We love our Junior Volunteers

Working alongside our Humane Educator, Volunteer Coordinator and a mentor, youth learn procedures, policies and safety in working with and caring for animals throughout the 6-session JV program.

About the JV program

If you’re an animal lover between the ages of 12-17, we’d love for you to join our Junior Volunteers (JV) team!

Through this program, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about animal welfare, work with shelter animals and form new friendships with others your age. Each session consists of humane education activities, mentoring and training by humane education staff and volunteers, and hands-on volunteer time to give back to the homeless animals in our care.  Though this program is so much more than volunteering, registered youth who join our JV team will receive volunteer hours for their work, which can be used towards required community service hours. Once the six training classes are complete, JV’s can volunteer at the shelter independently on a variety of days and times.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Junior Volunteer Program

1. How old do youth have to be to participate in the program?

All youth need to be between the ages of 12-17. We require that youth are at least 12 years old prior to registration. Youth who about to turn 18 within 6 months of our program may wish to wait and attend our adult volunteer orientation.

2. Can I register ahead of time?

Registration is done online only and can only be done after the day and time that registration opens. Registration typically fills up quickly, so we recommend being on the website right when registration opens to secure a place in our program. Registration links will appear on this page.

3. When will your next class be held?

The program is offered throughout the year, monthly. Registration occurs 1-2 months prior to the start of class, and the dates/times are updated on our website accordingly. We typically know the dates for upcoming sessions about 90 days ahead of time.

4. Is there a fee for the program?

The fee for the 6-week program at HSHV (our main shelter) is $195 per student. The fee for the 4 session program at the Tiny Lions cat café is $125 per student. This fee includes the training classes, a T-shirt, continuing education classes and programs and educational materials and supplies. Limited scholarships are available for families who demonstrate financial need as we do not want finances to be a barrier for those who wish to complete the program.

5. Can I miss a class and still complete the program?

We require youth to attend all classes of their scheduled program. If they miss a class, students will need to make it up with the next group, which would mean waiting 2 months or more to complete the program. We do not offer individual make-up sessions at this time. If you are unable to attend all of the scheduled classes, we suggest waiting for the next session.

6. Besides the location, what’s the difference between the JV sessions at HSHV (main shelter) and those at the Tiny Lions cat café?

The JV program at Tiny Lions will prepare youth to volunteer exclusively at Tiny Lions; where the program at HSHV will prepare them to volunteer specifically at HSHV. HSHV’s class consists of six  – 2 hours sessions, twice a week; Tiny Lions’ is a 3-week one with three 90 minute sessions. The registration fee for HSHV is $195; Tiny Lions is $95. Both of them include training and educational opportunities, hands-on time with the animals (cats at Tiny Lions), a volunteer T-shirt, and access to our online resource library.

7. What happens after the program has been completed?

After JV’s successfully complete all training classes in their program, they will be able to come back to the shelter or to the Tiny Lions cat café (depending on which program they completed) to volunteer independently, without a parent/guardian present. JV’s will be able to volunteer as often as they like, based on our provided schedule of available volunteer times. Volunteer opportunities are available 7 days a week at the shelter, and 6 days a week at Tiny Lions, and are typically 2-hour shifts. Some JV volunteer assignments include cat comforting, dog visitation, shelter cleaning, humane education support (e.g., working as a camp counselor), and manning a table at offsite events. JV’s are asked to make a 4-6 hour per month commitment after completing the program.


Registration is done online only, so please do not call or come up to HSHV or the Tiny Lions cat café to register.  Registration will automatically open approximately 30 days prior to the start date of each session. We are no longer using a lottery system to register for this program.

All youth must be age 12 or older prior to registering. The fee for the program ($195 per participant for the program at HSHV; $95 at Tiny Lions) is due at the time of registration. This fee helps offset the costs of supplies and allows us to direct more money toward the care of our animals. If the fee is a financial strain, please do not worry; we still want you to join our team and scholarship opportunities are available.

Please read the consent form for information regarding allergies, details, etc. prior to registration.

Masks are not required at this time.

Youth are required to attend all classes of their scheduled program (6 for HSHV, 4 for Tiny Lions).  Program fees are non-refundable and cannot be transferred to other sessions should a conflict arise.

Returning Junior Volunteers: For everyone’s safety, Junior Volunteers who have gone inactive for 6+ months will be required to register for and take the JV six session training program. To register, go to the general registration page using the link below and click “Register for the Junior Volunteer Program.” Then, select “Returning Junior Volunteer” for a discounted registration rate. We’re sorry – we are unable to make any exceptions to this policy. Questions? Email volunteers@hshv.org.


When a session is full, you will be able to add your name to the waitlist. Please click on the registration button, select your desired session and enter your email address to be added to the waitlist. Waitlist spots are filled in the order they are received and notifications are sent via email. Each family will have 48 hours to respond to the email and/or register for the program. We’re sorry – we are not able to predict when openings will occur or how many there will be after registration has taken place.

Scholarship Information

Limited scholarships are available for students in financial need who would not otherwise be able to participate in the program. See our scholarship page for more information, deadlines and the application.

Volunteer @ HSHV (main shelter)

Upcoming Dates:

  • June Sessions
    • T/W/Th 4-6pm: June 11th, 12th, 13th, 18th, 19th, 20th
  • July Sessions
    • M/T/W 1-3pm: July 1, 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 9th, 10th
    • T/W/Th 1-3pm: July 16th, 17th, 18th, 23rd, 24th, 25th
  • August Sessions
    • T/W/Th 1-3pm: July 30th, 31st, August 1st, 6th, 7th, 8th
    • T/W/Th 1-3pm: August 13th, 14th, 15th, 20th, 21st, 22nd

Fall 2024 session information will be posted the week of July 15th, 2024. 

Questions? Email volunteers@hshv.org 

Registration opens:

  • June Sessions: May 13th @ 8am
  • July and August Sessions: June 10th @ 8am
  • Fall session information will be posted the week of July 15th, 2024

Please note that due to the popularity of the program, there are no refunds or transfers for sessions once registration is completed. 

Please know that the demand for this program outweighs our capacity. While we do our best to offer a space to each interested family, please know that you may need to wait a few months before being able to register. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Participants must be able to attend all dates of the selected class. Make-up dates are not available, and a missed class will prohibit completion of the program. We’re sorry, but all program fees are non-refundable and cannot be transferred to other class dates.

Volunteer @ Tiny Lions cat café  

*Please note that this program takes place at our Tiny Lions Lounge and Adoption Center at 5245 Jackson Road.

Our Junior Volunteer program at Tiny Lions includes animal welfare education and learning different volunteer roles at the cafe. Junior Volunteer opportunities include Cafe Cat Care (cleaning, helping with litter boxes, cat feeding, etc.) and assisting with humane education programs, such as our youth birthday parties. Upcoming training dates are below.

 In an effort to ensure all volunteers have great experience, we are currently accessing volunteer needs at the café for our Junior Volunteers.  At this time we do not have future dates for trainings offered, but check back in May for an update on potential course offerings. 

Registration can be found here: Tiny Lions JV Registration