Step One: Read The Student Handbook agreementS

Step Two: Sign and Fill Out The LEAP Application Form

 STEP One: Read the Student Handbook

Please read the below text in full before you continue to signing the form.


We are so excited to have you aboard and to guide you through this learning

This Handbook, and its included policies, sets out our expectations for your involvement in the LEAP internship program and ask that you and a parent or guardian both sign to acknowledge you have read and understand these expectations.

This Handbook also includes Agreements that must be signed before you may participate as a LEAP Intern. This includes a required liability waiver form and a photo release form. Please review these documents with your parents, any professionals your parents ordinarily consult, and sign all documents where indicated.

If you have any questions, please email



The program will run for the duration of the 2024-2025 school year. This program is not a form of employment and there should be no expectation of employment with any of the sanctuaries after completion of the program. Participants in this internship program are high school students who may later be eligible to compete for a scholarship upon completion of the following requirements during the above period. In order to qualify, an intern must complete each of the following:

  • Interns must complete at least 9 hours of programming each month, including monthly LEAP education sessions, hands-on workshops, and other hands-on activities at their designated Sanctuary or within the community helping wild, domestic, or farmed animals or the environment (hours to be signed off with a supervisor). Only one session may be missed in order to be eligible to participate in competitive scholarship projects during the second semester.
  • Interns must attend a five hour day once a month which includes: a classroom curriculum session followed by a plant-based lunch, and a hands-on workshop in person at their designated Sanctuary (day varies by Sanctuary). Additionally, interns must participate in a minimum of four service hours monthly (for eight months) at their designated Sanctuary or in with permission from their sanctuary at community outreach, wildlife conservation, environmental clean-up, and/or education events (days and times vary by Sanctuary and community non profits).
  • Interns must respond to requests three times per year (start of the program, mid year and end-of-year), in the form of short surveys and intro/exit interviews for feedback about the program and agree to have their responses published by LEAP in online and print materials.
  • Interns understand and agree to learn about sensitive and sometimes emotionally troubling topics regarding animal agriculture and exploitation, and view materials such as but not limited to documentaries, articles, images, and personal anecdotes about animal abuse, mental and physical harm, and neglect.
  • Interns must agree to be photographed and video recorded during their time in LEAP and have said photos, videos, interviews, and quotations shared to the website, social media channels, print materials, and blogs of LEAP and participating sanctuaries.

The above are the baseline requirements to receive a certificate of completion from the LEAP program and to apply to compete for end-of-year scholarships through the LEAP Project competition. To get the most out of the program, interns should be active participants in all sessions, contributing to discussions, asking questions, being willing to lend a hand, and being respectful of all other interns, staff, and volunteers.



While each Sanctuary may have additional policies around conduct, safety, and otherwise to share with you, below are common expectations of you in your participation in the internship program. Failure to follow LEAP or Sanctuary policies may result in disciplinary action, which would typically start with warnings, but repeat or egregious offenses may result in removal from the program.



LEAP interns are expected to abide by all work rules and standards and to avoid conduct that is detrimental to LEAP and participating sanctuaries. Following is a list of examples of conduct that is not permitted. The examples set forth below represent the type of conduct that you must avoid, but this is not an exhaustive list of all impermissible conduct. Any conduct that adversely affects LEAP and participating sanctuaries or the intern’s performance or is otherwise detrimental to LEAP and participating sanctuaries may also result in disciplinary action including, but not limited to, termination from the LEAP program. Impermissible conduct includes, but is not limited to,

  • Failure to follow safety regulations.
  • Abuse of animals
  • Bullying
  • Excessive absenteeism or tardiness.
  • Using Sanctuary property, equipment, and resources for unauthorized purposes.
  • Failing to report injuries or damage to, or an accident involving, Sanctuary equipment.
  • Horseplay that results in personal injury or equipment damage.
  • Spreading malicious rumors.
  • Engaging in vulgar or abusive language or conduct toward others.
  • Using communication systems inappropriately.
  • Treating supervisors, staff, LEAP participants, volunteers, donors, or customers in a discourteous, inattentive, or unprofessional manner.
  • Dishonesty, including but not limited to deception, fraud, lying, cheating, embezzlement, or theft.
  • Insubordination.
  • Violation of the anti-harassment policy.
  • Violation of safety or health rules or engaging in conduct that creates a safety or health hazard.
  • Violating the anti-violence policy.
  • Conviction of a criminal offense involving moral turpitude.



