Volunteer Spotlight

“Volunteering to serve others is the rent we pay for the space we occupy in this world.” – author unknown.

Volunteers at Hinsdale Humane Society are vital to our organization. With their help, we are able to provide continued care, love and attention to our four legged friends until they find their forever homes.

Ruth Novak

Why HHS?

I wanted to get involved because I love animals and it breaks my heart to think of them in cages trying to figure out what happened to their little lives and waiting for their forever homes. It has been very satisfying to learn that everyone gets adopted, maybe not as quickly as we would  like to see, but they do go home. And they are truly cared for at HHS by the great staff and volunteers.

Town: Burr Ridge

Pets: I am the Mom to an 11 year old Siberian named Duster. She is smart and comical and loving and I couldn't ask for a better cat. If I could, I would have a dozen cats and dogs...so instead I socialize with them at the HHS.

Volunteer since: August 2015

Volunteer jobs: Cat Socializer

Fun Fact: I used to be in a comedy improv group in the 80's with a guy who you may know from his role on 'Parks and Rec'.

Kym Iffert

Why HHS?

Kym found HHS 10 years ago and has become involved in every aspect of the organization since then. Starting out walking dogs, she then became our Humane Educator where she also created our Jr. Board, and continually and voluntarily stepped into any other role that needed help along the way, including Volunteer Coordination, which she eventually took over. Kym's passion for animal welfare is extraordinary and her multi-faceted talents have benefitted the shelter on multiple levels. We are so thrilled she found us!

Town: LaGrange Park

Pets: 4 dogs: Sugar, Dino, Chopper and recently Dover, previously a foster dog, now an official part of the Iffert pack.

Volunteer since: 2006

Volunteer jobs: Kym is currently our Volunteer Coordinator, but does so much more on any given day, it's hard to fit it all in. She contributes graphic design, interior design, dog obedience and event planning, as well as stepping in on reception and any other shelter or society-related tasks as needed. In her "spare time" she also volunteers to walk dogs for the shelter, represents HHS at multiple events and donates her artistic talents and dog training services to our fundraisers for the past decade. Congratulations on 10 years of volunteering at HHS Kym!

Fun Fact: In addition to her graphic and interior design background, Kym is also an artist who creates home exterior renderings, and fantastic pet illustrations that are an art form unto themselves. (Some of her work will be available on t-shirts at our upcoming Santa's WOOFshop event!)

Alison Jenzen

Why HHS?

The last fur baby I had came from pet adoption and she was the pet love of my life! I miss her everyday and that adoption changed the way I perceived animal shelters. We are currently pet-free and my girls are dying for a doggie, so volunteering with HHS gives us the opportunity to fill that void. I love what HHS stands for, that it is a no-kill shelter and and all the effort they put into saving animals in the community. It’s such a great way to give back, especially for animal lovers who don’t have the ability to take on a pet at the moment. 

Town: Elmhurst

Pets: None at the moment, but my family is anxiously waiting!

Volunteer since: 2016

Volunteer jobs: At HHS I am the Social Chair for the annual gala and try to support my friend and rock star volunteer Mistie Lucht whenever she needs me. I am also a Brownie Leader and PTA Social Committee Co-Chair.

Fun Fact: In my spare time, I run a website called So Chic Life for sophisticated women.

Kristen Venetsanopoulos

Why HHS?

I've been a resident of Hinsdale for 11 years and it's always nice to get involved locally. I have a genuine love for animals of all kinds, especially dogs. Nothing makes me happier than seeing an animal be placed in a loving home. I love what HHS stands for and and all the effort they put in to saving these animals. 

Town: Hinsdale

Pets: 4 year old Pomeranian Kali and 2 year old Great Pyrenees mix Maggie. Both were adopted from HHS.

Volunteer since: 2012

Volunteer jobs: Dog walker and anything else HHS needs help with, like laundry. Working with HHS staff to help with the upcoming lobby remodel. I am an interior designer by trade.

