Volunteer Program

Having begun as an all-volunteer organization in 1944, Animal Welfare League of Arlington distinguishes volunteers as crucial components in amplifying the efforts of the League’s professional staff. Community members across the DC Metro area contribute valuable resources – time, knowledge, talent, skills, and leadership – that further infuse AWLA with energy and passion in service of our organizational mission: to improve the lives of animals.

We are extremely lucky to have such a large group of talented volunteers. New volunteer recruitment is based upon the League’s needs, which means that not every person who applies to volunteer can be accepted.

Please understand that not being accepted into the volunteer program does not mean that we do not appreciate or want your support but rather that your current skills and/or availability are not a match for the shelter’s current needs. Some volunteer assignments are in need of new energy and talents while other assignments are at capacity with volunteers.

How do I become a volunteer at AWLA?

There are a few simple steps to complete before becoming a volunteer

Step 1: Sign up to be notified when the next volunteer information session has been scheduled. You must be at least 18 years old to volunteer on your own at AWLA.  If you are between the ages of 10-17, please have a parent/legal guardian complete this form.

NOTE: We will AWLAYS accept new FOSTER volunteers!  If you are interested in fostering, please contact Joanna McElfish, our Foster Coordinator at jmcelfish@awla.org or (703) 931-9241, ext 245.  The volunteer info session is not required for those ONLY interested in the foster assignment.   Find out more about the volunteer foster program.

We are also looking for PHOTOGRAPHY and GRAPHIC DESIGN volunteers! Find out more about becoming a volunteer photographer or graphic designer.

Current Volunteer Needs:

When a Volunteer Information Session has been scheduled, all prospective volunteers who have signed up via the online form (above) will be notified of our currently offered volunteer assignments and will be invited to register for the Volunteer Information Session if they are interested in a currently offered volunteer assignment.  Space is limited in the Volunteer Information Session and registration is required to attend.

Step 2: Sign up via the link(when notified) for the Volunteer Information Session (approximately 90 minutes)

When you have been notified that the volunteer information session sign up link is available, please sign up ONLY if  you are interested/available for the currently offered volunteer assignments that have been emailed to you.

Step 3: Fill out the volunteer application (the link for the application will be sent to you only after you have attended the volunteer info session).

 

Step 4: If you are selected to move forward in the application process, you will be given the dates and times to attend additional orientation/training for your volunteer assignment.

 

Step 5: Work with our staff and/or volunteer mentors to progressively add skills needed to volunteer in your assignment.

 

Step 6: Graduate from training and get set up to officially join the volunteer program so you can volunteer independently and schedule your regular times to volunteer!

 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Volunteer Program at AWLA:

 

What do volunteers do at the League?

Our volunteers are committed to the League’s mission of improving the lives of animals.  They work closely with the public, educating future pet owners and providing customer service.  They also help to match our available animals to adoptive families and make sure that our animals are happy during their stay with the League.

Some volunteers train to work with dogs, cats, or small companion animals while other volunteers may work more directly with the public or our staff.   Note: Almost every role that involves working with animals also involves working with the public.

There are many other volunteer assignments that may not have hands-on time with the animals but are still essential in supporting the League’s mission such as:

  • General office support (data entry, making copies, putting together adoption folders)
  • General shelter support (doing dishes, laundry, sorting donations)
  • Special events assistance (fundraisers, friend-raisers, community events, Yappy Hours, etc.)
  • Animal transport (transporting League animals to/from vet appointments, driving injured wildlife to rehabilitators)
  • Adoptions Counselors (review adoptions applications and give information to prospective pet owners)

How old do I have to be to volunteer?

Volunteers must be 18 years old to volunteer on their own.

Can Children Volunteer at AWLA?

Children between 10 to 18 years old may volunteer as a junior volunteers for certain assignments if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The parent/legal guardian must complete all volunteer training and requirements.  Parent/legal guardian and child must volunteer together and stay together, while in the shelter, at all times. All assignments that are appropriate for juniors will be listed as appropriate for juniors when we are recruiting for those assignments.

Since our volunteer program recruitment is needs based, not all volunteer assignments available will be appropriate for junior volunteers.  Please be aware that recruitment in areas allowing juniors is somewhat limited. 

The League also has a Paws and Read Program where children in grades K-5th can sign up with a parent or legal guardian up for 20-minute sessions to read to shelter cats. Click Here to Learn More about Paws and Read.

Can I volunteer to do my community service project for my school?

AWLA is not able to accept students for on-site community service hours and/or school projects. We may be able to provide ideas for community projects/service hours that you are able to complete off-site to meet your hours.  Please contact Jennifer Newman at jnewman@awla.org for a list of project ideas.

Can I volunteer to meet my court-ordered community service hours?

No, the League’s volunteer program does not accept volunteers into our program for these purposes. For court-ordered community services, please contact our Director of Animal Care and Vet Services, Ed Maher, at (703) 931-9241 ext. 215  or emaher@awla.org (may sometimes have projects and/or availability for court-ordered community services hours).

What is the time commitment to volunteer with the League?

We ask that you commit to at least 4 hours per month and 1 year of service.  Volunteers who fail to meet time requirements may be dismissed from the volunteer program.

What times are available for me to volunteer?

photoVolunteer shift availability will depend on which assignment you are matched to.  Many of the available hands-on volunteer opportunities with the animals are week-day and day-time opportunities.  Other opportunities, such as special events and animal transport often have evening and weekend availability.  Almost all volunteer assignments are scheduled in 2-hour shifts.

 

What are the physical, mental and emotional requirements of AWLA volunteers?

Please see our Essential Capabilities of AWLA Volunteers

I am signed up to be notified about the Volunteer Information Session!  What else can I do to help while I am waiting?

AWLA encourages and appreciates the promotion of  its services within the community. As a primary resource for animal information and adoptable pets, below are a few ways to offer your aid in service of our mission:

Promote our Free App: “Arlington Pets”

Available on iTunes and Google Play.

Promote us on Social Media:

Share League posts and tweets to spread the word about our organization’s work and mission.

Cash Donations:

Your cash donation allows AWLA  to provide what the animals and our community need most at that moment. You can donate online, send a check to the League, call in a credit card donation, or even stop by to drop off a cash donation.

Workplace Giving

For those who participate in workplace giving, our CFC designation number is 90065; our United Way designation number is 8804; and our Commonwealth of Virginia designation number is 712.

Personal Fundraising Pages

Create your own personal fundraising page to support the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. It’s simple, fast, and free! Collect donations for the League in memory of a beloved pet, for a personal occasion, or sporting event. Visit www.firstgiving.com and search for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington to get started.

In-Kind Donations

Donate much needed items from our in-kind wish list found here: www.awla.org/donate/