Charleston Animal Society: Build-A-Bear Youth Humane Education Grant
In the 2017 school year, the Humane Education programs of Charleston Animal Society taught 2,105 school children compassion, cruelty-prevention and responsible pet ownership concepts. The Pet Buddies elementary program and high school Veterinary Science Initiative (VSI) partner with public school teachers, resulting in student action redeeming 58 (34 dog and 24 cat) BARK scholarships for free spay and neuter of their family pets. This success is a direct result of children advocating program lessons learned to their families. The high school VSI program reached 555 students using a curriculum including challenging topics such as ethics in euthanasia, animal cruelty and observing surgeries in a field trip to the shelter. 70% of student participants reported that the VSI program changed their ideas about science.
The Humane Education programs are specifically requested by teachers and guidance counselors in the schools. We believe that creating a kinder community contributes to the health of all. Charleston Animal Society works in Title One schools (schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families) throughout the Charleston area. The popularity of the VSI program offered in zoology and biology classrooms means that it is slated to expand to a third area high school in the spring of 2018. Children are inspired to be good guardians to their pets. We believe that each child taught can make a difference in the community by encouraging others with the tools they've been given, both the BARK scholarships as well as the talking points learned.
At a minimum, the 58 (34 dogs, 24 cats) who were spayed or neutered by means of redemption of the BARK Scholarship coupon given to children at the end of the programs.
The animals that benefited from this funding are family pets and neighbors' animals of the schoolchildren who participate in humane-education opportunities offered by Charleston Animal Society in public schools. Children learned useful skills such as bite-prevention, the impact of overpopulation and the value of volunteering at the shelter. The photos show children engaged in activities promoting cruelty-prevention and compassion towards each other and animals.