HOW TO START A HUMANE EDUCATION CLUB IN YOUR LOCAL SCHOOLS
Welcome, and thanks to all who visit this page. By learning the problems we face, how they came to be, their causes and society’s shortcomings, we can better appreciate the ways in which we all can help correct them. By forming a humane education club, you will learn much of this through your efforts and experiences. We are very proud of today’s youth who wish to learn, in order to help educate others.
Increasing the participation of students in community service has long been a goal in the United States. It was specifically included in the third National Education Goal for 2000, which states that all students will be involved in activities that promote and demonstrate good citizenship, good health, community service, and personal responsibility. To recognize those individuals who engage in community service and to encourage more young people to serve, the Presidential Student Service Challenge was established in 1999. This program honors student volunteers with awards and scholarships. For more information about this program, visit http://www.student-service-awards.org/ or write to President's Student Service Awards, P.O. Box 189, Wilmington, DE 19899-0189 or President's Student Service Scholarships, 1505 Riverview Road, P.O. Box 68, St. Peter, MN 56082.
Many of your students will express a high affinity for animals and a desire to act to help them. There are a number of ways you can assist your students in their efforts to help animals. Your local animal shelter may have a junior volunteer corps through which students can volunteer their time.
Many animal shelters also have wish lists. These are lists of items that the shelter needs, such as food, towels, newspaper, etc. If your local shelter has a wish list, your students could hold a drive for these items at school. If the shelter does not have such a list, your students could hold a towel drive (shelters always need towels), or have a bake sale, cat toy and dog treat sale, or other type of fundraiser to benefit the shelter. Penny harvests are a great idea and it is amazing how much money can be collected in this manner. Students can also make safe toys for the cats and treats for the dogs in the shelter.
Throughout this site you are provided with ideas and suggestions of projects, programs and ideas of how to help the community, your school and club get involved, learn and improve the relations humans have with each other and our companion animals.
This page is primarily to help your club:
*Obtain local and area media attention
*Involve the community in your efforts
*Join forces with other humane ed groups over the internet
*Ideas for events to inform, be seen & pass out flyers
*A complete list of ideas for community service projects at the bottom of the page.
We also want to help you garner additional memberships from various groups of students. We want the group to become an enjoyable social circle of all sorts of students. By having a set membership of only animal lovers, your group will not have the basis it needs to share the information it gains, with those who really need to hear it.
- Educate the community and how to accomplish this (must EDUCATE your members first!) This truly helps you organize the important issues as well as the need to be accurate in presenting them to others. Email Randy Warner email@example.com for help
- Help with community projects this helps bring notoriety to your organization for when you need to ask the community for its assistance or for donations.
Show the importance of voting This shows how apathy allows your representatives to vote on issues that truly affect you and your lives in many ways. Every ''problem'' we have in this country is basically attributed to apathy of one form or another.- Creative means of reducing the number of dogs and cats dying in your local facility, through adoptions in the paper, giving info on how to keep your pets, www.wonderpuppy.com/canwehelp/ is a great site for this. This brings the problems to the forefront of your members' thinking process. You've always 'heard' about the problems of overpopulation. SEEING with your own eyes will amaze you at the number of good, lovable pets who will die due to human egos and ignorance.
- Provide presentations to surrounding schools of any age students, This not only helps with communication skills, but with planning and especially public speaking
- Help other high schools form humane education clubs - can be done primarily over the internet or with occasional group meetings, This helps with organizational skills, professional persuasive skills which each student will need in order to get ahead in life. Most importantly by helping to form another humane education club, we all win by having additional people who are knowledgeable.
- Have an active, informative Website, This not only allows you to communicate your message and goals to others, but can help bring in a student from the computer class that wouldn't normal consider joining. Show your goals, your event dates and locations, your success stories, your needs, the problems of the community and how each resident can help in the solutions. (focus on what people can do without giving money) Everyone can learn a little about website design. Make sure they follow through with adding your site to some major search engines.
- Do off property adoptions, This is where you negotiate with the local dog pound to take some of their good adoptable animals who almost certainly face death, to a community location such as a park and give them one last chance for the residents to see what wonderful lives are available and otherwise would be lost to ignorance. This takes some considerable planning and effort, but brings unbelievable results as well as media attention to your club. Call 21st Century Cares for more details.
- Take three or four members to the home football game - each one of them caring for a dog that needs a home. (Alternate weeks with cats) providing you present this in a proper and professional manner, the school will likely grant permission. MAKE SURE YOU PROMISE TO AND THEN FOLLOW THROUGH WITH CLEAN UP DOG"S MESSES. Make sure the pets are very social and adoptable, before hand. Think ahead. This means that you will have to keep the pet inside your house for the night and return it to the pound the next day - hopefully to be adopted by someone who saw it at the game.
Each community has it's own parades. Devise a creative theme to take dogs in the parade that need to be adopted. (green water based polka dots on the dogs for the St Patricks’s Day Parade, or dress like the dogs, etc.) Have 2 students without dogs to have cans for donations and walk on either side of the street for coins and bills from the public.
- Have a booth at your county fair. This takes a lot of organization to man the booth for all the hours of the event. People will learn about you, they'll learn how to help their pet, they may wish to join, they may donate, and they may adopt a pet you have there. Make sure to bring plenty of Jim Willis’ written pieces along as hand-outs. You’ll need them when you hear how many people ‘had’ a pet until something ‘tragic’ happened. (the tragedy is likely going to prove their own ignorance)
- Saturday succor games, children's events, home and garden shows, pancake days, marathons and take a dog (who is a running/active type) to a health club to show the benefit and safety factor that is offered to a female jogger when accompanied by a good dog. Possibly get an adoption.
