Our Mission

Hand2Paw provides paid internships working with rescue animals as a way to strengthen connection, compassion, and community for young adults from marginalized communities including those experiencing housing insecurity or foster care involvement.

Our Beliefs

We believe every person and animal deserves:

  • A clean, supportive, enriching and stress-free environment that promotes learning in positive ways.

  • A sense of purpose, choice and control.

  • Opportunities for social connection and support.

  • To enhance coping skills that will help them navigate the challenges of life.

The Hand2Paw Impact

In 2022…

100% of our Unleashing Opportunities interns found housing stability (up from 40% at start of program).

Hand2Paw youth and staff cared for 80 animals, adopting out 96% of our animals to loving homes!

Hand2Paw provided free pet food, supplies and resources to more than 140 community members and 235 pets in Philadelphia.

More Statistics

Serving Philadelphia Youth

Hand2Paw works with young people between the ages of 15 and 24 living in Philadelphia, from marginalized communities many of whom are experiencing housing insecurity, justice involvement and/or aging out of the foster care system.

Our program participants are likely to have faced adversity and life experiences that have significantly impacted their path toward adulthood, including, but not limited to:

  • Poverty
  • Trauma
  • Oppression
  • Exposure to violence
  • Lack of stable housing and family support
  • Mental health needs
  • Poverty
  • Trauma
  • Oppression
  • Exposure to violence
  • Lack of stable housing and family support
  • Mental health needs

Many Philadelphia youth age out of the foster care system without a permanent placement—and approximately 40% face homelessness shortly thereafter.

By partnering with organizations that serve youth from marginalized communities, Hand2Paw is able to connect young people with employment opportunities and work in collaboration to meet the needs of the youth.

Helping Pets Find Furever Homes

During their time at Hand2Paw, youth work directly with staff members to help rescue, care for and train our animals. Youth also help lead community pet pantry events where community members receive free pet food and supplies and get connected with free and low-cost resources to help keep their pets healthy and happy.

Each year, Hand2Paw finds loving homes for dozens of animals and helps families keep their beloved pets safe at home—and out of shelters.

See Our Animals

“While there are many animal organizations, I support Hand2Paw because in addition to helping homeless animals, they also help Philly’s youth. Not only do these interns learn job skills, they learn compassion by working closely with animals and their communities. ”

—Geoff Schwartz, Donor

Hand2Paw Staff

Our daily operations are managed by a caring team with proven skills and an unwavering commitment to youth and animals.

Meet Our Staff

Board of Directors

Hand2Paw is overseen by an engaged board of directors, many of whom have backgrounds in social work, education and animal care and protection.

Meet Our Board

Help us do more.

Hand2Paw is a nonprofit that relies on the support of people like you. Help us create more paid, supportive job opportunities for youth in Philadelphia and find loving homes for animals in need.

Donate Now