Junior Volunteer Days at the League

At the Dumb Friends League, we often talk about how we could not do what we do without the work of our more than 1,400 volunteers. We also believe that kids learn responsibility, leadership and compassion through volunteerism and recognize that it’s not always easy to find opportunities to serve when you’re young. Enter the Dumb Friends League Junior Volunteer Days (JVD).

Children under the age of 16, cannot officially volunteer at the League, but they can enroll in the JVD at both the Quebec Street Shelter and the Buddy Center. This one-time program introduces future animal advocates ages 12 – 15 to the benefits of volunteering in a shelter and teaches them the importance of treating animals humanely. Students learn about relevant animal welfare topics and how to be champions for those who cannot speak for themselves.

JVD participants meet at the Quebec Street Shelter or the Buddy Center every other month during the school year and once a month during the summer for two hours on a schedule Saturday morning. One of the League’s community educators leads the program and divides a maximum of eight participants per session into small groups before they are paired with adult volunteers and learn about and work in different areas of the shelter, including kennel cleaning for dogs, cats and small mammals, kitty comfort and playtime socializing. JVD participants rotate areas to experience all aspects of the program.

The JVD program is a hands-on approach to educating kids about animal care in the shelter. Kids participate in DFL 101 lesson, which helps groups understand how the League fits into animal welfare, as well as why animals end up in shelters, how we help them find new homes and how people can help homeless pets and horses in our care. JVD participants al receive a tour of the shelter and work on a service project.

“The JVD program is a fantastic introduction for kids who either want to volunteer at a shelter or for those who are interested in working with animals as a future career,” said Community Educator Lauren Pipis. “The program provides some real, hands-on experience working with the animals in our care and gives kids an opportunity to understand what’s really involved when it comes to volunteering at the League. We love to see them learn throughout the program not only about the animals but also about how they can make a difference in the world!”

JVD members can also participate in the more comprehensive Junior Volunteer Club (JVC) program, which is a five-month club that meets once a month for two hours. For budding animal enthusiasts ages 8 – 11, they can participate in the League’s two-hour Pawsitive Service Days.

The JVD program can spark excitement and create a passion for helping animals and contributing to our communities. The lessons learned through the program stay with JVD members and cultivate a spirit of altruism that extends beyond the shelter. To learn more about the JVD, JVC and Pawsitive Service days, visit ddfl.org/youth-volunteering.