Convention-goers can reciprocate Southern hospitality

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This year's AVMA Annual Convention will offer more opportunities for convention-goers to explore the local community. Attendees, their families, and the public can volunteer, get some exercise, or enjoy an Atlanta landmark through the AVMA and American Veterinary Medical Foundation "Convention to Community" events.

"Convention to Community" serves as the umbrella initiative for three events that promote the missions of both organizations. 

Volunteers work on a beautification project at a Seattle animal shelter during the second AVMF "Our Oath in Action" Voluntourism Project, in 2009.

The third annual AVMF "Our Oath in Action" Voluntourism Project will once again have volunteers work on animal shelter rehabilitation projects. A variety of tasks will be available to meet each volunteer's particular shelter interests. By mid-April, more than 50 people had signed up, with plenty of spots still available. This one-day event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 31.

On Sunday, Aug. 1, the 5K walk/run will kick off at 7:30 a.m. The course will take participants through historic Olympic Centennial Park, and the event will include a warm-up and brief awards program. Prizes will go to the top three finishers in four age groups for men and women. Proceeds from the event will be shared among Atlanta animal shelters yet to be named and the AVMF's animal rescue programs.

On Sunday evening the Foundation, in conjunction with the Auxiliary to the AVMA, will host its regular fundraising event, at the renowned Georgia Aquarium. The aquarium is home to more than 100,000 aquatic animals of 500 species, including beluga whales, penguins, and whale sharks. This private event will begin at 7 p.m. with hors d'oeuvres and beverages, and the chance to explore the world's largest aquarium. Tickets are $50 each, and proceeds will support AVMF programs and activities.

Anyone interested in the voluntourism project, 5K walk/run, or aquarium event can register via AVMA convention registration at

In addition, the Foundation will host estate planning workshops for the second year. In 2009 more than 400 individuals attended sessions presented by financial and legal professionals. The initial workshop is geared for those beginning to create an estate plan and will be held Saturday and Monday. Sessions for those who attended previous workshops will be held Sunday and Tuesday. All sessions will take place from noon to 12:50 p.m. Preregistration for the estate planning workshops is not required.

More information on these events is available in the AVMA Convention Preview or by contacting Cindy Rutkowski (voluntourism project), Jodie Taggett (5K event), Lora Vitek (fundraising event), or Michael Cathey (estate planning workshops).