LEAP and participating sanctuaries are committed to maintaining an environment where LEAP interns and Sanctuary staff and volunteers can work comfortably and effectively. This includes an atmosphere free of harassment and unwelcome behavior on the part of others. This includes sexual harassment (which includes harassment based on pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions) and harassment based on gender, gender identity, and gender expression, as well as harassment based on such factors as race, color, religion or religious creed (including religious dress and grooming practices), national origin (including language use), ancestry, citizenship, age, physical or mental disability, medical condition or information, genetic characteristics or information, family care or medical leave status (including denial of family care or medical leave), military caregiver status, military status, veteran status, marital status, domestic partner status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, enrollment in a public assistance program, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local laws.

LEAP and participating sanctuaries strongly disapprove of and will not tolerate harassment of LEAP interns, Sanctuary employees or volunteers by LEAP interns or Sanctuary’s employees or volunteers.

If you believe you have been harassed by a fellow LEAP intern, Sanctuary staff or volunteers, or any individual on your Sanctuary’s premises, you are encouraged to bring this matter promptly to the attention of your Sanctuary supervisor or to LEAP program staff, who will thoroughly and promptly investigate any such allegations and determine an appropriate course of action.

Harassment includes verbal, physical, and visual conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile working environment or that interferes with work performance. Such conduct constitutes harassment when (1) submission to the conduct is made either an explicit or implicit condition of employment; (2) submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for an employment decision; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.

Harassing conduct can take many forms and includes, but is not limited to: LEAP Intern Verbal harassment, e.g., jokes, epithets, derogatory comments, or slurs (on the basis of sex, race, national origin, sexuality, gender, gender identity, etc.);

Physical harassment, e.g., assault, impeding or blocking movement, or any physical interference with normal work or movement when directed at an individual (on the basis of sex, race, national origin, sexuality, gender, gender identity, etc.);

Visual harassment, e.g., derogatory posters, cartoons, or drawings (on the basis of sex, race, national origin, sexuality, gender, gender identity, etc.); and

Sexual favors, e.g., unwanted sexual advances which condition employment upon an exchange of sexual favors.

This list is not a complete list of what may be deemed to be harassment under the law. As a general guideline, however, problems in this area can be avoided if we act professionally and treat each other with respect.

If any LEAP intern encounters conduct which he or she believes is inconsistent with this policy, the conduct should be reported immediately to your Sanctuary supervisor and/or LEAP program staff. Any supervisor or manager who is aware of conduct inconsistent with this policy or who receives a report of conduct inconsistent with this policy is to report it immediately to the LEAP program staff so that it can be investigated in a timely manner.

All reports of conduct that are inconsistent with this policy will be addressed through a fair, timely, and thorough investigation. Investigations will be conducted by qualified personnel in a prompt and impartial manner and will be documented and tracked. During an investigation, LEAP and/or the Sanctuary may need to put interim measures in place, such as a leave of absence or a transfer, while the investigation proceeds. Confidentiality will be maintained to the fullest extent possible, subject to the need to conduct a thorough investigation. LEAP and the Sanctuary will not tolerate retaliation against any LEAP intern or Sanctuary staff for cooperating in an investigation or making a complaint of harassment. If it is determined that a violation of this policy or other inappropriate conduct has occurred, LEAP and the Sanctuary will take appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.



