In this season of gratitude and giving, I’m incredibly thankful for the caring and compassionate staff, volunteers, and donors at Pasadena Humane. Together, we work tirelessly to make our community a better place for animals and the people who love them.
Over the last few years, we’ve built a solid organizational culture based on core values we established right before the pandemic. Befitting an animal shelter, our Pasadena Humane core values are known by the acronym LICK, which stands for Learning, Integrity, Collaboration and Kindness.
Kindness is key to our culture. We define kindness as showing compassion, care, respect and empathy to all animals and humans without prejudice or discrimination. This extends to our visitors, volunteers, and dedicated staff members, who give so much to the animals.
We were incredibly honored to recently receive an Employer of the Year Award from Civitan. The award recognizes our outstanding record of hiring individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo also awarded Pasadena Humane a certificate of recognition.
As a mission-driven organization, Pasadena Humane has always been a great place to work. We continuously strive to make our workplace even better so that we can build and sustain a dedicated, diverse, and professional workforce.
Like many other companies and organizations around the country, we have established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee to help create a truly inclusive environment where all employees and volunteers feel supported.
“At Pasadena Humane, it is important for us that all people are treated with compassion and care and that we ensure access and a sense of belonging to everyone who joins our team,” explains Janet Toma, our Senior Director of Human Resources.
Cesar Diaz, one of my colleagues at Pasadena Humane, accompanied me to receive the Employer of the Year Award from Civitan. Cesar has been employed by the shelter for six months as our facilities assistant, with Ability First providing job coaching. Ability First is a nonprofit that provides programs and services to help people with disabilities reach their full potential.
According to Chris Ferrer, Facilities Director at Pasadena Humane, Cesar’s dedication to the organization has been apparent since the start. “He came in on day one and just wanted to learn, to contribute, and to become a team member.”
Cesar thinks Pasadena Humane is a great fit for him as well. “I love working here. I really like my colleagues, my team.” Cesar takes great pride in keeping the shelter in tip-top shape. “My main goal is to make the kennel area as clean as possible for the dogs and the visitors,” says Cesar. “I’ve learned so much about how we do things, and I can’t wait to learn more.”
In addition to employing people with disabilities, for many years Pasadena Humane has partnered with Villa Esperanza – another nonprofit serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities – to offer group volunteer opportunities. Volunteers from Villa Esperanza work in the “Fluff and Fold” program to help keep on top of the tremendous amount of laundry needed to ensure clean bedding for shelter animals.
I’m honored to be a part of a generous and inclusive community that values the ability of everyone to make our community a better one for animals and people alike.
I hope you will join me in supporting the charity of your choice on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28. This annual day of generosity reminds us of the power of people and nonprofit organizations to transform communities across the globe in a multitude of ways.
To make a gift to Pasadena Humane on Giving Tuesday, please visit pasadenahumane.org/givingtuesday. You can also visit our website to learn more about working and volunteering at Pasadena Humane.
Dia DuVernet is president and CEO of Pasadena Humane.
This blog post originally appeared as a column in the Pasadena Star-News on November 24, 2023.