Cause Areas


It's flexible! We'll work with your schedule.


101 Healing Farm LaneMill Spring (near Asheville), NC 28756

Come nourish your soul by caring for these beautiful animals, and helping people to heal their hearts and minds in the process.



The Animal Crew Support volunteer position provides the unique opportunity to be an integral part of this therapeutic farm community. We are looking for an experienced, kind, sensitive, and hard-working individual that is interested in supporting people with emotional health conditions while caring for animals on the farm. As the Animal Crew volunteer you will be immersed in all aspects of animal husbandry while working side-by-side with residents. There is a wide range of animals on the farm including alpacas, llamas, sheep, goats, bunnies, ponies, dogs, cats, and chickens that you will care for each day. Other farm duties include fence and pasture maintenance such as building and repairing fences, etc.

  • The Animal Crew Support volunteer position is designed as a direct support to the residents who are in our program for healing. The person filling this role will spend roughly 20 hours of their week working with a crew of residents to accomplish various farm tasks.
  • This position is also a working role, and as such your responsibilities will include accomplishing the "animal chores" assigned to you and the residents on the crew each day.
  • Participating in the social and community aspects of CooperRiis is encouraged for all staff and volunteers. The person filling this role will be encouraged to build relationships with all members of the community, and especially the residents on the Garden Crew.


  • The Animal Crew Support Volunteer role involves a 40-hour work week for an initial 6-month commitment, with the possibility of extending that commitment for longer (which many of our volunteers and interns choose to do).
  • This position comes with room-and-board, including a great meal plan, and a stipend of $250.
  • These volunteer stipends are not viewed as payment or compensation for your work, but as minimal support so that you can meet basic needs so that you are able to provide service as a full-time volunteer.


This individual will assist the Animal Crew Manager in leading the Animal Crew, caring for farm animals, and performing other farm related duties.

  1. Performs daily chores caring for animals and other farm duties as instructed by the Animal Crew Manager.
  2. Assists in leading residents on Animal Crew, as part of the Community Work and Service (CWS) Program.
  3. Participates in other CWS activities.
  4. Helps train and support residents in completing tasks during CWS.
  5. Ensures that residents are set up for success and safety.
  6. Acquires general knowledge of the residents’ recovery goals and helps each to address barriers and build their successes.
  7. Provides support to residents and encourages them to participate in the program.
  8. Assists in recording resident participation in CWS through the NextStep database.
  9. Participates in all staff trainings, meetings, and supervision as scheduled.
  10. Be present as an intentional member of the community.
  11. Performs other duties as assigned.
  12. Collaborates with Animal Crew Manager, CWS Director, Recovery Coordinators, Therapists, and other team members when more support is needed to perform duties as outlined above.


  • Basic knowledge of CWS, as oriented.
  • Knowledge of supplies and equipment used.
  • Knowledge, experience, and confidence with some or all of the animals listed above is helpful but not required.
  • Basic computer skills
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
  • Ability to work effectively as a member of a team.


  • Most work is performed outdoors in various weather conditions.
  • Strenuous physical effort required. Requires handling objects as well as animals up to 50 pounds or more, bending, standing, etc.
  • Work environment involves some exposure to physical risks, which require following basic safety precautions.


  • Communication, curiosity and patience are key skills
  • It does help to have some background working with farm animals, or something related, but this experience is not necessary if the individual is excited to learn and willing to work collaboratively with the Animal Crew manager.
  • Being able to work outside for the majority of the day is important. The work load is medium to heavy at times. Being mindful and proactive for the different seasons is a core expectation.
  • We are located in the foothills of NC, in the Upper Piedmont area, about an hour from both Greenville, SC and Asheville, NC. This is a rural country setting, and so it is recommended (but not required) that applicants have their own transportation available. Having a valid driver’s license for this position is also very helpful, but not absolutely required.


This position is UNPAID, with stipend and room/board.


Please send a brief letter of interest, including your best contact information and your current resume, to volunteers@cooperriis.org.


  • Animal Care / Handling
  • Veterinary
  • Mental Health
  • Animal Therapy
  • Counseling / Mental Health
  • Gardening

Good Match For

People 55+

Requirements & Commitment

  • Driver's License Needed
  • Background Check
  • Orientation or Training
  • Six months or longer
  • A willingness and desire to help empower people suffering with mental and emotional distress.

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