You have a choice of volunteering at two very different locations:

ST. CHARLES, IL – Located in the northwest suburbs, here you will find hard-working Wildlife Director Vicki Weiland and her crew of several dedicated volunteers who focus mainly on the intake and rehabilitation of native Illinois wildlife. While, this location does have a few permanent residents, both wild and exotic, their animals are constantly changing as critters are brought in, fixed up and released back into the wild. From squirrels and opossums to deer and raptors and just about everything in between, here you’ll find yourself doing such things as cleaning enclosures, feeding animals, medicating animals, vaccinating and worming animals, and working on projects or special events. At this location we see a lot of interns and vet students, as well as those studying in the animal/biology field. This is a fast paced environment, especially during “baby season”. You will be expected to commit to specific days and hours. We rehabilitate over 150 critters per year, so it’s imperative we have enough people at all times to get the job done. If you’re 15 years or older, this might be the place for you!

PALOS PARK, IL – Located in the Southern suburbs, here you will find Director and Founder Kim Schilling with her awesome team of volunteers. This location focuses mostly on exotic animals and education. Kim and a small array of animals hit the road and perform approximately 200-250 Humane Education shows per year. However, it’s not all fun and games, as the health and welfare of the animals come first. Volunteers here can expect to find themselves cleaning cages, feeding animals, providing enrichment opportunities, medicating when necessary, and working on projects or special events. Cuddling is also highly recommended. Much slower paced than St. Charles, this location offers some flexibility for volunteers once you’re trained. However, commitment and consistency are musts! This location does require that you be 18 years or older to volunteer.Your reasons for volunteering are as individual as you are, but no matter what your reasons you can get a lot out of volunteering. You can learn about yourself, learn about others and meet a lot of interesting people by volunteering. You can help others as you help yourself. Volunteering can be extremely rewarding!! It can be fun!! It can also be frustrating, boring and downright disgusting.

Because we put a lot of time into training volunteers and we rely on your support, we request that you take the time to really think about volunteering. Training a volunteer can be tedious. It sometimes takes a little away from the animals until you're up and going. When we get a good consistent volunteer, our efforts have paid off! We get many people in who are gung-ho until they realize how much work it is to clean cages. It's also boring and monotonous at times! Then they stop coming and the work we put into training them was for nothing. Everything backs up.

Please take a moment to think about the time you have to volunteer and see if you're really ready to make a commitment. New volunteers are required to come when seasoned volunteers are scheduled so that they can shadow them. They’re a lot of fun!

As volunteers become more consistent, reliable and trained they have the option of coming at other times as long as someone's home. If you can commit to a flexible, but basic "schedule" of some sort, such as weekly, monthly (third Sunday of the month, every full moon, or whatever), then keep reading. For the non-routine volunteer work, a schedule is less critical.

In order to be considered for volunteer work:

  1. You must be at least 18 years old or have a written permission from a parent or guardian. (No one under 14 is allowed to volunteer without parental supervision or an adult “sponsor” at all times while on the premises. This means mom or dad works too J or at least carries a broom around and pretends).
  2. You must complete, sign and turn in the Volunteer Packet.
  3. You (and a parent/guardian if applicable) must attend a brief volunteer orientation.
  4. You (and a parent/guardian if applicable) are required to read and sign the "Hold Harmless" release form before beginning volunteer work.
  5. You must be current on your tetanus shot.
  6. You must not be seriously allergic to animals, animal dander, or pet bedding or have severe asthma. (Exceptions may be made for those individuals who can safely control it with medication, i.e. inhaler, allergy pills, etc.)
  7. You must not be severely phobic of any animal you’ll be working with or around.....not liking them is ok, but not being able to walk past the cage is not.
  8. You must be drug free and sober.
  9. You must love being around animals and enjoy all aspects of working with them.
  10. You must be reliable, loyal, consistent, trustworthy, and levelheaded.
  11. You must not be afraid to get dirty. Liking dirt is a bonus!
  12. You must be willing to work hard.
  13. You must be willing to learn.
  14. You must be able to work independently as time progresses.
  15. You must be able to squat, bend, twist, lift, and/or stand for long periods when working directly with the animals.
  16. You must be able to commit to a schedule.
  17. You must also be flexible on schedule and tasks when necessary.

Finally, we are an animal welfare organization, not an animal rights organization. If the thought of an animal in a cage (albeit healthy, happy and well-fed) makes your stomach turn, you probably won't like volunteer work. Let us know up front.

Completed applications may be returned in 3 easy ways:

Snail Mail:
Animals for Awareness
PO Box 56
Palos Park, IL 60464

Scanned/E-Mailed:  PalosZoo@aol.com
Fax:  630-822-7640

Only completed applications with signed Waivers and Rules of Conduct will be considered. Thank you for your understanding.