Youth Volunteer Program
The Youth Volunteer Program provides youth ages 12 to 17 a long-term volunteer opportunity. Youth in our program are required to make a six-month commitment and volunteer every other week during a specific shift.
Please note that we do not offer summer only volunteer opportunities.
While in the shelter, Youth Volunteers participate in basic animal care and other shelter activities while under the supervision of the Youth and Community Group Volunteer Coordinator.
If you cannot make a long-term volunteer commitment and are interested in a one-time, two-hour, animal socialization visit at the shelter, please email the Youth Volunteer Coordinator. There are also opportunities to help animals from home.
Requirements to Become a Youth Volunteer
- Have an interest in socializing and caring for shelter animals (dogs, cats, rodents)
- Must be 12 to 17 years old (no exceptions)
- Have current medical insurance (no exceptions)
- Purchase volunteer supplies totaling $41.75 (details here). However, if you are financially unable to cover the cost, please let us know and we can find a way to help
- Commit to volunteering for at least six months, come to a regularly scheduled shift every other week, and be absent from this shift no more than three times during each six month period of service
- Be willing to spend a great deal of time (sometimes the entire two-hour shift) walking dogs. One of our goals is to walk all the shelter dogs during a shift. You should expect to walk active dogs that pull hard on leash much of the time
- Be able to squat, twist, bend, lift and/or stand for long periods of time
- Be able to tolerate frequent loud, chaotic, and crowded environments
- Be able to comprehend and follow instructions
- Be able to adhere to shelter policies, procedures and protocol, and be able to think and act quickly to ensure volunteer, animal and public safety
- Be responsible, respectful, hard-working and self-directed (be able to see and do what needs to be done) with limited supervisions
- Be willing to work as a part of a cohesive team of Youth Volunteers
- Read your email and the OHS YV Tumblr blog regularly.
- Complete the online Youth Volunteer application (below link will be active during application period)
- Attend a three-hour orientation
What Youth Volunteers Do
- Dog walking (including dogs that are big, bouncy and pull on a leash)
- Socializing animals (petting them and spending time with them)
- Bathing and grooming animals
- Basic training (sit, down, off, etc.)
- Cleaning animal areas (including scooping poop and cleaning litter boxes)
- Helping with other shelter cleaning (washing windows, walls, dishes, etc.)
- Developing and organizing projects that help the shelter
- Helping with a variety of other shelter jobs as they arise
- See our Youth Volunteer Handbook for more details.
Youth Volunteers DO NOT:
- Interact with the public
- Handle puppies or kittens
When Can I Volunteer?
OHS requires Youth Volunteers to commit to volunteering for at least six consecutive months. Once in our program, volunteers may continue volunteering until they turn 18 as long as they meet our service requirements.
Upon admittence, volunteers are assigned one regularly scheduled, two hour shift, that they must attend every other week. Volunteers are assigned shifts based on the information they provide on their application. Volunteers are allotted three absences/misses per six month period of service and should plan ahead to ensure they can attend the shifts for which they apply.
Depending on availability, youth will have the option to apply for open spots during the below shift times. Open shifts/spots will be posted below during the application period only. There are ten spots in each shift. Once those spots are filled, the shift is considered full and we will not accept applicants for those shifts until a volunteer leaves the program.
Below are the shifts that OHS offers Youth Volunteers. Open shifts are posted here during the application period.
- Mondays from 4 pm-6 pm
- Tuesdays from 10 am-12 pm
- Tuesdays from 4 pm-6 pm
- Wednesdays from 4 pm-6 pm
- Thursdays from 4 pm-6 pm
- Fridays from 10 am-12 pm
- Fridays from 4 pm-6 pm
- Saturdays from 10 am-12 pm
- Saturdays from 4 pm-6 pm
- Sundays from 10 am-12 pm
What are the benefits of being a Youth Volunteer?
- Gaining an insider’s view on how an animal shelter operates
- Learning valuable animal handling skills
- Developing friendships with other youth interested in animals
- Gaining great work experience that can fulfill school community service hours
- Developing leadership skills
How do I apply to become a Youth Volunteer?
The Youth Volunteer Program is not currently accepting applications. The application period for December will begin on Thursday, December. 4 at 11:00 am and will end Saturday, Dec. 6 at 3:30 pm. Please check back then to learn about open shifts and apply to become a volunteer. The application link below will be activated during that time. Applicants submitting an application during this application period will be selected by lottery, and if accepted, must be able to attend the Saturday, Jan. 3 orientation. Please be sure you can attend orientation that day before applying. Selected applicants will begin volunteering after orientation on their start date in their assigned shift.
To become a Youth Volunteer, follow the steps below.
- Step 1: Review the requirements above carefully.
- Step 2:
Submit an application online during the application period. The link to the application will be activated here during the application period.
- Step 3: Your application will be reviewed by the Youth Volunteer Coordinators. If your application is accepted (it is thoughtful, complete and you are applying for an open volunteer shift as shown in "When Can I Volunteer"), your name will be entered into a randomized lottery drawing for the shifts in which you apply. You will be notified by email one week after the close of the application period if you have been selected to be a Youth Volunteer and will receive an invitation to attend orientation with instructions. If you are not selected, you will be notified by email as well. If you are not selected and are still interested in volunteering at OHS, you will be required to reapply during the next application period. We do not keep applications on file or have a waiting list.
- Step 4: Attend the three-hour Youth Volunteer Orientation to learn about OHS, the program, and animal handling. Parents are encouraged to attend, but not required. You must attend the orientation directly following the application period (see above section in orange for orientation date). If you cannot, you will be asked to reapply during the next application period.
- Step 5: Start attending your regular volunteer shifts on your assigned start date, come every other week for at least six months, and have fun!
Contact InformationFor further questions, please contact the Youth and Community Group Volunteer Department at 503-416-5032 or by email.