Youth Volunteer Program
The Youth Volunteer Program provides youth ages 12 to 17 a long-term volunteer opportunity (at least four hours monthly for six months).
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.
In-shelter, short-term volunteer opportunities are not available for youth at OHS, but there are 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)
- Be 12 to 17 years old (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.
- Be willing to walk big, rambunctious dogs that pull on leash
- Have current medical insurance (no exceptions)
- Commit to giving four hours of service monthly for a period of six months or longer
- Be able to squat, twist, bend, lift and/or stand for long periods of time
- Be responsible, respectful, hard-working and self-directed (be able to see and do what needs to be done) with limited supervision
- Complete the online Youth Volunteer application (link will be active when we are able to accept applications)
- Attend an Information Night and Mentor Session (total of five hours)
- 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.
- Read your email and the OHS YV Tumblr blog regularly
What Youth Volunteers Do
- Dog walking (including dogs that are big, bouncy and pull on a leash)
- Feeding animals
- 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.)
- See our Youth Volunteer Handbook for more details.
Youth Volunteers DO NOT:
- Interact with the public
- Handle puppies or kittens
When Can I Volunteer?
The Youth Volunteer Program is currently full and we are not accepting applications. Please check back in mid-March to learn about available shifts and openings. This page will be updated as soon as training slots become available. We do not have a waiting list or keep applications on file. Training sessions are filled on a first come first served basis.
OHS provides flexible scheduling so that volunteer work can fit easily into the lifestyles of busy teens. We require Youth Volunteers to give four hours of service monthly (two shifts per month) for a period of six consecutive months or more, but they are welcome to give more hours as availability allows.
We do NOT assign Youth Volunteers specific shifts, instead youth select from available shifts as they work for their schedule. Volunteer shifts are generally available daily from 10 am-12 pm and 4-6 pm, however applicants are accepted based on their ability to volunteer during shifts where the shelter needs more help.
These are the volunteer shifts we generally offer youth:
- Mondays from 10 am-12 pm
- Mondays from 4 pm-6 pm
- Tuesdays from 10 am-12 pm
- Tuesdays from 4 pm-6 pm
- Wednesdays from 10 am-12 pm
- Wednesdays from 4 pm-6 pm
- Thursdays from 10 am-12 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
- Sundays from 4 pm-6 pm
We are currently not accepting applications for any of the above shifts.
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?
To become a Youth Volunteer, follow the steps below. Please note that the Youth Volunteer Program is filled on a first come-first served basis.
- Step 1: Review the requirements above carefully.
- Step 2: Submit an application online. The application link will be activated when shifts open (see “When can I volunteer?”). We do not keep applications on file or have a waiting list.
- Step 3: Your application will be reviewed by the Youth Volunteer Coordinator. If your application is accepted, you will receive an email that invites you to the next available Youth Volunteer Orientation (if your application is not accepted you will receive an email notification). The training consists of two parts:
- Informational Session: A three-hour session where you will learn about OHS, the program, rules and animal handling. Parents are encouraged to attend, but not required.
- Mentor Session: A two-hour session that goes over basic Youth Volunteer activities and is hands-on with the animals. This session is for youth only.
- Step 4: Schedule volunteer hours and have fun!
Contact InformationFor further questions, please contact the Youth and Community Group Volunteer Department at 503-416-5032 or by email.