LEAP feels it is important that interns, and their Parents/Guardians understand that there are inherent risks associated with volunteering at animal sanctuaries. This liability waiver lists some, but not all, of these risks as it is not possible predict all eventualities. All involved – the sanctuary and the intern – will work to minimize these risks, making them far less likely to occur, and yet, notwithstanding these efforts or sometimes because of the failure of these efforts, the risks will still exist. By signing this waiver, you agree to relinquish, to the fullest extent possible under the law, any legal rights you or your successors may have should any such risk become a reality.

The dangers and inherent risks can include but are not limited to, the following: Terrain hazards include, but are not limited to, slips/trips/falls and other injuries from wet slippery floor surfaces/ kennels or equipment; injuries resulting from cage doors, equipment, and similar surfaces or items; hitting heads on objects such as cage doors/kennel walls/hose boxes, and similar spaces/objects/surfaces; and water or cleaners sprayed in eyes. Other hazards include injury that may result from contact with animals, such as scratches, bites, and allergic reactions; and zoonotic illnesses (human illnesses or diseases that may be contracted from disease carrying animals), flea, tick bites, ring work infestation, and internal or external parasites. Injuries related to lifting animals, food, litter or equipment, injuries caused from grooming equipment such as clipper blades, shears, driers, exposure to cleaners, latex gloves, bleach, parasite control products, are other dangers and inherent risks. There is also a risk of serious bodily harm and injury, loss of and damage to personal property and even death from contact with large animals.

ASSUMPTION OF INHERENT RISKS. I, the Parent/Guardian, have read the preceding paragraphs informing and reminding me of the dangers and inherent risks associated with volunteering at an animal sanctuary. I understand that all volunteer work and activities include inherent risks that cannot be eliminated regardless of the care taken by LEAP and Participating Sanctuaries. I know, understand, and appreciate the types of injuries inherent in volunteer work and activities. I hereby assert that participation of my minor is voluntary and the parent/guardian and intern knowingly assume all inherent risks of volunteering.

WAIVER OF LIABILITY FOR ORDINARY NEGLIGENCE OF LEAP AND PARTICIPATING SANCTUARIES AND ANY ASSOCIATED INDIVIDUALS. In consideration of permission to participate in the LEAP internship program, today and on all future dates I, the Parent/Guardian, on behalf of myself, my minor, my spouse, heirs, executors, administrators, personal or legal representatives, and assigns (hereafter referred to as Releasing Parties) do hereby waive, release, covenant not to sue and discharge LEAP, any linked organizations, board members, employees, other volunteers, independent contractors, participating sanctuaries, individuals affiliated with participating sanctuaries, and any other organizational partners (hereafter referred to as the Protected Parties) from liability from any and all claims, demands, and actions of every name and nature including those arising from (1) the ordinary NEGLIGENCE of LEAP or other Protected Parties and/or arising from (2) the presence of my minor Intern on the premises of LEAP associated properties.

This Assumption of Risk, Waiver, and Indemnity Agreement, applies to, but is not limited to, any of the following:

Illnesses, personal injury (including death), and/or economic loss to the Intern arising from participation in the LEAP internship program. Any and all claims resulting from the damage to, loss of, or theft of property. The release of LEAP from any claims and rights that Inters may have against LEAP now or in the future.

INDEMNIFICATION AGREEMENT. I, the Parent/Guardian, also agree to hold harmless, defend, and indemnify LEAP and other Protected parties (that is, defend and pay any judgment and costs, including investigation costs, attorney’s fees, and related expenses) from any and all claims of Releasing Parties or others acting on behalf of the Intern, arising from participating in LEAP Internship Program or presence on the premises, (including those arising from the inherent risks of the activity or the ordinary negligence of Protected Parties). I further agree to hold harmless, defend, and indemnify LEAP and Protected Parties against any and all claims of co-participants, and others arising from the conduct of the intern while on the premises utilized for the Internship Program.

