Youth Volunteering

We believe that building a more humane community begins with our youngest citizens. Getting involved at a young age instills character traits such as kindness, empathy, and responsibility. From caring for pets to animal safety and also learning how to prevent animal suffering, we want our younger generations to have a front seat and hands-on role providing hope to animals in our community.

Junior Volunteering 

Junior Volunteers is a youth volunteer program for ages 12-15. The program allows teens to earn volunteer hours and make a difference in their community. Junior volunteers must have  a parent or guardian volunteer with them at SFAHS until they reach the age of 16 . Once the Junior volunteer turns 16 they are allowed to participate in our adult program.   See the Registered Volunteer Page for information on the Adult Program . 

  • Must be 12 -15 years of age 
  • Must be able to volunteer at least 2 hours a month.
  • Must be able to volunteer a minimum of 6 consecutive months.  
  • Must have a parent or guardian volunteer with them

What do Jr Volunteers do?
  • Interact with cats in our private playrooms
  • Help with  tiding up animal kennels
  • Folding laundry, dusting, and tidying up 
  • Socialize with dogs in our designated play areas or walking trails

Parents/ Guardians are responsible for the primary handling of animals and supervising their junior volunteers.
Junior volunteers cannot volunteer alone and must have their parent or guardian present. 
How do I Sign my Child up for Volunteering? 

1. Attend a Volunteer Information Session
Information sessions cover basic policies, volunteer expectations, and gives a tour of the shelter. See  our Adult volunteer page for Information Session dates. 
The Information Session does not cover animal handling, but is a way for applicants to make sure volunteering is right for them. 

2. Fill out the Jr Volunteer Application and and Adult Volunteer Application. 
Your applications will be reviewed, and if accepted, you will be contacted to proceed in the onboarding experience. 

3.  Complete Hands-on training.  The Adult and Junior volunteer will complete training sessions together.  Hands on training includes:

  • Animal Handling protocols 
  • How to safely approach and interact with shelter animals
  • Cleaning protocols 
4.  Complete Introduction to Enrichment Class. The Adult and Junior volunteer will complete training sessions together. 
This class give you an intro to basic training, games and enrichment you can do with the animals. 

Once you have completed Hands-on Training & Introduction to Enrichment Class,  you are considered registered volunteers, and can start volunteering! Congrats!  

Frequently Asked Questions
How many hours do junior volunteers need to commit to?
Junior volunteers must complete a minimum of 2 hours a month. You are welcome and encouraged to visit as often as you can, and log more than 2 hours!
Can I volunteer with another junior volunteer?
Yes, as long as at least one of the parents/guardians is also present. There is a limit of two junior volunteers per parent/guardian.
Can I volunteer with my sibling?
Yes, but your sibling must be over the age of 18 to be considered a parent/guardian figure. They must also have gone through the application and orientation process and be a registered volunteer. 
My child wants to volunteer in cat adopt, but I'm allergic. Can they still volunteer in the room alone?
No, they would not be able to volunteer in any adoption room without direct supervision. Parents or guardians must be with the junior volunteer at all times. They may volunteer with a sibling that is over 18 or an alternative guardian that has completed volunteer application and orientation if that is the case. 
My child is under 12, but very mature. Can they be a junior volunteer?
Unfortunately no, we cannot approve any applications for children under 12 to be apart of our junior volunteer program due to liability limitations. We also limit the age due to high demand, so that we can best serve those who are currently enrolled in the program.
Do you provide junior volunteer service groups?
No, unfortunately, we are not able to provide that service at this time due to liability limitations. We are able to do tours for small groups of children, but not service groups. 
My child wants to volunteer, but I am not able to become a registered volunteer. What now?
A guardian over the age of 18 is acceptable, as long as they complete the application and orientation process to become a registered volunteer. They must also sign a waiver stating that they are responsible for the junior volunteer while they are visiting the shelter. 
I can only volunteer in the summer. Can I still be a junior volunteer?
Currently, we are not able to offer a summer volunteer program. We ask for a 6-month commitment for volunteering to keep a stable and consistent volunteer base. You can complete hours at home during the school year as well by completing projects such a blanket making, making cat toys, etc. Reach out to our volunteer coordinator for more ideas on how to complete your hours during the school year!
I have a Child/Group of Children that wants to read to the animals. Can we come volunteer?
SFAHS does not have the facilities to provide reading groups. Registered JR Volunteers may read to the animals with their parent or guardian present, but we are unable to accommodate unregistered volunteers or   groups of minors. 

open all

Kids Club - Summer Education Program

What is Kids Club?

