Basics to Keep in Mind Before Volunteering at an Animal Shelter

Scholar Maral Cavner engages in a variety of hobbies and interests outside of her academic endeavors. In addition to enjoying outdoor activities and traveling, Maral Cavner fosters a strong love of animals and has a particular affinity for dogs. This love resulted in her position as a founding executive board member of the Route 66 No-Kill Animal Shelter in Missouri.


Each year, individuals lend a hand to animals in need by volunteering at local animal shelters. Although this type of volunteer activity is quite rewarding, individuals should consider several factors before choosing to volunteer for local animal shelters.


1. Review time and training requirements. Some shelters require commitments of specific numbers of hours each week or month to remain as a volunteer. They may also require training classes. You should review these requirements before making a commitment.

2. Familiarize yourself with the environment. This might include learning which types of animals are on-site as well as the location of equipment necessary to perform job tasks. Some shelters have outdoor areas, as well. Asking for a tour is helpful.

3. Ensure comfort. If you have an aversion or allergy to a specific type of animal, it is important to alert a supervisor to ensure you avoid feeling sick or uncomfortable. In addition, you should determine whether the shelter is no-kill to ensure you are comfortable with the functions of the environment.


Basic Tips for the Beginning Horseback Rider

Missouri native Maral Cavner participated in a variety of activities while completing her undergraduate and graduate education. This includes serving as an intern for the International Campaign for Tibet in both Washington, D.C., and Dharamshala, India. Outside of her professional pursuits, Maral Cavner enjoys a variety of athletic pursuits, including horseback riding, which she participated in for 10 years.

Maral Cavner horseback riding
Maral Cavner horseback riding

Horseback riding is a favorite pastime for many individuals for a variety of reasons, including spending time with animals, enjoying nature, and getting a workout. Individuals interested in horseback riding for the first time should keep some tips in mind.

1. If you have never ridden on horseback before, it is beneficial to take lessons at a reputable stable or ranch. Classes pair you with an experienced instructor who can help you adjust to the horse and teach you about the equipment you need.

2. Participating in horse grooming is a good way to familiarize yourself with your horse in a relaxing atmosphere for you and the animal. In addition, grooming allows you to examine the horse for any injuries before you ride. Consider volunteering at a stable.

3. Staying aware of your surroundings is crucial. Ensure you ride away from low branches, steep drop-offs, and fences in case of a fall. You should also never stand directly in front or in back of your horse.

Suzanne Collins Talks War and Children’s Literature

Maral Cavner has worked as an intern in the Missouri Attorney General’s office as well as for the International Campaign for Tibet. While a student in the Atlanta area, Maral Cavner had the opportunity to act in the Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, alongside Jennifer Lawrence and Woody Harrelson.

In anticipation of the release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, author Suzanne Collins recently sat down with TIME Magazine to discuss both the difficulties and importance of writing war-driven novels for a young adult and adolescent audience. Collins discussed her intention of writing stories that deal with war for readers of every age, beginning with The Underland Chronicles and ending with the recent children’s book Year of the Jungle. Among the complexities Collins tried to expound upon with The Hunger Games, specifically Catching Fire, is the idea of a necessary war. In the Hunger Games universe, the majority of the population is oppressed and brutalized for the benefit and entertainment of a minority upper class, and Collins noted that this situation sets the stage for a necessary war.

The Omicron Delta Kappa National Day of Service

A 2013 graduate of Atlanta’s Emory University, Maral Cavner graduated with highest honors, earning a bachelor of arts in sociology. As an undergraduate, she functioned as a student ambassador for the university and as a senior mentor in the Department of Sociology. Maral Cavner also maintained membership in several campus organizations including the Alpha Kappa Delta International Honors Society and Omicron Delta Kappa.

A nationwide initiative among Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) chapters around the country, the National Day of Service addresses specific needs within college campuses and the local community. ODK suggests several ways in which to provide service, including organizing teams to participate in projects or events for Habitat for Humanity or the American Cancer Society, volunteering at a local soup kitchen, or helping to clean up a local park or neighborhood.



