` Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions | Cleveland Animal Protective League

Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get involved as a volunteer?
Since we employ a large team of volunteers at the Cleveland APL, we have a structured volunteer process to help make us more efficient and effective when involving our valuable volunteers to serve our mission.  Please see the Steps to Become a Cleveland APL Volunteer for further information.

How old do you have to be to become a volunteer?
Shelter in Tremont: To volunteer independently, you must be age 16 or older.  Volunteers 16-17 years old will need parental consent on their volunteer application.  Volunteers 9-15 years old may volunteer with an adult partner, typically a parent or guardian under our Pet Partners Program.

Everyday Adoption Center in Parma: To volunteer independently, you must be age 18 or older.  Volunteers 14-17 years old may volunteer with an adult partner, typically a parent or guardian under our Pet Partners Program. This is in accordance with PetSmart Charities guidelines for the center.

Can I get involved right now?
Volunteers are a valuable resource for the Cleveland APL, and we need a large volunteer team to best serve our mission.  A large volunteer team requires a structured process for involvement to be successful.  We strive to prepare our volunteers well for their assignments which takes time and planning.

Although you may be familiar with animals in a home setting, working with animals in a shelter environment is different.  There is a lot to know about our shelter and how to complete tasks properly for the health, safety and well-being of our animals, staff and our volunteers.  All of this cannot be accomplished on an immediate basis without a potential negative operational impact to our shelter and your own personal safety.

How and when are volunteer orientations scheduled?
We typically host 5 to7 orientations per year that are typically about 6 to 8 weeks apart depending our special event schedule and other factors.  Due to our special event schedule, which may change each year, and we cannot publish dates of orientation in advance.  After orientation, volunteers are interviewed and placed, provided with supervision, training and coaching.  We like to give these volunteers due time and attention just as we will do for you when you join on our team.

While we understand that you might like to get involved as quickly as possible, it is rather difficult to bring volunteers aboard individually or outside of our planned process.  The volunteer process is a team effort between the Volunteer Manager, supervisors and volunteer coaches – many of which whom have a variety of job duties to accomplish – in addition to on-boarding new volunteers.  Our volunteers are an invaluable resource whom are given due time and attention in joining our team, and we are more effective by utilizing our structured process of involvement.  Therefore, it is best to wait for the next scheduled orientation.

What if I can’t make a regular weekly commitment?
Please see Step 6 of the volunteer process for further information on commitment.

You might want to volunteer for special events or offsite adoptions, or work on an occasional special project. If you can’t give of your time but still want to help, you can:
•    Donate animal care items from our Wish List;
•    Make a monetary donation;
•    Attend one of our events;
•    Shop at our retail store or online;
•    Spay or neuter your pet; or
•    Adopt an animal from our shelter.

What hours are available for volunteer service?
Shelter in Tremont: Our volunteer hours are: Monday to Friday: 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteer shifts are specific to each assignment within our volunteer hours.

Everyday Adoption Center in Parma: Our volunteer hours are: Monday to Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Volunteer shifts are specific to each assignment within our volunteer hours.

What is the difference or benefits in volunteering at the Everyday Adoption Center in Parma?
While some of the volunteer opportunities at the Tremont and Parma locations may be similar, the Everyday Adoption Center is a satellite adoption center made possible by a collaborative effort with PetSmart Charities®.  A few things you might want to consider about volunteering at the EAC are:

•    The center has later volunteer hours than the shelter in Tremont, similar to a retail store, that include being open 7 days per week and holidays.
•    The animals at the center remain indoors during their temporary stay; therefore, all volunteer work is completed indoors.  There is no worry about the weather or outdoor allergies at the center.
•    The center is inside the PetSmart® store located at 6870 Ridge Road in Parma, which may be great location to if you live near or shop at the store.
•    The center can hold 22 dogs, 20 cats and 2 rabbits which is smaller than the shelter in Tremont.

Are there group volunteer opportunities available?
Yes, but they are for smaller groups of adult volunteers and may be limited depending upon our needs and timing of the request.  We do not offer youth group volunteer activities as we do not have a humane educator on staff.  Please keep in mind that group volunteer opportunities do not involve work with our animals or clients, and advance notice is required. Group volunteer opportunities are typically those assignments that are easy to train and that are able to be completed in a day or less.

Otherwise, collecting and donating items from our Wish List is a fun and rewarding way for a group to support the Cleveland APL in addition to participating in the phone bank for our annual WKYC Fur-Get-Me-Not Telethon and Dick Goddard’s APL Telethon on Fox 8.

Can I complete community service hours for school?
Yes, through off-site projects not on-site service. Community service hours for school or service learning is a valuable way for kids to “give back” to the community. Many local schools require students to perform volunteer work at a non-profit organization. Because of the large number of students in need of service hours, we are unable to accommodate them onsite. Students who need a short-term project to fulfill service hour requirements, can visit our list of offsite projects for ideas and further information. Please also know that shelter volunteers, including Pet Partners, must go through a regimented training process and make a regular, long-term commitment; therefore, we cannot accommodate students wishing to work in the shelter for student service projects.

Do you accept volunteers for court-ordered community service?
Yes, but we do not accept any individuals with offenses relating to convictions including, but not limited to, animal cruelty or neglect, theft, drugs, or violence.  To be considered, court-ordered community service volunteers do not need to attend a volunteer orientation at the Cleveland APL.

Placement for service begins with Court Community Service (CCS), a referral agency for this type of service.  For more information about CCS, visit their website by clicking on this link: http://www.ccservice.org/

Please contact CCS at 216.771.2222.  Please request to be placed at the Cleveland APL on Willey Avenue in Cleveland.  CCS helps to standardize reporting for all involved.

CCS volunteers placed at the Cleveland APL help to provide general cleaning support in easy to train assignments like laundry, dishes, mopping, and the like.  CCS volunteers do not interact with animals or clients.

I am already a Foster Care Volunteer at the Cleveland APL.  Do I need to follow the Steps to Become a Cleveland APL Volunteer?  
Yes.  Although you have already completed the process specific to the Foster Care Program, volunteering in the other opportunities is much different for caring for animals in your home.  We want to prepare you for success in volunteering with animals or clients at our shelter in Tremont, at our Everyday Adoption Center in Parma, at offsite and/or special events.  Our volunteer process allows us to do this well.