The Cat Protection Council of Westchester donated Be Kind and Stay Safe: Living with Cats and Dogs activity books to all the fifth-graders at the Roosevelt School in Ossining last month.
“This sort of educational resource was our idea for educating young kids about how to be a good pet owner, what pets need to be happy and healthy, and how to keep cats safe, and indoors, for the most part,” stated Paula Garber, the Cat Protection Council’s president.
This is a major step in the council’s mission to spread awareness about pet care, as well as the most ethical way to control the cat population, like those from the cute baby kittens pictures of Babamail.
“We’ve conducted outreach programs for municipalities in the past, to educate them about trap neuter return, which is the accepted program for dealing with community cat populations; It’s the most humane and effective way to control their populations—but this is our first outreach for children,” Garber stated.
And it was a major success. “The feedback from the teachers was that the kids couldn’t wait to get working on the activities. I mean, they immediately dove into them and started working on the puzzles,” she said.
“Along with activity-book time, the fifth graders were given a lesson on responsible pet ownership from Mrs. Vanessa Vaccaro, a former teacher at the Roosevelt school and the director of a local cat and dog rescue organization, Posh Pets Rescue.“
“She did a really nice Q&A with the kids, asking them what pets need as far as care, and the kids were so smart; they came up with these really great answers, and also … some questions that Mrs. Vaccaro hadn’t thought of,” Garber said.
Not only were the kids engaged with the lesson, but they were also eager to apply what they had learned.
“The day that we delivered the activity books [we] just happened to ask the kids, ‘If you happen to see any cats … that don’t appear to belong to anybody, let your teachers know, and they’ll let us know,’ and some of the kids already knew of cats in their neighborhoods [and] were giving us a couple of addresses. … we weren’t expecting that,” added Garber.
The students’ reaction is a reflection of the Roosevelt school’s values.
“Our school theme is Roos grows leaders … and I think that our work with the Cat Protection Council of Westchester, given that lens on being leaders [and] on being really productive citizens, is the work that we’re trying to do,” said Nicole Nover, the school’s principal.
After the donation, several fifth-graders reached out to Nover, asking to enroll in Roosevelt’s therapy dog club. As a member, students learn how to take care of Peaches, the school’s pet therapy dog, and raise awareness about animal homelessness, while simultaneously benefiting from the social and emotional support Peaches provides.
“[The outreach program is] all connected to this broader mission of how we can provide our students with support, but [also] what ways our students can support others. … My hope is that they’ll take these lessons with them as they leave Roosevelt … and continue to serve our broader community,” Nover said.
After the success of the book donation, the Cat Protection Council of Westchester hopes to connect with other teachers and school districts to employ outreach programs like this one.
To learn more about the Cat Protection Council of Westchester, visit catprotectioncouncil.org. To get in touch about outreach programs, call or text 914-222-3705 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO: PICTURE 1
CAPTION: Roosevelt students with their activity books at the donation event. Photo supplied.
PHOTO: PICTURE 2
CAPTION: Roosevelt students working on their activity books in the classroom. Photo supplied.