Animal Friends of the Valley employs four new staff members

Animal Friends of the Valleys has hired four new staff members in the past three months to fill vacant positions.

The new hires are Donor Development and Programs Supervisor Christine Antonelli, Fundraising and Event Coordinator Tiffany Young and Volunteer Coordinators Michelle King and Sharyl Nowick. Antonelli, Young and King are Temecula residents and Nowick lives in Wildomar.

“I’ve been here for about a month,” Antonelli said. She’s responsible for overseeing AFV’s foster care, rescue, volunteer and humane education programs as well as its fundraising efforts and special events. She’s a former nurse with a management background and experience as a volunteer in the non-profit sector.  

“I’m here to find donors who want to partner with us to help raise awareness and funds to help the shelter,” she explained.

Antonelli, who loves animals and has a dog, said she calls and networks out in the community to find donors.  Sometimes her job is made easier by people who directly contact AFV to donate.  

“We have a lot of people that come to us because they’ve heard of us and want to get involved,” she said.

Young is a part-time employee. Antonelli said Young spends most of her work hours out in the community seeking businesses to participate in AVF’s four annual fundraising events.  Those events are Wines for Canines and Kitties, Fore the Animals Golf Tournament, Save Our Strays Poker Run and Paws on the Promenade Spooktalular. She’s responsible for planning the events and gathering all the sponsors, vendors and donations for them.

King and Nowick also work part-time and job share. Antonelli said it’s their duty to gives tasks to volunteers and supervise them to make sure that everything that needs to be done is completed.  

Antonelli commented that volunteers are vital to AFV because they help operate the shelter every day and make its environment less depressing. “It’s a very upbeat, positive shelter and our volunteers help with that,” she said.  

Each weekday the shelter has about 10 volunteers, according to Antonelli.  On Saturdays that number can increase up to 40 because lots of teens volunteer for community service.  Additionally, there are even more volunteers who work outside the shelter. Some of their jobs include running AFV’s cattery at the Temecula Petco, taking therapy dogs to visit seniors and helping at fundraising events.  

Antonelli said two standout AFV volunteers are Lake Elsinore residents Jorge Alonso and his 15-year-old daughter Alexis. “They’re here all the time,” she said. “They’re very dedicated.”  The Alonsos have been volunteering since June.

“I just love animals. They relax me and they’re fun,” said Jorge, who’s semi-retired. He was volunteering on a recent Thursday morning inside the shelter’s cattery. He came by himself that day because his daughter was back in school. The Alonso family has four dogs, one cat, two birds and seven fish.

Antonelli, Young and other staff are busy preparing for AFV’s next major fundraiser, which is Paws on the Promenade Spooktalular. The Halloween event is set for Sat., Oct. 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Promenade Mall in Temecula. 

“We want to encourage people to come and participate and also businesses to participate,” Antonelli said.

For more information, call AFV at (951) 674-0618 or visit

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