Kids Club is a Summer Education Program that offers fun and interactive experiences for kids who love animals! 
Kids Club focuses on education more than cleaning or interacting with the animals at the shelter.
  • Children ages 5-12 are invited to become members! 

All meet-ups are scheduled on one Sunday a month, for 4 consecutive months. Each meet up is from 1:30-3:00 pm unless otherwise stated. 

Some programs may include special guests, animal service projects, fun crafts, or animal interaction. 

Once kids have reached the age of 12 they can graduate to the junior volunteer program , which is more hands-on with the animals! 

• Four playdates in the Summer/Fall of 2024
• Official SFAHS Kids Club t-shirt
• Free snacks and refreshments at every playdate
• Fun education and learning opportunities!

Membership for Summer of 2024: $25 per child


Parents & Guardians don't go too far! We want you to be included! We strongly encourage parents & guardians to stay for the playdate to learn alongside their children and help out where needed with crafts or activities. You will also be required to sign a waiver at the first playdate your child(ren) attend.

DIY Craft Projects
Interested in helping the animals, but aren't old enough to volunteer on your own quite yet or want to do projects from home? Here are some great projects you can do from home to benefit the animals at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society!
For Dogs
Apple Cinnamon Dog Treats
  • 1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated (about 1/3 cup grated apple)
  • 3 tbsp. unsweetened natural applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Mix apple, applesauce, honey, water, and egg in a bowl. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  3. Sift flour and cinnamon together.
  4. Add the flour and cinnamon mixture to the wet mixture in 2 or 3 additions, stirring well after each addition.
  5. Knead the dough by hand until all of the flour is absorbed, and the dough is smooth and flexible.
  6. Generously flour a board or countertop and roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.
  7. Cut the dough into about 1" pieces and arrange on an ungreased baking sheet.
  8. Bake about 20 minutes, until firm to the touch. Allow to cool completely.
  9. Store in a ziplock bag or other airtight container.
Dog Bandana
  • Regular scissors or pinking scissors
  • Half yard of quilting fabric. Holiday or seasonal are always fun!
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Tailor's tape measure. Regular tape measure or yardstick will also work.
  • Large paper bag or craft paper.
Medium-Sized Bandana Directions:
  1. Lay your craft paper on a table or flat surface. If you are using a large paper bag as your craft paper, cut it open and lay it flat.
  2. Draw a 26" horizontal line on your craft paper.
  3. Locate the middle point of the line and draw a vertical 8" line downwards.
  4. Draw 2 diagonal lines connecting the tip of the vertical line to the endpoints of the horizontal line, forming a triangle.
  5. Cut the triangle pattern out.
  6. Place the pattern on top of the fabric and cut the pattern out. You may need to use a small weighted object to hold the pattern in place during this step. 
  7. You are all done! You can also save the paper pattern cut-out to make more bandanas!

Large-Sized Bandana Directions:
  1. Lay your craft paper on a table or flat surface. If you are using a large paper bag as your craft paper, cut it open and lay it flat.
  2. Draw a 36" horizontal line on your craft paper.
  3. Locate the middle point of the line and draw a vertical 10" line downwards.
  4. Draw 2 diagonal lines connecting the tip of the vertical line to the endpoints of the horizontal line, forming a triangle.
  5. Cut the triangle pattern out.
  6. Place the pattern on top of the fabric and cut the pattern out. You may need to use a small weighted object to hold the pattern in place during this step. 
  7. You are all done! You can also save the paper pattern cut-out to make more bandanas!
Oat Dog Biscuits
  • 2 1/2 cups of oats
  • 1 tsp. salt or less
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. beef or chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F
  2. Dissolve bouillon in hot water
  3. Add remaining ingredients
  4. Knead dough until it forms a ball (approximately 3 minutes)
  5. Roll dough until 1/2 inch thick
  6. Cut into slices or bone shapes
  7. Place dough pieces on a lightly greased cookie sheet
  8. Bake for 30 minutes
Peanut Butter Dog Donuts


  • 1 Ripe Banana
  •  Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  •  Cups Rolled Oats
  • 2/3 Cup Natural Unsweetened Peanut Butter
  • ¼ Cup Coconut Oil melted
  • 2 Eggs
  • Extra peanut butter, small dog treats, bacon bits, or other dog-friendly toppings (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Use a fork to mash the banana in a small bowl.
  • Place flour, oats, peanut butter, mashed banana, coconut oil, and eggs in a large bowl.
  • Mix well until a dough is formed.
  • Spoon the mixture into an ungreased non-stick donut pan.
  • Press the mixture down into the pan. The donuts will not rise so you don’t want to leave any gaps in the dough.
  • Bake at 375°F for 14 to 16 minutes.
  • Remove the donuts from the pan place them on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
  • If desired, spread peanut butter on top of the donuts for the icing and decorate with any desired toppings.