CLARIFYING CLAUSES. I, the Parent/Legal Guardian confirm that:

1. I understand that the LEAP Intern Handbook and Agreements include the entire agreement between LEAP and me and that these cannot be modified or changed in any way by representations or statements by any agent or employee of LEAP.

2. This Assumption of Risk, Liability Waiver, and Indemnification Agreement is intended to be as broad and inclusive as is permitted by the law and that if any portion thereof is held invalid, it is agreed that the balance shall continue in full legal force and effect.

3. If legal action is brought, either the appropriate state trial court for San Francisco, CA, or the United States District Court for the has the sole and exclusive jurisdiction and that only the substantive laws of the State of California shall apply.

4. I, the Parent/Legal Guardian agrees to the following regarding the named minor(s) (and parent to the extent relevant):
a. Understand it is unwise to be near animals alone without a Sanctuary employee.
b. Know that I should let one or more persons know where I go when I separate from groups and am not in sight of Sanctuary employees or other Interns.
c. Possesses no health problems or physical disabilities that would make LEAP Internship Program participation unwise or risk injury.

6. Rules and Safety. The Parent/Legal Guardian and minor(s) agree to the following:
a. To wear appropriate footwear; and any other recommended safety gear.
b. To follow all rules of LEAP and Participating Sanctuaries.
c. That LEAP has authority to restrict my minor’s participation if it endangers them, other Interns, or the Participating Sanctuary.
d. Understands injury or death can occur while working with animals at the Sanctuaries and assumes all risks with the care of and work with animals at the Sanctuaries and all other Sanctuary volunteer work.

7. Medical Care. The Parent/Legal Guardian and minor(s) agree to the following:
a. Authorizes the use of first aid or CPR if deemed necessary.
b. Authorizes LEAP to secure emergency medical care and transport if deemed necessary.
c. Agrees to assume all cost of emergency care and transportation.

8. Vaccination. The Parent/Legal Guardian and minor(s) agree to the following:
a. I am fully compliant with all recommendations, local and national, regarding vaccination.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF UNDERSTANDING. I, the Adult Participant have read this Agreement and understand that I am giving up substantial rights, including my right to sue for damages in the event of death, injury, or loss. I acknowledge that I am voluntarily signing this agreement, and intend my signature to be a complete release of all liability, including that due to the INHERENT RISKS of being on an animal sanctuary and in close proximity to animals as well as the ORDINARY NEGLIGENCE of the Protected Parties, to the greatest extent allowed by law.

I acknowledge that I have received and reviewed the above and understand the commitment of participation in the LEAP Program.



LEAP, the participating sanctuaries, grantors, and partners (collectively, “LEAP”) will take photos and videos during LEAP activities for use in promotional materials, on social media channels, and the website for LEAP and those of participating sanctuaries, which may include, but is not limited to, publication of the name, likeness, and appearance of LEAP interns (the “Materials”).

By authorizing LEAP, I, the parent or guardian of the LEAP participant, agree that in exchange for good and valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency which is hereby acknowledged, I give my permission for such use and publicity for such purposes.

LEAP shall be the exclusive owner of all rights, including copyright, in the Materials. I waive any right to inspect or approve the Materials.

To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, I hereby release LEAP and its officers, agents, employees, and licensees, and anyone connected with them, from any claims, damages, injuries, or liability arising from this release, any photograph or video, or the use or publication of photos, videos or images. I understand that LEAP is relying on this Agreement and will incur significant expense in reliance on this Agreement, and I agree that this Agreement cannot be terminated, rescinded, or modified, in whole or in part.

Parents/guardians please initial and fill out the contact information below if you grant permission for use of the LEAP participant’s image as described above.

 STEP Two: Sign and Apply

Timeline: 2024-2025 applications open summer of ’24!

Note: LEAP Timeline Varies By Sanctuary

Please refer to the sanctuary you have applied with for the LEAP curriculum timeline.