J.O.E.Y. Volunteer Program

The J.O.E.Y. Volunteer Program at Zoo Atlanta

The J.O.E.Y. Volunteer Program is for youth ages 8 to 13 years old and their parents or guardians. J.O.E.Y. Volunteer adult-child teams work toward a minimum of 30 service hours over the course of a year, with 10 hours required during each of the three terms. This is a year-round program. Through their participation, J.O.E.Y. Volunteers will learn public speaking, confidence, and leadership skills, while also forming tighter bonds and creating lasting memories with the adults they volunteer with. 

Our program year runs from June 1 through the following May 31 each year. 

Any adult (18+ years of age) can serve with a child. Each adult may serve with up to two children. If your family has more than two children in the program, we ask that you plan to serve with additional adults. Typically, J.O.E.Y. adults are parents or legal guardians, but other relatives or friends are welcome to apply as well, as long as they have parent or legal guardian approval. Each child may have a maximum of two adults serving with them at any one time. We ask that all adults commit to serving consistently with their child, as each adult will need to complete our registration, training, and screening process at the start of the program year. 

Once J.O.E.Y. Volunteers turn 14 years old, they are encouraged to apply to the Volunteen Program, and parents are encouraged to apply to the Adult Volunteer Program. Click here to learn more about the many experiences J.O.E.Y. Volunteers have as part of the program. 

View Experiences

8-13 years old as of June 1, 2022. Adult volunteers must be 18+ as of March 1, 2022, so that we can conduct a background check. 

  • Applications will open at 9 a.m. on January 1, 2022, and will close at 5 p.m. on February 28, 2022. See below for application details.  
  • Preview Days for the J.O.E.Y. Program will be held on Saturday, November 13 and Sunday, December 12, 2021; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Registration is required for all attendees. 

Nov. 13 Preview Day      Dec. 12 Preview Day

  • Orientation and initial training for all selected families will take place on April 23 or April 30 (all selected families must plan to attend one session). Additional training sessions may be offered via online content prior to the start of the program year. 
  • The 2022-2023 program year begins June 1, 2022, and ends May 31, 2023. 


  • Applicants must complete an online application to be considered for the program. We require one application per child. 
  • To be eligible for the program, youth must be 8 to 13 years old by June 1, 2022, and they must volunteer with an adult (18+) who is a parent or guardian, or who is serving with parent or guardian approval. All adults must be 18 by March 1, 2022, in order to allow for background screening. 
  • J.O.E.Y. Volunteers commit to: 
    • 10 service hours in the summer semester (June 1 – August 31), 
    • 10 service hours in the fall (September 1 – December 31), and 
    • 10 service hours in the spring (January 1 – May 31). 
  • Volunteers pay an orientation fee ($15 per person, including both adults and kids) to cover a name badge and uniform T-shirt for each Volunteer. Scholarships are available for qualified applicants. 
  • Adults are required to submit to a background check. One parent or guardian is required to volunteer for every two children volunteering. There is a maximum of two adults serving with each child. All adults who will be serving must undergo a background check. 
  • New J.O.E.Y. Volunteers are required to attend one orientation and training session. These are scheduled for April 23 and April 30, 2022. 
  • If you are accepted into the Volunteer Program, we will require you to prove that you have received the COVID-19 vaccine or have a valid religious or medical reason not to be vaccinated.


All families should complete the online application. One application per child is needed. If you have multiple eligible kids in your family, please fill out the application for each child separately. The application has two parts. The first should be completed by the adult, as it asks for basic information and emergency contact information for the youth volunteer. 

The second part should be completed by the youth volunteer. This section asks three questions about why the child wants to join the J.O.E.Y. Program. We ask that the kids complete this portion as independently as possible. Parents may help with the typing if needed, but we want to hear from the kids in their own words. 

You may open the application as often as needed, but you will not be able to save your progress on an incomplete application. We recommend writing out your answers to the questions in a separate document and then copying and pasting them into the application when you are ready to submit. 

The application will go live on January 1, 2022. Please click the button below to access the application on or after that date. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on February 28, 2022.

J.O.E.Y Application

If you have any questions about the J.O.E.Y. Program, please reach out to the Supervisor of Youth Volunteers at teenvolunteer@zooatlanta.org. 

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