After School Advocates

This program is on hiatus until further notice. Please visit for a list of at-home and virtual opportunities


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 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, 4-week program takes place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays 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, February, and May. Classes are held at The Anti-Cruelty Society’s Education and Training Center at 157 W. Grand Avenue every Tuesday and Wednesday from 4:30–6:30 p.m.  in addition to a required orientation day before the start of each session. Participants can receive up to 16 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 2019: Caring for Pets

Application Deadline: Sunday, September 22, 5:00 p.m.
Program Dates: October 8-30

Delve into the specifics of proper pet care, humane standard of care laws, the history of companion animal domestication, and more. Participants will work together to organize a donation drive to benefit the animals at The Anti-Cruelty Society. In this season, teens 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. 

Caring for Pets - Apply Now! 

Winter 2020: Communicating with Pets

Application Deadline: Sunday, January 19, 5:00 p.m.
Program Dates: February 4-26
Examine the psychology theories of conditioning and learning, and how they can impact our relationships with pets. Participants will learn how to read cat, dog, and bunny body language and how to use operant and classical conditioning to train animals and improve the lives of shelter pets. Discover careers in animal training through professionals from The Anti-Cruelty Society and other Chicago organizations. In this session, teens will have the opportunity to put what they learn into practice by enriching the lives of animals at the Society with an in-kennel training exercises. 

Communicating with Pets - Apply Now! 

Spring 2020: Being a Voice for Animals

Application Deadline: Sunday April 19, 5:00 p.m.
Program Dates: May 5 – 27
Discover the ways that animal shelters help homeless pets, how laws have shaped our relationships with animals, and how community actions can save lives and make the world a better place. Participants in this session will complete advocacy and outreach projects to help find homes for the cats, dogs, and bunnies at The Anti-Cruelty Society. Teens will also learn about careers in Animal Advocacy from professionals at The Anti-Cruelty Society and other Chicago organizations.

Being a Voice for Animals - Apply Now!


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! 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!

The Anti-Cruelty Society's After School Advocates
Teen petting white dog at The Anti-Cruelty Society
Teen girl next to trifold project board