Do not use peanut butter that contains xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs.
You can substitute all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour.
Store the donuts in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Treat Dispensers

For each toy you will need 4 PVC parts + other supplies:
We do not recommend ABS pipe (black pipe) due to it being more brittle

  1. a 2” diameter pvc pipe
  2. female Adapter for 2" diameter pipe
  3.  Screw cap that fits the female Adapter
  4. Slip cap- to fit the  non-opening end. 


Other equipment and supplies that are needed for this project:

  • Drill
  • Drill bit the size you want the food dispensing holes to be
  • Saw to cut PVC – handsaw, miter saw, etc.
  • PVC glue
  • Small piece of sandpaper

Steps for assembly:

  1. Cut PVC pipe to desired length, about  ~10” for each pipe.
  2. Sand along the cut edges of pipe with sandpaper
  3. Using PVC glue attach the slip cap to one end of the pipe
  4. Using PVC glue attach the female adapter to the other end
  5. Screw cap onto female adapter ( Do not glue!, This is how we get food inside!)
  6. Drill holes into PVC pipe where desired
  7. Empty out PVC filings from drilling out the holes, sand holes so there are no sharp edges and wash toy – it is ready for use!


open all

For Cats
Cat Blanket
Cat Fleece Blanket DIY


  • 2 pieces of lightweight fleece material (24" x 24")
  • Scissors
  1. Lay 1 piece of fabric on a flat surface and cut 4" fringe along all 4 sides.
  2. Repeat this for the second piece of fabric
  3. Layer the first piece of fabric onto the second piece of fabric and lay flat on a table or the floor.
  4. Using a piece of fringe from the top layer and a piece of fringe from the bottom layer, tie a knot.
  5. Repeat knotting around all four sides
Cat Fleece Rope
Fleece Rope DIY

  • Fleece strips
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • For large ropes, you will need 4 strips of fleece, approximately 3" wide by 16" long
  • For smaller ropes, you will need 4 strips of fleece, approximately 2" wide by 12" long
  • For XXL ropes,  you will need 3-4 strips of fleece, approximately 3' wide by 4' long. 
  1. Tie all 4 strips together on one end, leaving a few inches of fleece on one side of the knot. Pull each strip tightly to make sure your knot is secure.
  2. Spread the strips out so you have one going in each direction. We're going to call them North, South, East, and West for the purposes of this tutorial. 
  3. For the first pass, you will always do this: fold South towards North and North towards South.
  4. Fold East over South and through North. Fold West over North and through South.
  5. Tighten each strip, but not too tight; just so it's neat. Do this by pulling North and South, then East and West, and repeating until they're all even and situated nicely.
  6. When it's your desired length, take your four strands and tie them off near the braid. You'll want to leave more end than you think to easily tie them off, and so you can finish the ends with fringe. Pull each strand tightly to ensure a secure knot.
  7. Finally, grab your scissors and cut the strips at the ends to the same length.
  8. Then cut the two ends almost to the knows to make fringe for extra fun.
Octopus Cat Toy
Octopus Cat Toy DIY

  • Tennis Ball
  • 2 Pieces of Fleece (44" x 6")
  • 1 Piece of Fleece (10" x 1")
  • Scissors
  1. Use scissors to cut the fleece into 2 pieces measuring 44" by 6" and 1 piece measuring 10" x 1".
  2. Lay the 2 wide strips of fabric in the shape of an X and place the ball in the middle. 
  3. Wrap the ball with all the layers and gather the strips at the bottom of the ball.
  4. Take your skinny strip and tie a tight double knot to secure the fabric around the ball. Now you should have four wide strips hanging from the base of your ball.
  5. Cut each of the four strips into three even sections. You will have 12 sections in total.
  6. Braid the 3 newly cut strips and knot it at the bottom. Repeat until you have 4 braids in total.
Note: It is very important that the braids be tight. If the braids are too loose, we will be unable to give them to the cats due to safety issues, and they typically will not hold up well in the washer.
Cat Puzzle Box


