Young at Heart is a volunteer-based organization, and our big-hearted volunteers are people just like you with a love of older pets and some time to spare. We need volunteers to help us run special events, transport pets, help with fundraisers, adoption events and more! If you have a love of animals and are willing to roll up your sleeves, dig in and help out, read on!

All volunteers are required to attend a one hour volunteer orientation session, held on a monthly basis, and must pass a criminal background check in order to begin volunteering.

If you’re in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, you can make a tremendous contribution to Young at Heart’s wonderful work by volunteering your time and your talent. Please check out some of our ongoing volunteer opportunities below and contact us about volunteering to get started! 

Children: Junior Volunteers age 10 or older are welcome to volunteer at Young at Heart with a parent. We are currently inviting parents with children interested in volunteering to attend our volunteer orientation session with their child in preparation of a new Junior Volunteer program. Junior volunteers do not undergo a background check, but it is required of each parent/guardian that would like to volunteer along side their child.

Community Service: For liability reasons, we cannot accept court-appointed community service hour volunteers. We can only accept organizational and educational community service hours at this time. 

General Volunteer Info

Our volunteer opportunities vary throughout the year. Currently, hands-on animal care volunteer opportunities are available at our two in-store cat adoption centers. Once our adoption center is open, there will be additional opportunities to work with the animals. Other opportunities are shared with volunteers via email, and as an approved volunteer, you may pick and choose the opportunities that suit your schedule and preferences. It takes a village to save and care for senior pets, and if everyone gives a little time, we can make a big difference!

Volunteer Opportunities


Our foster homes are the heart of our organization, where senior pets get the love and comfort of being in a home while waiting for adoption. All of our senior animals are rescued from shelters where they have as few as 3 days to get out or they will be euthanized. Foster homes, whether long term or short term, help us rescue these senior pets from a very sad fate. Without them, we would not be able to rescue the senior pets that we do. The more foster homes we have, the more lives we can save!

Learn more about becoming a Young at Heart foster parent here.

If you are interested in pursuing this opportunity, please a complete a foster application, so we can match a foster pet to you, your home and lifestyle. 

Outreach / Adoption Events

Young at Heart holds many adoption events throughout the Chicago suburbs where we bring our available dogs to meet the public. We need volunteers who enjoy working with people and are enthusiastic about promoting animal adoption to help set up, talk to the public about our organization, care for the dogs during the event, and promote adoptions.

Cat Adoption Center

We have two small cat adoption centers located in the NW Suburbs of Chicago. One is at Best Friends Pet Care in Prairie View, and the other is within Petco in Lake Zurich. We are in need of volunteers to help clean the litter boxes, the floors, the windows, the cages, and play and socialize with the cats. Ideally, we are looking for people who can go once a week on a fairly regular basis, but are open to all schedules. Adoption centers require regular cleaning to look their best and to keep the environment as healthy as possible for our cats. Grooming of the cats, including cleaning ears and clipping nails and overall health checks, is another opportunity for those with ample cat-knowledge

Pet Taxi Team

Members of this team will be on call to transport our dogs & cats to and from adoption events, vet appointments, shelters, and foster homes. We are also always in need of Pet Taxi Team members willing to run supplies to foster homes.

Club Grand Paw™ Team

Young at Heart’s senior to senior program, Club Grand Paw™, is an enhanced senior to senior adoption program. Volunteers assist with getting Club Grand Paw™ pets to the vet, groomer, check in on adopters as often as every week, and help to ensure both senior pet and senior adopter have the support system they need to enjoy each other in their golden years.

Special Event Planning

Young at Heart holds a number of special fundraising events throughout the year that are a major source of our revenue. We need volunteers to help in every stage of planning and facilitating these special events which include our annual Mutt Mosey fundraiser walk and our Silver Paws Gal

Adoption Center in Woodstock, IL (COMING SOON)

Young at Heart will be opening an adoption center for senior dogs and cats in Woodstock, IL in late spring/early summer 2019. There will be many volunteer opportunities available. Volunteer shifts will usually consist of a required combination of adoption center cleaning duties and animal interaction/care. Special training sessions will be held for volunteers who have already attended a previous volunteer orientation and have gone through the application process prior to the opening of the center. Additional training sessions will be offered to new volunteers once we get settled in and have the day to day routines of the new adoption center worked out.


Got other skills that Young at Heart can use? Tell us about them and we'll put you to work!

I'm Interested! What's next?

If you’re in the Northwest suburbs of IL and can help out on a regular or on an as-needed basis, drop us a note about volunteering to find out when the next volunteer orientation is to get you started! 

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