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The Humane Society and Animal Rescue of Muskegon County: Build-A-Bear Youth Humane Education Grant Report

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

We used this grant to support our child-education program. We purchased 600 children's animal-education books to distribute after our lessons. We also purchased animal-care items we use when we take our animals into classrooms, such as harnesses, collars, leashes, and Kongs. Then we purchased items to assist us when we do outdoor and indoor lesson groups; projector, screen, tent, tables. We have been using these items and it has made a world of difference with this program.

This grant gave us the opportunity to professionalize our children's-education program and grow the impact it will have in our community. We are now equipped to give 600 children an animal-care book of their own after our lessons. Many of the children at the schools we visit are from poverty-stricken areas and they do not have any books of their own; a large majority of them have also never had any interaction with animals. So the impact we have on them is priceless. Now that school has officially started, we have classrooms booked all the way into next summer. Through this program, shelter dogs and cats get the opportunity to enter classrooms, socialize and teach the children and staff, which has both produced adoptions through the staff but also increased the adoptability of our animals when they come back to the shelter. We believe the impact we have on children will change the future for the homeless-animal population in our community and beyond.

How many pets did this grant help?


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

Many of the children we visit have never interacted with animals; their initial reaction is usually fear, then curiosity, then understanding and love. The transition of their emotions and growing understanding of animals is astounding and inspiring. My favorite story is when we brought a litter of kittens into a first-grade classroom. Many of the children had never seen a kitten before, but one boy in particular recalled seeing stray cats in his neighborhood and that he thought all cats lived in the woods on their own. We then were able to introduce all the kittens to the class and let the children hold them. We explained that cats and dogs live in homes and require love and care just like children. We played games about what animals and children need and how they are similar. After class, the boy came up to me and said he wants to help that stray cat by his house because it needs love and a home like him. This is the exact impact we want to make. We need the children to grow up and be the change in the community in order to help the future homeless animals in their communities.

Further Reading