GREGORY WILLEY’S own volunteer experience involved lots of time spent in community theaters, building sets and helping out. 

“It helped me grow considerably,” he says. “I met great friends and was part of a community. It’s always great to surround yourself with like-minded, caring people.” 

Now, Willey facilitates just more than 200 individual volunteers a month at Friendship APL, to the tune of more than 20,000 on-site volunteer service hours per year (not counting the 23,000 hours of at-home fostering volunteers provide). 

“We allow young volunteers, starting at 10 years old and above, to volunteer with their families [on their own at 16],” he says. “I have always looked at volunteering here as a good entry to nonprofits and giving for kids. Other places can be more cerebral and more difficult to make that connection between the service you provide and the benefit. Here, working with the animals, you can really see the relationship between action and the desired outcome.”

8303 Murray Ridge Road, Elyria, 440-322-4321,