Fun Fact: I started a local bowling league called the Bad News Bowlers 5 years ago with local parents from my children's school. We are starting our 5th season and have over 50 people that have joined including HHS Board member Nate Lucht and his wife Mistie, who just joined this season! I'm not even a good bowler but it sure is a fun way to get to know other local parents and laugh for a night!

Reem Hassaballa

Why HHS?

Not only have I always had a passion and heart for animals, I think it is a great way to give back to the community and utilize my professional skills in a positive and meaningful manner. 

Town: I live in Hinsdale, but was born and raised in New Berlin, Wisconsin (major Cheesehead here).

Pets: We are waiting for the appropriate time for our family to adopt an animal.

Volunteer since: Just this past year.

Volunteer jobs: At HHS, I am the Howl-o-ween Ball Design Co-Chair. I am also the Director of the Bayan Hassaballa Foundation (www.ourangelbayan.org), Chair of the International Committee at Monroe School, Monroe Care ("Blankets for Bayan" event), member of Hinsdale Junior Woman's Club (HJWC) and volunteer at Hinsdale Central.

Fun Fact: I am of Egyptian descent (and no, I do not "Walk Like an Egyptian" as everyone in high school would ask me).

Ashley Gill

Why HHS?

HHS advocates through education and public service to encourage the compassionate treatment of animals and I support their mission wholeheartedly. As a volunteer, my heart fills with happiness as I see the dedication of each staff member that cares for every dog and cat and makes sure they are placed in proper homes to be cared for and loved unconditionally.

Town: Downers Grove

Pets: I don't have any pets at the moment, but we had a Beagle named Dakota who was the life of the party! She was the most loving, loyal and witty dog and we miss her deeply.

Volunteer since: 2015

Volunteer jobs: I am a yellow dog walker and I really enjoy providing exercise and companionship to the shelter dogs. I also assist with special events.

Fun Fact: I love staying busy so I volunteer my time on the Executive Board as Development Chair of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Chicago.

Liz Pechous

Why HHS?

I chose to volunteer at HHS because I love working with animals and I remember coming here when I was a Girl Scout.

Town: Elmhurst

Pets: Two cats. Their names are Cheddar and Merrily. My family adopted them when they were adults and they are the best of friends.

Volunteer since: Just this Spring, 2016

Volunteer jobs: Cat Socializer

Fun Fact: I am studying to become an Elementary Teacher.

Danny Herrera

Why HHS?

I've had at least one pet ever since I turned 18. I want to help get as many animals adopted as I can and hopefully what I do can put a different perspective on shelter animals. Although I have been volunteering at HHS for just 1 year, I hope to help for years to come.

Town: Woodridge

Pets: 2 cats, Boo and Tigger and 1 dog Wiley who I adopted 2 years ago from HHS

Volunteer since: 2015

Volunteer jobs: Videographer

Jazmin Patino

Why HHS?

HHS is proud to be part of the Hinsdale South Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program in which students learn applicable job skills while volunteering.

Town: Cicero

Pets: I have a small, light brown dog named Rocky

Volunteer jobs: Cat Socializing and Laundry Angel

Fun Fact: I am part of the deaf student program at Hinsdale South High School and love to play soccer.

Dee Downs

Why HHS?

I volunteer because I love animals.  Its amazing to see how different each shelter dog is. Some dogs are fun loving and are just happy to have a human that wants to take them for a walk and spend some one on one time with them. Then there are the dogs that come from puppy mills, hoarding situations or some other horrible situation. Those are the dogs that break my heart and at the same time keep me coming back. It is very rewarding to see a dog who came to us, very frightened, who had never seen a leash, had its paws touch grass or felt the touch of a human hand, learn to trust humans. Without places like HHS, these animals would never get a second chance to enjoy the remainder of their lives in a loving family.

Town: Elmhurst

Pets: I have a Weimeraner named Kahlua

Volunteer since: I've been a volunteer since February of 2013.

Volunteer jobs: I'm a red dog walker.

Fun Fact: I wouldn't be a volunteer at HHS if it weren't for my daughter who asked me to go with her to an orientation meeting. I had no idea such a program existed.

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