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Arizona Humane Society: Build-A-Bear Youth Humane Education Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

In September, the Arizona Humane Society (AHS) received a Petfinder Foundation Build-A-Bear Workshop Humane Education grant valued at $7,500. AHS used this grant to support AHS’s existing humane education programs for kids ages 6-14 in a positive way. Specifically, grant funds have been used to support the core operating costs of AHS’s Compassion in the Classroom (after-school), Reading Fur Fun (previously called Telling Tails) and our Animal Adventure camp program, which now offers year-round mini-camp sessions.

With the generously given funds, we were able to purchase program supplies for our classroom/after-school program ($2,500). This program teaches under-served youth empathy and compassion toward animals as well as scientific basics that can lead them to a career with animals.

In addition, we were able to purchase supplies to support and improve our existing reading program ($2,500).

Funds not used to purchase supplies and equipment were used to support staff time spent developing a curriculum for our classroom/after-school program, as well as staff time spent running our humane education programs ($2,500).

Thanks to the generous support of the Petfinder Foundation and Build-A-Bear Workshop, AHS was able to help youth connect with not only AHS shelter pets but pets within their immediate communities. Educating youth allows us to support the animals in our care in addition to teaching the next generation proper pet care, compassion, and advocacy, thus helping our organization make an impact on future communities, making our neighborhoods a better place to be a pet and hopefully reducing the number of homeless pets.

Our Reading Fur Fun program participants not only read to shelter pets but they also create enrichment items and provide much-needed socialization for pups looking for their forever families. Providing companionship and enrichment for pets in the stressful shelter environment is vital to their mental and physical health.

In addition, in our humane education partnership with the primarily Title 1 Washington Elementary School District, students learn about basic animal anatomy and how to best care for pets with compassion and kindness, as well as how to be advocates for animals within their communities. By reaching children in underserved communities, we are not only able to teach them about the joy of pets but to also be a voice for animals in need within their neighborhoods.

The large number of humane education programs offered by AHS and supported by your generous grant allows us to change the future of animals, starting with tomorrow’s leaders.

How many pets did this grant help?

This grant helped 13,135 youth learn about how to be kind to animals in the past year through our youth humane education programs. AHS anticipates that, thanks to the Petfinder Foundation’s support, we will be able to help a similar number of youth in the coming year become animal lovers and adoption advocates.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Chrissy (first photo), a graduate of the Arizona Humane Society’s behavior-modification program, not only became confident in her own behavior, but she learned how to dial, gauge, and adjust play style to individual dogs, helping other dogs come out of their shells. Over several months, Chrissy interned with our Behavior Department, serving our Humane Education programs as an animal ambassador at our Compassion in the Classroom program. Through this, Chrissy showed students how to be kind to animals and served as a chaperone at a Girl Scout event at our Nina Mason Pulliam Campus for Compassion.

Thanks to your support, Chrissy helped several classes of students learn about kindness and compassion toward animals, and will continue to help other dogs and people in need. One Love Pit Bull Foundation, a local organization that helps pit bull-type dogs in Maricopa County, realized Chrissy’s potential and has taken her on to train and certify her as an official therapy dog. Once she achieves her certification, she will be placed in a very special forever home where she will assist someone in need.

In addition to Chrissy’s story, we wanted to share with you some of the feedback that we received from students who were able to participate in our Animal Adventure Camp thanks to the support of the Petfinder Foundation. Students loved participating in this camp and some of their favorite parts were being able to learn about how to care for and hold shelter pets:

The best part of Animal Adventure Camp was:
“The kittens! Holding the kittens!”
“Seeing Kay! I will remember Elvis the dog!”
“Playing with the kittens and making them toys!”
“The best part of camp was petting all the animals.”

Thank you, Petfinder Foundation and Build-A-Bear workshop, for helping us create a future generation that values kindness and compassion toward all animals. We couldn’t do what we do without your support!

Further Reading