Volunteer @ HSHV (main shelter)

  • Registration for the December JV sessions will open on Wednesday, November 11th at noon. The links will appear on this page when registration opens. Questions? Email volunteers@hshv.org

December M/W Classes 4-6 pm 

November 30th, December 2nd, 7th, 9th, 14th, 16th

 December T/Th Classes 4-6 pm  
December 1st, 3rd, 8th, 10th, 15th, 17th

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  

Our Junior Volunteer program at Tiny Lions will resume in 2021! Stay tuned for dates, times and registration information. Please contact volunteers@hshv.org with any questions. Thank you!

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

Are you an animal lover between the ages of 12-17? We’d love for you to join our Junior Volunteers (JV) team!

Through this program, youth will have the opportunity to learn more about animal welfare, work with shelter animals and form new friendships with others their 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 $185 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 4-week one with four 1.5-hour sessions. The registration fee for HSHV is $185; Tiny Lions is $125. 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. The links to register will appear on this page, and you may need to refresh your page at the time registration opens to see them.  Spots do fill up very quickly—sometimes within 10 minutes of registration opening.

All youth must be age 12 or older prior to registering. The fee for the program ($185 per participant for the program at HSHV; $125 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.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, class sizes will be limited to 8 JV’s per class. Our sessions will be held in the largest space possible to allow for social distancing. All JV’s will be required to wear a facial covering throughout the program and will complete a Covid-19 screening upon arrival, which includes a temperature check.

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.


When a session is full, you can add your name to our wait list. Wait lists are not carried over to different registration periods. You can find our waitlist here.

Scholarship Information

Limited scholarships are available for students in financial need who would not otherwise be able to participate in the program. Applications can be submitted via email to volunteers@hshv.org, dropped off in person, or mailed to ATTN: Humane Education, HSHV, 3100 Cherry Hill, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.  Our November scholarship application is available here and is due by Friday, November 6th, at 4pm. ,