogs’, ‘Lost Cats’, and ‘Pet Adoption’ and explained the importance of the center in seeing that many pets/animals find good homes to live in. She also distributed applications to students to become Volunteers with the Austin Animal Center. According to Hart, many of the students were eligible to volunteer as animal walkers, and care-takers of some animals in cage areas. Hart explained to the students about the importance of pet owners to acquire both a pet ID Tag and a microchip for their pets. Hart also emphasized the students to have any pet owners they knew to have their pets immunized against rabies, and explained the center held periodic clinics for pet owners to get shots for their pets. Hart is coordinating an off campus site visit for the students to view first-hand the facilities and grounds. Other than being visited by Austin Animal Center, other presentations given to Health Science students have been by representatives from the YWCA of South Austin and the Austin Life Science Center (for CPR certification). Future visits are scheduled with the Travis County Medical Examiner’s office and Austin Life Care.