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Animal Welfare Association of New Jersey

Volunteer at AWA

Thank you for your interest in volunteering for Animal Welfare Association! We are proud to have the support of so many wonderful volunteers. These dedicated people put their concern for animal welfare into action by donating their time, talents and energy.

Our volunteers help in three main program areas of the organization. Volunteers assist on-site in our pet shelter and clinic, within our community through outreach programs and special events, and by becoming a foster parent.

General Volunteer Information

After submitting a Volunteer application, AWA will contact you within two weeks with an orientation date and time. Following a response from AWA, volunteers are required to attend an orientation before service can begin.

Volunteers under the age of 18

Applicants age 16 or 17 years old may volunteer independently with written consent from a parent. Applicant may complete the standard volunteer application and will be contacted within two weeks to schedule orientation. At orientation, applicants will be given a release form that must be signed by a parent or legal guardian.

If you are interested in learning information about HIGH SCHOOL SERVICE WEEK, please click here.

Junior Volunteers (Ages 12 to 15)

Did you know that children ages 12 to 15 are permitted to volunteer at AWA with a parent or legal guardian? A volunteer application must be submitted for BOTH the parent and the child, and they will both need to complete orientation. After orientation, the parent must be with the child at ALL TIMES while volunteering at AWA. AWA holds a Junior Volunteer club twice a month where junior volunteers can come in without their parents to complete service hours by creating enrichment for our homeless pets.

For more information, visit AWA Volunteer FAQs.

Volunteer Opportunities

Community Outreach: Volunteers assist both prepping and executing our community events, including:

  • Fairs and festivals
  • Pet therapy
  • Tabling and small events
  • Third party fundraising

On-site Opportunities: Volunteers assist in both animal handling and clerical roles. To ensure that the volunteer experience is a safe and enjoyable experience for all, our program has different training levels. Some tasks include:

  • Helping in our Laundry Room
  • Answering Phones
  • Making Enrichment Toys
  • Sorting Donations
  • Walking our Dogs
  • Cuddling with our Cats
  • Nurturing our Bunnies

Large Special Events: These events are often planned on weekends. Volunteers will assist in various aspects of AWA’s large events, including:

  • Paws and Feet
  • Bark in the Park Dog Socials
  • AWA’s Online Auction
  • 50/50 Raffle

*Any student wishing to fulfill a time requirement solely for service hours or an honor society should not apply to be a volunteer. Please submit a “High School Service Week” application instead.

*Court ordered community service volunteers are not tracked through our general volunteer program so all inquiries should be directed to our Shelter Manager at nancik@awanj.org

How to get started?

APPLY

 Please note we do not offer paper applications.

Please note: All volunteers who have been inactive for more than 1 year must complete a new application and attend a Volunteer Orientation in order to resume volunteering.

Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering

Below are the most commonly asked questions regarding the Volunteer Program at AWA. If you have questions that are not listed below, please contact volunteers@awanj.org 

How do I become an AWA Volunteer?

Simply complete a volunteer application! For children 12 to 15 years of age, an application must be submitted for both the child and parent/legal guardian. If you are 16 or 17, you may complete and submit an application, and you will need to provide written parental consent.

After you submit your application, our volunteer coordinator will be in contact with you within two weeks to schedule orientation.

 

How do I sign up for orientation?

Following your application submission, our volunteer coordinator will be in touch with you within two weeks. They will provide you with the necessary information about attending our volunteer orientation.

 

What training is involved before I can start to volunteer?

After our volunteer coordinator receives your application, you will be invited to attend an orientation. Orientations are held two to three times per month from 6 to 7pm in the Pet Clinic. When you are contacted, you will receive more information about specific dates.

Following orientation, you will need to complete Level 1 training. Level 1 volunteers do not handle animals. During this time, you will learn about AWA’s procedures and facility needs. You may then continue training depending on what volunteer work you would like to do.

 

Is there specific training for what I want to do?

Following orientation and Level 1 training, you may attend a training class for animal handling (either dogs, cats or bunnies). Once you have completed this training, you can continue you’re ready to offer companionship through play and petting.

Volunteers can attend training classes to learn advanced dog and cat handling techniques. Following completion of this program, you will help mentor other volunteers on dog and/or cat handling.

More information about training will be covered in your volunteer handbook.

 

What volunteer opportunities are there at AWA?

There is truly something for everyone who wants to volunteer at AWA! Volunteers are always needed for our education, outreach and events, as well as administrative help. There are also opportunities caring for our animals and becoming involved in our foster program.

 

How often do I need to volunteer?

You may choose to volunteer as little or as often as you’d like. If you do not volunteer within 90 days of orientation or you are inactive for 1 year, you will no longer be in our volunteer database. If this happens, you will have to re-submit the application, attend orientation and begin training.

 

What if I only want to do specific volunteer work? (ex. only dogs, etc.)

Depending on what volunteer work you would like to be involved in, you will need to complete different levels of training. AWA asks all volunteers to help in different areas when help is needed.

 

What age can children volunteer? 

AWA is proud to allow children as young as 12 to volunteer, but children ages 12 to 15 must volunteer WITH A PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN. Ages 16 and 17 may volunteer with written parental consent.

 

Are there restrictions on what children can do?

Yes. For the safety of our volunteers, staff and animals, there are some restrictions. For example, junior volunteers (12 to 15) will not be allowed to walk dogs – a parent or legal guardian will have to hold the leash. More rules will be covered in the volunteer handbook.

 

How does my child volunteer for High School Service Week?

All information about High School Service Week can be found here. If you need further information, please contact outreach@awanj.org