Helotes Humane Society: Build-A-Bear Youth Humane Education Grant
The awarded funds were used to purchase educational materials for elementary-school children in the form of coloring books. These books covered topics including:
Owning a Pet - A job for the whole family
Doggie Do's and Don'ts - Dog Safety and You
Pets Are Family Too
... among other titles. Some are in Spanish. We also purchased bookmarks and materials to use during our annual "Be Kind to Animals" Poster Contest for kids.
We live in a rapidly growing community which is seeing a large influx of families and pets moving in. There is a growing need to help educate our community about the importance of responsible pet ownership. We receive many calls each week from people wanting to surrender their pets, who have lost a pet, or who are looking for low-cost services. We want to reduce the number of animals being surrendered. By helping to educate the children, we hope to instill a sense of caring and responsibility in them when they are still young that will carry over to their adult lives.
The materials we are distributing also gives parents a conversation starter with their children about animal-related topics that are important to them and their family. Because some of these titles are in Spanish, we are able to reach a segment of the community that might have been overlooked.
Making people more responsible for their pets helps the pets in our care by reducing the burden on our organization to take in so many homeless and stray dogs and cats. It also enlightens our community about our mission and our need for continued funding.
This Youth Humane Education Program grant did not directly impact pets, but we did already reach more than 500 elementary-age children with these materials. We expect to reach many more before we exhaust our supply.
This grant was targeting youth for humane-education purposes. We have been able to distribute our materials at three separate events so far. The first was a talk to a local elementary school class of kindergarten-age children. The second was at Ward Elementary School's annual Trunk or Treat festival during Halloween. We gave out more than 500 copies of the books and bookmarks to children attending. At the local Children's Lighthouse learning center for preschool children, we distributed coloring books and and took adoptable animals for them to view. This coming weekend we will also be attending a fall festival at a local church, where books will be distributed. We will also be speaking to the parents there about our mission and our adoptable pets.