Volunteer Information & Opportunities

First Step to Volunteer at CCHS: Attend One of the Monthly Orientations

Open Orientation sessions for anyone interested in the CCHS Volunteer Program are held monthly. Check the Calendar or email Natalie@cuhumane.org for the location, date, and time. You must be 18 years of age or older to volunteer.  During the orientation you will learn about CCHS and the many ways that volunteers help the organization.  After we go over all the different opportunities, we can find a way for you to help that best suits your skills and interests. At the end of the meeting, you’ll have an opportunity to speak with CCHS staff members and sign up for your first shelter tour & training session at CCHS.

Because it takes time and resources to train new volunteers, we ask that volunteers be prepared to commit to a minimum of 4 months of service (does not need to be consecutive). We hope that once you become a CCHS volunteer, you’ll be with us for a very long time!

If you have to complete court mandated community service hours we may be able to accommodate you, however this is a separate program which is run by our adoption staff. If you are interested in completing your community service hours here at CCHS, please email Jackie@cuhumane.org instead of attending the open orientation. 

Shelter Tour & Training Sessions

Shelter tour & training sessions are for volunteers that have attended the orientation and are interested in working at the shelter and helping with dog, cat, and small animal care.

After four shifts as a cat or critter kennel assistant, interested volunteers can begin their training as a cat or small animal socializer.

After attending a dog walker training session, volunteers can help walk, socialize, and train the CCHS dogs.

Adult Volunteer Opportunities

Kennel Assistants

Cat and small animal kennel assistants help ensure that the animals at CCHS have a safe, clean environment in which to live. Working as a kennel assistant is a prerequisite to working as an animal socializer. It requires a minimum of one shift per week and applicants should be able to commit to at least 4 months of volunteering. Shifts:  8:30-11, every day including weekends.

Training and Behavior Program

Volunteers in this program provide shelter animals with mental stimulation through interactive activities (one-on-one training) and interactive toys (e.g., toys stuffed with food). Prerequisite: Successful completion of cat or small animal kennel assistant (4 weeks). Shifts: Weekdays, 8:30-11, 1-4.

Cat Socializer

Cat Socializers help provide stimulation and human socialization through positive interactions with the cats up for adoption. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the Cat Kennel Assistant program. Requires one 3-hour shift per week. Shifts: Weekdays: 8:30-11, 11-2, 2-5, 4-7; Weekends & Tuesdays: 8:30-11, 11-2; 2-5

Dog Socializer

Dog Socializers help provide physical and mental stimulation for the dogs up for adoption. There are two levels that volunteers may progress through in this program. Prerequisite: Attend a dog walker training session upon completion of the tour and training session. Requires one 3-hour shift per week. Shifts: Weekdays: 8:30-11, 11-2, 2-5, 4-7; Weekends & Tuesdays: 8:30-11, 11-2; 2-5

Small Animal Socializer

Small-Animal Socializers provide socialization and stimulation for the small animals up for adoption. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the Small Animal Kennel Assistant program. Requires one 3-hour shift per week. Shifts: Weekdays: 8:30-11, 11-2, 2-5, 4-7; Weekends & Tuesdays: 8:30-11, 11-2; 2-5


Foster parents provide a temporary home for animals who need a little extra tender loving care. Animals needing foster care might be sick, injured, scared, nursing a litter, or pregnant. Some of them are too young to thrive in a shelter environment. To give them the best chance at finding a forever home we place these special needs animals with foster homes until they’re ready to come back to the shelter to be adopted. For more information follow this link.

Medical Lab Program

Medical Lab Volunteers help maintain the heath of our animal population by administering treatments and performing exams. Requires one 4-hour shift per week. Shifts: 8-12, 11-3, 12-4:30

Folding Newspapers

Something everyone can do! We use newspaper in our cat and puppy cages EVERYDAY, so we are always in need of folded newspaper. By folding the papers and removing the inserts, you can help speed up our cleaning process, allowing our staff to devote more time to animal care. See Fold and donate newspapers for the shelter to learn more.

Sometimes newspapers need to be folded at the shelter. If you’re a shelter volunteer with extra time on your hands, ask the Shelter Manager or Volunteer Coordinator if there are papers that need to be folded.

Special Events

Special Events Volunteers represent CCHS at off-site events. Some events are held to raise money for CCHS (Mutt Strut, Fur Ball, and other smaller events). Others help raise awareness about CCHS and the animals available for adoption. And still others are aimed at educating the public about our mission and humane treatment of animals. Special Events Volunteers work on an “as needed” basis

Giant Garage Sale

Beginning with set up in mid May, continuing through the actual sale on the Friday and Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, and ending with final cleanup - this event is our oldest fundraiser and our single greatest need for volunteers. Follow this link to learn more. Location: Champaign County Fairgrounds