Established in 1914, ODK is a national leadership honor society that fosters exceptional leadership and versatility in college. As the first society to honor and recognize service and leadership, ODK applauds achievement in academics, athletics, community service, the creative and performing arts, and journalism and mass media.

The Arts Alliance at the Atlanta International School

Maral Cavner graduated from Emory University in 2013 with highest honors, earning a bachelor of arts in sociology. An involved leader on campus and in the community, she has served as a tutor and mentor to younger students on many occasions. While at Emory, Maral Cavner volunteered as a tutor at the Atlanta International School.

The Atlanta International School (AIS) was created with the mission of helping extraordinary young people develop into successful citizens capable of meeting the opportunities and challenges of a fast-changing world. In its work to achieve this, AIS sustains a high standard of learning and teaching that has earned it a worldwide reputation as a leader in education. The school has a wide range of programs focused on the arts, and in 2007, it created the Arts Alliance to assist the theatre, music, and visual arts departments with their events.

The Arts Alliance serves as a platform for parents, students, and teachers to help the school’s arts departments reach their goals throughout the year and over the long term. Through the Arts Alliance, volunteers are able to participate in music performance, theatre productions, and art exhibits. Individuals who are a part of the alliance perform a variety of supportive tasks from hanging student artwork in a gallery to providing refreshments at performances. The work of these volunteers allows student performances and exhibitions to reach a scope beyond what would normally be possible.

Care to Learn Notes Alarming Rise In Childhood Poverty

Young schoolchildren by Maral Cavner
Young schoolchildren by Maral Cavner

Maral Cavner is a volunteer with the Care to Learn program. She observed Care to Learn founder Doug Pitt while providing assistance in speech writing and presentation. Maral Cavner also monitored various schools that utilized the services provided by Care to Learn. Care to Learn is an organization dedicated to eliminating hunger while improving the hygiene and overall well-being of young children in need.

Schoolchildren by Maral Cavner
Schoolchildren by Maral Cavner

Care to Learn founder Doug Pitt recently celebrated a number of milestones for the organization, including a new chapter located 250 miles from the original program. Still, Pitt has been alarmed by the lack of basic care many students are receiving. He acknowledged a consistent rise in the Springfield school district’s reduced-lunch program, which was taken advantage of by 39.3% of students in 2003-2004. This past year, the number had risen to more than 54%, with a staggering 61% of students at the elementary level eligible for the program. Despite $1 million in donated resources, Care to Learn is far from finished with accomplishing its mission and continues to seek contributions to provide care to students in need.

Children in school by Maral Cavner
Children in school by Maral Cavner

Maral Cavner – Key Ingredients in Middle Eastern Cuisine

An enthusiastic member of both her school and local community, Maral Cavner recently graduated with a B.A. in sociology from Atlanta’s Emory University. In addition to being named to the dean’s list for four consecutive years, Maral Cavner volunteered for several community organizations, including Emory Reads and PAWSitive Outreach. In her spare time, Ms. Cavner enjoys traveling and sampling the cuisine of different regions, citing Middle Eastern as her favorite.

Many Middle Eastern foods contain the following ingredients.

Bulgur wheat – Bulgur wheat is popularly used in dishes such as tabbouleh and kibbeh, a dish comprised of lamb or beef seasoned with spices and cooked with bulgur wheat. In contrast to cracked wheat, bulgur wheat is parbroiled, or pre-cooked, prior to being dried, which gives the cooked wheat just the right consistency.

Freekeh – Rich in fiber and protein, freekeh is a popular wheat product that is used in pilaf, salads, and soups. As the wheat is roasted, it retains much of its nutritional value and taste.

Zaatar – Used in many Middle Eastern dishes, zaatar is comprised of several different spices, including dried oregano, marjoram, salt, sesame seeds, sumac, and thyme. Zaatar is most often found in flat bread and salads, although it can also be applied to chicken or meat to enhance the flavor.