After School Advocates

Calling all teens! Do you love animals? Do you want to make a positive impact on the lives of animals and people in your community? Do you want to learn about different careers that allow you to work with animals? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, then you might be the perfect candidate for The Anti-Cruelty Society’s After School Advocates program!

Program Description

The After School Advocates program gives teens ages 13-18 an opportunity to explore animal welfare issues with hands-on activities, lectures from professionals in the field, and a group advocacy project. During the program, students will gain valuable insights into the world of animal shelter operations, positive reinforcement training, animal careers, and animal abuse in the community while receiving informative presentations from professionals in a variety of animal-related fields. This limited admission, 5-week program takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the fall, winter, and spring. Each session also includes a service component allowing participants to not only learn about, but also help animals in need. Participants will have opportunities to interact with shelter pets to reinforce learning components of this program, however direct service to these animals is not the focus.

Program Details

After School Advocates is offered three times per year. Sessions begin in October, January, or April. Classes are held at The Anti-Cruelty Society’s Education and Training Center at 169 W. Grand Avenue every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 4:30–6:30 p.m. for 3 weeks, in addition to a required orientation day before the start of each session. Participants can receive up to 20 Service Learning hours for participating.

Program Themes:

Each session of After School Advocates covers a different theme relating to animal welfare. Interested youth must submit an application for each program session they wish to attend.


Fall 2018: Standards of Pet Care

  • October 9–November 8, 2018
  • Application deadline: September 27, 12 p.m.

Students will delve into the specifics of proper pet care, humane standard of care laws, the history of companion animal domestication, and more.
Students will also work together to organize a donation drive to benefit a program or service at The Anti-Cruelty Society. Participants in this session will have the opportunity to hear from various professionals from organizations who care for different species of animals, while learning about careers in pet care.
Click here to apply!

 Winter 2019: Animal Behavior and Training

  • Orientation: January 31, 2019
  • Program: February 5–21, 2019
  • Application deadline: January 14, 12 p.m.


Learn the psychology behind theories of conditioning and learning, and how they can impact our relationships with pets. This session teaches students how to read cat and dog body language and how to use operant and classical conditioning to train animals, and improve the lives of shelter pets. Learn about careers in animal training from guest speakers from the Society and other Chicago organizations. Participants will have the opportunity to put what they learn into practice by helping enrich the lives of animals at the Society with in-kennel training exercises.

Click here to apply!

Spring 2019: Animal Welfare and Advocacy

  • Orientation: April 25, 2019
  • Program: April 30–May 16, 2019
  • Application deadline: April 1, 12 p.m.

springLearn about the ways that animal shelters help homeless pets, how animal welfare laws have shaped our relationships with animals, and how community actions can help save lives and make the world a better place.

Students in this session will participate in on-site advocacy projects such as a craft day to make enrichment items for the cats and dogs at The Anti-Cruelty Society. Students will also take on the responsibility of becoming a virtual foster during their time in the program.

Click here to apply!


Chicago City of Learning

The Anti-Cruelty Society is a proud partner of Chicago City of Learning, a groundbreaking initiative that joins together learning opportunities for young people in a way that allows them to think about, pursue, and develop their interests. Participants in CCOL can earn Digital Badges to represent accumulated knowledge and skills from programs at different organizations. By being a part of the After School Advocates at The Anti-Cruelty Society, you can earn multiple digital badges to show off your knowledge and efforts! Click here to learn more about what the Society has to offer through CCOL.

Have questions? Email for answers regarding this or any youth program at The Anti-Cruelty Society!

Thank you to our partners whose support makes our work possible