Ever since she was a little girl, Kelly wanted to work with animals as a lifelong career. Growing up, she spent summers at horse camps, helped with a family friend’s dog breeding business, and during college she spent weekends working at an animal shelter as a kennel technician and adoption liaison. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2006, and immediately went to intern at a marine mammal facility in the Florida panhandle, gaining experience with her dream animals, including dolphins, sea lions, penguins, and more. In 2009, Kelly left her life in New Jersey and moved to Florida to pursue a career in the animal training business. It was then that she met Christin and began volunteering at CARE.
Kelly spent the next decade training animals for Universal Studios theme park entertainment and for film production. She hosted live animal shows on stage for park guests, as well as travelled to film production sets with animals for movies like Alvin and the Chipmunks, Hallmark Christmas films, and Publix pet commercials. Her favorite part of the job was coming up with creative training plans to teach and maintain behaviors for show and production animals in her care.
During this time, Kelly continued her volunteer work with The CARE Foundation, growing increasingly more involved as the years went by. It was volunteering here that she fell in love with big cats and the idea of working in the animal rescue and education field. While training animals is a skill she is very proud of, Kelly found working with Christin and the animals at CARE to be much more fulfilling.
Kelly is now the Assistant Director at CARE, and this is her full-time job. She helps to run the volunteer program, teaching the volunteer staff about proper care, nutrition, enrichment, and training. She also leads private and group tours, providing educational and fun information about the sanctuary animals and those in the wild to tour guests. She continues to use her training skills every day, not only for husbandry behaviors and enrichment for the animals, but also when faced with the challenges of working with rescue animals that may have been mistreated or neglected. Her goal is to give the animals at CARE a happy, enriched, and satisfied life. Her hope is to pass on her knowledge and passion to those around her in efforts to educate people about endangered wildlife and the reality of the exotic animal trade.
Currently, our volunteer roster is: FULL
We are so fortunate to have a number of volunteer requests each month. Due to the nature of our operation and the safety issues involved in working around our animals, we have a limited number of volunteers that we can manage at any one time. Our volunteers go through a several-month training process, and their level of responsibility is based on seniority and evaluations from our senior staff. Because of the time necessary to get someone up to speed, we are not currently looking for volunteers.
That being said, we are interested in hearing from people with special skills like construction, plumbing, and electrical work. We are often in need of these skills for our building and improvement projects. If you have these skills, please call 407-247-8948 to talk to our founder Christin about volunteering.
Thank you for your interest! We love our volunteers!