Helping our pets, our staff and our community, volunteers are an essential part of the caregiving work that we do at the ARL. Through generous contributions of their time and talent, our volunteers allow our pets to receive daily exercise and enrichment, assist our staff with their daily duties, and act as ambassadors for the organization throughout our community at events and fundraisers. So much of what we do would not be possible without the heart and commitment of our volunteer team!
Whether you have an hour or two on a weekend to give, or a few hours each day, we welcome you! Below are some of the most common questions we’re asked by people who are considering becoming a volunteer. Our volunteers also learn more about this important role by first going through an orientation program where they can learn more about our program and ask questions directly to our volunteer coordinator.
How old must I be to volunteer?
To handle animals directly, we require volunteers to be at least 18 years old. However, young adults and children are also welcome to volunteer, too! We offer a community service program for young adults where they can assist the shelter staff with daily duties (cleaning, laundry, dishes, administrative tasks, yard work, maintenance, etc.), as well as our popular Book Buddies program for children where they read to cats and kittens in the shelter to provide them with daily companionship. Please know that some volunteer opportunities for minors may require a parent to accompany them throughout their time at the shelter.
If I am looking to complete a certain number of community service hours for school or work, do I need to go through a volunteer orientation?
To get you up and running as quickly as possible, we offer a 30-45 minute community service orientation and training session on the second Saturday of each month at 2PM. Because volunteers in our community service program are typically under 18 years old, these opportunities involve helping our staff with cleaning, laundry, administrative tasks, yard work and maintenance and do not involve direct animal care. Participants will be able to begin their service hours after they have completed the orientation and training session. Please remember that we require all volunteers under 16 years of age to be accompanied by a parent at all times while at the shelter, and all volunteers under 18 years of age will need to provide a waiver signed by a parent, which can be picked up at the orientation and training session. Service hours are available 9AM–5PM every day. To register for a community service orientation, please view our events calendar, or to learn more about these opportunities, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org at least 2 months prior to your community service deadline.
I have to complete court-ordered community service. Is that a different program than the volunteer program?
Yes it is; however, our court-ordered community service program is currently closed to new applicants. We will resume taking new applicants at a later time.
What are the steps to become a volunteer?
1. Attend a volunteer orientation. Volunteer orientations are approximately 90 minutes and include a presentation, questions and a tour. Orientations are held at least once a month; to view and register for an orientation, please visit our events calendar.
2. Submit an application. You can complete our application online by clicking here, or you will be given the application at the orientation session and can turn it that day or anytime afterwards. We will keep applications on file for 3 months following your orientation session.
3. Attend training. Each volunteer will receive hands-on training in the department where he or she would like to volunteer.
4. Begin volunteering! All volunteers will receive access to VOLGISTICS, our software that highlights volunteer opportunities and needs.
Do volunteers mostly cuddle with the cats and walk dogs?
While we do offer plenty of opportunities for people to walk dogs and socialize cats, volunteers are needed for so much more! Please take a look at our volunteer opportunities listed here to learn more about all of the different ways your time and talent can help at the ARL! If you’d like to learn more about one of these opportunities, please click on the description below:
How many hours a week do you require to volunteer at the ARL?
We’re grateful for your help whenever we can have it! While it’s always nice for our volunteers to have a somewhat predictable schedule so our staff knows when to expect them, we completely understand that not everyone can make that commitment.
Once you have attended a volunteer orientation and receive your log-in credentials, please click on the button below to access our Volunteer Portal