Volunteer All Stars
Don makes Mondays one of our favorite days of the week! You’ll find him in Dog Town every Monday, fol-lowed by a group of new volunteers he is mentoring. As a mentor, visiting group host, and NVO trainer, Don introduces countless new volunteers to PAWS, our mission, and our procedures each year. He does this with humor, kindness, clarity and empathy – and his thoughtful and thorough mentoring and training inspires so many new volunteers to come back and commit to PAWS.
Megan has been volunteering at the Medical Center since 2015. As a L3 volunteer, she works with all of our dogs before they make their way to the Adoption Centers. Megan is a Lead Intake volunteer - helping to orchestrate other volunteers as we prep for our transport partner’s arrivals. Megan is also a TLC volunteer - an elite program where volunteers work with animals in isolation as they recover from parvo, ringworm, UTI’s and more. One of our first TLC volunteers, Megan now trains other volunteers to become a part of this program which provides critical socialization for our animals as they recover from illness or injury.
Ellie is there at every event, helping to unload the animals, assisting with logistics, and checking on our animal’s health and safety throughout the event. Ellie’s a regular volunteer with the Pet Food Pantry, and a dedicated foster - she’s fostered 60 animals to date (with a couple foster fails!). But this year, we are recognizing Ellie for helping to pilot a new volunteer program to support the foster team out of our Lincoln Park Enrichment Center. Because Ellie paved the way to a better foster program, we have opened up more space in our Medical Center so we can pull more needy animals into our program.
Kate, for the past three years, has been the queen of Sunday mornings at the Medical Center. She’s there every Sunday at 8am, walking dogs, cleaning kennels, and showing new volunteers the ropes. This past year, Kate trained to become a L3 volunteer so that she is able to help even further. She also pioneered a new volunteer program with the Intake team - working side by side with Intake staff as they pull dogs and cats from Chicago Animal Care and Control.
Colleen started at PAWS Chicago less than a year ago, and in her short tenure, she’s risen to become a Level 2 volunteer, event volunteer, Intake volunteer and transport driver. There is no trip too short, too long, too noisy or too last minute for Colleen! Colleen’s cheerful spirit and can-do attitude are absolutely contagious.
Sherri does it all. From L3 and adoption counseling shifts at LPAC, to leading L2 classes at both LPAC and the North Shore Adoption Center, to Location Managing our Angels with Tails events - Sherri is an indispensable volunteer with PAWS. This year, we’re especially grateful to Sherri for her work at our North Shore Adoption Center. Sherri was the first volunteer ever to serve as Location Manager of the North Shore Adoption Center - essentially, running the center entirely independent of front of house staff. Because of Sherri’s willingness to trial this new role, we now have a trio of volunteers trained to manage North Shore - allowing us to have that location open for adoptions five days a week.
It wouldn’t be a Saturday at the Medical Center without Stephen! You’ll find him doing anything and everything – from morning cleaning and walks, to teaching new volunteer orientation, to helping the Intake team with SAFER assessments, to working with our animals in isolation. While presenting new volunteer orientation to a room full of new volunteers, Stephen once said that “his job is to make all of them as excited to be here as he is.”
Rhi is an advocate for our Level 2 kitties by developing our first-ever cat clicker training workshop. When not working with cats, she welcomes our newest volunteers by teaching orientation and by mentoring. Whether I’m asking her to take a last-minute road trip to rescue one of our cats or to set her alarm bright and early for a media segment, she always brings a positive attitude and an infectious enthusiasm ..
Marcelle is one of PAWS most dedicated volunteers, having assisted with 266 adoptions last year. She is committed to her own beloved cat, the cats at LPAC and ensuring that our adopters have the needed information to help them be amazing pet owners. Whether it is making sure that the adopter food bags are fully stocked, assisting with survey screening at the Welcome Desk or processing adoptions, Marcelle is always looking for ways to assist both the staff at LPAC and adopters.
Kasey was a part of a team of volunteers who completely revamped the Kitty City Level 1 training this year to make it more interactive and engaging. She continues to support our volunteers by mentoring every Thursday. She also helps volunteers expand their role at PAWS by teaching Level 2 training. It would take some serious data crunching to total the number of volunteers who have succeed in Kitty City because of her instruction. In all of her spare time, she logs countless miles for Team PAWS.
Behn goes the extra mile for PAWS every single week. From picking up PAWS animals found in neighboring states, to driving on numerous Intake road trips to meet and take in dogs and puppies from our transport partners, to driving TWO volunteer shuttles transporting volunteers from Lincoln Park to our Medical Center - Behn is on the road helping animals find their way to their new homes. In addition to all this, Behn teaches new volunteer orientation, is a regular participant in training classes to support our L2 and L3 dogs, and works tirelessly in the laundry room to ensure our animals have clean bedding for the night.
Kate has been volunteering with PAWS for almost three years - starting as a Kitty City volunteer at Lincoln Park. Here, she’s a mentor for new volunteers, and a Lead, expediting evening shifts and ensuring that all chores are done before close. But for the past year, Kate has also been a pioneer volunteer at the Medical Center and has been instrumental to the creation of our cat volunteer program at that location. Before Kate, our Medical Center cats were in need of the enrichment and socialization they receive at Lincoln Park. Thanks to Kate’s willingness to try new things, adapt, and try again, we now have a great program in place for volunteers to interact with some of our cats who really need our support.
Kristin has been volunteering at the North Shore Adoption Center for over 3 years. You can find Kristin at NSAC every Thursday and Sunday, as well as out in the community representing PAWS at events as a PAWS Ambassador. As an adoption counselor, her compassion and kindness has helped to unite nearly 70 animals with their forever families in the last 12 months. Kristin’s love for animals and kindness towards all people is truly inspiring.