Level Up Case Study

Barks of Love - From Grant Writing to Revamping a Children's Program

Fullerton, California, United States

Barks of Love is the only non-profit canine rescue program in Orange County, California, committed to matching dogs with ideal foster families that will give them the best chance at permanent, loving homes. Since their inception in 2008, the volunteer organization has maintained their values as an organization that puts dogs welfare first. 

In order for the organization to continue to rescue the many animals in need, educate the community on progressive animal care and ownership, and advocate for a more effective city animal control system, Ashley Cunningham, Barks of Love's Founder, Board Chair and Chief Financial Officer needed help with grant research and writing. She teamed up with Kiera McCloskey, a Bachelor of Arts, Book and Media Studies and Sociology student at the University of Toronto through Riipen's Level UP remote internship program.

Kiera was extremely keen on the project, given her love of dogs and her strong interest in the non-profit sector. Working closely with Ashley over the course of her 8-week project, Kiera helped write grant applications for Barks of Love, submitting a high volume of them on behalf of the organization. Kiera and Ashley stayed in close contact, communicating frequently despite their three hour time difference, and met once or twice per week via video conference throughout the project. 

Another Barks of Love initiative that Kiera worked on was Little Barkies Rescue Readers, a virtual reading program for children. The Little Barkies program gives kids the opportunity to read to foster dogs, enhancing their reading skills in the process. Kiera's tasks included creating visuals, advertising and budgets for the program.

A snapshot of the Little Barkies Rescue Readers Program that Kiera worked on with Barks of Love

Kiera found her Level UP project with Barks of Love rewarding both because of the relationship-building skills she developed through her grant outreach and because rescuing dogs is so personally meaningful to her. She was also able to strengthen her technical skills by using programs like Excel for budget preparation.

Kiera also talked about continuing to work with Ashley beyond her Level UP project, because "when it's a project you care about, you really want to stick with it."

Through her Level UP project, Kiera was able to gain hands-on experience while working with a non-profit close to her heart. She felt pride in making a real difference in the world, all while further developing her interpersonal and technical skills.

Thank you to Kiera for sharing her experience on Riipen. To learn more about how you can get started with the Level UP remote internship program as a student or employer, visit the website here. ‍Stay up to date with the latest in higher education, experiential learning, and the future of work, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter, The Riipen Report.

Riipen Level UP program is funded by the Government of Canada's Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (I-WIL) Initiatives program. The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

Level UP is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Innovative Work-Integrated Learning (I-WIL) Initiatives program
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