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Humane Society of Huron Valley: Build-A-Bear Youth Humane Education Grant Report

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

HSHV’s Humane Education Department has been fortunate to see continued growth and success through the last half of 2015. From Jan. 1–Nov. 30, 2015, we have provided education to more than 3,812 adults and youth in our community. We have provided 38 offsite presentations to local schools, groups and organizations. Onsite we have had 223 new Junior Volunteers join our team, hosted 29 birthday parties and have had 44 community groups in for tours and/or field trips. We are also fortunate that volunteers, both adult and youth, have dedicated 7,618 service hours to the humane education department this year. The community has been very supportive of our programs and 2015 is a wonderful year for humane education.

HSHV offers a six-session Junior Volunteers program to help youth engage in and learn about volunteer opportunities at our shelter. Working alongside our Humane Educator, Volunteer Coordinator and a mentor volunteer, youth in the J.V. program attended six training sessions in which they learned about animal-welfare issues, building empathy for animals and humans and different procedures and safety precautions for working with and caring for animals. Each session consisted of a 45-minute educational session and 75 minutes of onsite volunteer time. During the educational portion, Junior Volunteers focused on animal-welfare issues in our community and will learned about ways in which they can help animals. Upon completion of all six sessions, certified Junior Volunteers had various opportunities to volunteer at HSHV in positions such as puppy socialization, cat comforting, animal enrichment, dog training, humane education and customer care.

Currently, we have 325 active Junior Volunteers and we evaluate monthly to determine our retention rate and assess whether changes need to be made to the program. The mentors and staff who assist with the Junior Volunteers program are also a part of our evaluation process through weekly meetings and discussions in which they offer feedback on the success of our Junior Volunteers.

With the help of the Petfinder Foundation grant, we have been fortunate to provide 19 youth with scholarships to participate in this program. We are so grateful to be able to provide this opportunity to families in financial need and have several
youth from our at-risk programming join our Junior Volunteer team after being awarded a scholarship. We were very happy to welcome two of the youth we work with at the Washtenaw Juvenile Detention Center to our JV team after they applied for a scholarship.

Camp PAWS is an educational and fun program that is offered at HSHV throughout the summer as well as during holiday and seasonal breaks from school. This program provides various weeks of camps that are geared towards different age groups, ranging from ages 4-11. The curriculum is tied in with educational standards and explores animal welfare and environmental ethics from a fun and hands-on approach. Through animal interactions, educational lessons, crafts, games, field trips and visits from local rescue groups, children learn how to care for and respect animals and our environment

Through past evaluations, Camp PAWS has shown to be an effective humane education program and we are fortunate that so many youth are able to attend. We do recognize that some families many not have the financial means to register their children for camp and we are happy to have had the resources to provide scholarships for many families in need. We have currently awarded 11 families a full scholarship for Camp PAWS this year. It has been a great experience to support youth who want to learn more about animals, but just do not have the financial means to do so.

How many pets did this grant help?

1+

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

With so many new programs developing and the high demand for humane education programming, our staff are almost fully consumed with running revenue generating programming here at the shelter. With the support of the Petfinder Foundation grant, we were able to increase staffing in order to continue to develop some of our most impactful programming.

One program we were able to resume due to the grant funding was our work with the Washtenaw County Juvenile Detention Center youth. We now have staff who visit the facility twice a month to provide humane education lessons and a shelter dog visit to youth ages 14-17.

We were also able to develop onsite programming for our youngest learners through our program called Little Paws Story Time. Although we previously held this program at an offsite location, with the support of the grant we were able to dedicate staff to designing and developing the program further to expand our humane education reach. After just four sessions of this program we have a consistent audience of 10-12 children, with many families returning week after week.

With the support of our staffing, we have also been able to provide additional sessions of popular programming as well as allow for more children to attend each program. We added one day sessions of Camp PAWS for the school break days and also have family evening events every other month.

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