  • Toilet paper or paper towel rolls
  • Empty square or rectangle tissue box or shoe box
  • Non-toxic glue
  • Scissors
  1. If using a tissue box, cut off the top so that the box is open.
  2. Cut the tubes to the same length as the height of the box if needed.
  3. Place the tubes in the box, gluing each one in place as you go.
  4. Continue until the box is filled as much as possible with the tubes.
  5. SFAHS staff can fill the tubes with yummy treats for the cat's enjoyment!
Catnip Socks
  • Infant Socks (Please use infant socks only)
  • Stuffing or fiberfill
  • Dry Catnip
  1. Take an infant sock and fill from toe to heel with stuffing. The stuffed portion of the sock should not be longer than 2".
  2. Add a pinch of dry catnip
  3. Pinch the sock around the heel and ankle, then stretch the ankle and cuff to tie the sock closed in a knot. DO not use ribbon or string to tie the sock closed.
  4. Done! This is an easy cat toy to make and cats love it.
  5. The finished toy should NOT be longer than 3 1/2"

Cat Wand
Cat Wand Toy DIY

  • Wooden dowel
  • Colorful duct tape
  • Fabric strips
  1. Take a 12" piece of duct tape and place it sticky side up.
  2. Cut fabric into thin strips about 4" x 1/2"
  3. Take strips of material and place them one by one on the tape, but leave some room at the bottom of the tape to stick to the dowel.
  4. Next, take your dowel and place it at one side of the tape and start rolling. Try to keep it as even as possible.
  5. Once the tape as been rolled up and secured to the dowel, the toy is complete!
Fleece Flower Cat Toy
Cat Fleece Flower

  • Zip tie or plastic ring from a milk container
  • Scissors
  • Many square pieces of fleece (recommended: 6" x 1.5")
  1. if you are using a zip tie then making the diameter of the ring about 1" long and cut off tail end, leaving just the circle.
  2. Take the square piece of fleece and cut into 12-14 strips. use additional fabric if needed to cover the ring completely.
  3. Tie strips onto the ring. Please double knot for extra safety.
  4. Continue typing fleece to the ring until you cannot see any part of it. 
Kitten Ring Ball Toy


  • Scissors
  • 1 empty toilet paper roll
  1. Beginning on one end, cut the toilet paper roll into even rings, about 1/2" wide.
  2. When finished, begin to place the rings inside of each other in a criss-cross pattern to form a round shape.

open all

Small Animals
Rabbit Rattle Toy


  • Paper Bags
  • Scissors
  • Toilet Paper Tubes
  • A Wood Stick. Store-bought willow or apple sticks only.
  • Twin or sisal (rabbit safe rope)
  • Rabbit treats, timothy hay
  1. Cut off the bottom part of the paper bag.
  2. Make a longitudinal cut to the bag on one side only.
  3. Layout the paper and put the toilet paper roll on it.
  4. Fill the toilet paper roll with treats, hay, and the willow or apple stick. CAUTION: Only use twigs or sticks that you have purchased from a pet store and are meant for rabbits.
    Certain woods are toxic to rabbits. The stick should be big enough to stick out at both ends of the toilet paper roll.
  5. Roll the toilet paper roll up in the paper bag.
  6. Cut off the excess paper, twist the ends! 
Rabbit Roll Ball


  • Scissors
  • 1 empty toilet paper roll
  1. Beginning on one end, cut the toilet paper roll into even rings, about 1/2" wide.
  2. When finished, begin to place the rings inside of each other in a criss-cross pattern to form a round shape.
Rabbit Roll Toy


  • Piece of cardboard. Recommended 6"x12"
  • Pencil
  • Round template or compass to draw circles. Recommended 3" diameter.
  • Scissors
  1. Use the pencil to trace three circles of the same size on a piece of cardboard, then cut them out.
  2. Circle 1: On 1 piece cut 4 slits about 1/3 the length of the diameter that is of equal size and length. They should also be as evenly spaced as possible.
  3. Circle 2 & 3: On the other 2 pieces, cut a slit half the diameter of the circle and cut out a "T" shape.
  4. Take Circle 1 and fold it in half, which will reveal one slot in the middle.
  5. Take the Folded Circle 1 and slide it into the T slot of Circle 2.
  6. Once the 2 circles are joined, unfold the flaps of Circle 1 and fold them up the opposite direction.
  7. Now insert Circle 3 into the slot.
  8. Raise flaps of Circle 1 to give the toy a 3D ball shape.
Rabbit Tissue Box


  • Scissors
  • 1 tissue box of any type
  • 4 empty toilet paper rolls. Quantity may vary depending on the size of your tissue box.
  1. Cut out and remove any plastic from the opening of the tissue box.
  2. Place the toilet paper rolls into the tissue box one by one until the entire opening of the box is covered. Paper rolls should fit snuggly.
  3. You're done! We will drop treats such as timothy hay into each individual toilet paper roll for an enrichment activity for the rabbits.

open all