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Volunteering at sanctuary a learning experience for local teen

A young man dedicates his time to volunteer and hopes to implement his experiences into his future career

Outside of school, 14-year-old Brad Garrote spends most of his time volunteering at the Wishing Well Sanctuary in Bradford.

He discovered the opportunity to help at Wishing Well after his older brother, Brandyn, started volunteering himself.

Wishing Well Sanctuary, which provides a home for dozens of animals rescued from abuse, neglect, or the slaughterhouse, is founded by Brenda Bronfman.

Wishing Well doesn’t exactly call itself an animal sanctuary or a rescue because it’s much more than that. It’s a healing environment using the connection between humans and animals.

They also host festivities and events, including movie nights, vendor markets, and seasonal fairs. You can even do yoga with the animals or stay in their overnight house.

Garrote started at the sanctuary last June and is loving it just as much almost a year and a half later, even through the cold winter months.

He goes to the sanctuary, conveniently located close to his home, right after class at least twice a week. His duties include feeding the animals, prepping them for sleeping, rounding up the free roaming animals, and cleaning the food bowls.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Garrote says. “My favourite part is feeding the animals. They can be very cute and entertaining.”

He adds that scheduled work doesn’t always go to plan because the animals have their own agendas. Upon meeting him at the sanctuary, he talks about each animal individually and their quirks as if they’re friends and family. Hector, the turkey, can be quite intimidating as he approaches, but he’s just curious when seeing a new face.

Garrote hopes that the experience volunteering at the sanctuary will contribute to his future career path of being a police officer. Upon recruitment, stations take serious consideration into an applicant’s volunteer hours and often encourage them to continue doing it after being hired. Garrote plans to keep dedicating his time tending to the animals as long as he can.

Garrote knew he wanted to be a police officer from a young age and has stuck with that goal ever since.

Ironically, his older brother is currently pursuing that same career path, guiding his younger brother however he can, but Garrote feels that perhaps he inspired his older brother to become a police officer because it was initially his dream.

“It’s all about helping each other out,” Garrote said, speaking of his sibling, as well as community involvement. He believes more progress can be made by people volunteering, more broadly and efficiently, which can also help younger people learn responsibility.

A student at Bradford District High School, Garrote's favourite subject is Phys-Ed because of the physical components required.

While Garrote has just entered his teenage years, the future seems bright for this ambitious young man and his path to becoming a police officer.