- Work to get members to be more community active, This will help the community to understand some of the many problems facing them, but will also see that there is much that should be done and that it is up to them and then only.
- VOTE. The single most likely reason we see so much distain and mistrust for elected officials is a lack of involvement on the part of the voters. An average of 33% of eligible voters actually vote. If you wish to make a difference in how your community, state of federal government handles issues such as animal overpopulation, taxes and all issues that affect your lives, you MUST VOTE!
- Work with legislation issues, Keep abreast of the issues and the candidates who are running for office. Get an interview with a local representative and ask some pointed questions about how they plan to help change come about in the animal issues. Then track them on their promises. Go to www.congress.org/
- Don’t be afraid to write letters. Find a cause or situation that needs attention from the public or your elected officials. Get a letter-writing campaign from students in your school and let your voices be heard. It does make a difference. Send copies to your local animal control, television stations and ALL newspapers.
- Help senior citizens and low-income families with their pets, Many senior citizens and low-income families have to relinquish a pet simply due to their inability to drive and obtain dog food or vet appointments. Once a month, you could pick up donated food from local pet stores and deliver it or make trips to vet with their pets. (This is not ONLY a charitable opportunity for your organization, but also an opportunity to help them improve the care of their pets.) We wouldn't make a trip for the food or to the vet if the family were not willing to make some minor, but necessary changes that would make their pet safer.
- Have fundraisers for local animal agencies or rescues. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Do NOT raise money for any animal group or agency that is unfriendly, working for an agenda not related to the animals or who isn’t clean or have a good adoption rate. Again, this helps in planning, money management, organizational skills and public relations
- Have periodic guest speakers from animal control and police dept to discuss problems they face in everyday life, Local police, animal control, humane organizations and many others would be happy to come speak at one of your meetings. This is suggested especially during your first 3-4 meetings, to help the newly formed group to assemble a better idea of what the community's needs are.
Write this up formally to become your platform and mission statement. Research bi-laws and platforms on the Internet
Have an art student design a logo that will work for letterhead and website and to shirts. Again, this helps to gain a member that may not have considered joining the group.
The cheerleaders could do a bake sale periodically and share the profits with your organization. They could take a dog or cat onto the field before the game to try and find a home for it.
The shop class could build some dog houses to be donated to the next 10 families who give a homeless pet a permanent, loving home.
The track team could take one day of practice and jog with dogs from the local pound who need homes. MEDIA LOVES THIS STUFF. Dogs and track team both get good excercize and you may find some more homes. (possibly a new member or two from the team.)
Have some creative writers write the opening statement, which will make others want to navigate through the site. You may also wish to have a form for new members, asking what they are good at and what they may wish to help with.
Have a math major design a tentative budget for the first year and possible means of raising those funds. As well as doing your best to include this math student in all future events in an attempt to have them join.
Have a business major write proposals for business to sponsor a free pizza night in exchange for a nice mention in the newspaper article, which will surely follow. After you've just held your first big community event, you should have had the local paper and TV station there and that is fairly easy to do if you know what you are doing. This will help in obtaining a 'pizza night' or other donations you may need, when the local businesses realize that by helping your group, they are likely to be recognized in the article that covers each event. That is free advertising to them.
Ask marketing people to come up with some good ideas to spread the word to other animal welfare clubs This could be students or local professional marketing people. This will help in gaining insight on how to get important messages across.
Be creative and try to gain membership from those who would not normally join a group such as this. They are really the ones who will benefit the most. This is where your social events and parties will come in handy after big events. Only members and their dates will receive invitations.
Call newspapers and local radio stations for stories on your new group. You’ll likely need to be doing something they can actually report on. You may even be able to get a TV station to come out if you are enthusiastic and motivated. Tell them you are trying to get other schools to do the same and you would like to challenge them.
See how to write a press release at www.21stcenturycares.org/prguide.htm
This will be one of the most important of all your duties. If you can't even share your learned information with those in your own school, then you would essentially be accomplishing little. Make certain you get no fewer than two nice front page articles in your school newspaper per school year, too. These articles should be hard hitting essays to tell the other students what you’ve done, why you’ve done it and what the entire student body should know in order to improve, but to at least be aware of these points. The written pieces I’ve provided to you by Jim Willis are wonderful stories with a much-needed message as well. Begin with any of the articles found on this site by Jim Willis or myself. Permission is given. Get the students to 'think' about what is happening. firstname.lastname@example.org is a good friend of mine and is the author of "PIECES OF MY HEART" which is wonderful reading for all in this club as well as great handouts at your booths and events. Also give to younger students you speak to. Ask that they read them after you leave and write an essay on how they think we can change these problems (teacher will possibly offer extra credit to them)
Have a 50’s party or dance and use the dogs as your invitation. We did this at the Anaheim Hilton in 1995 for a 50’s party and the girls here were the goodluck dogs for the gambling tables. What is difficult to see in this photo is that Maddy, on the left is wearing a “PEOPLE SKIRT” instead of a POODLE skirt..
You could set up a doggy walka thon for the local community. Proceeds to benefit the local animal org and your club. To publicize this, the track team could run dogs for the week prior with signs on the dogs to advertise. You could even bring a few dogs that need homes, in hopes they would get adopted. Get the track team members to consider joining. You do this by getting others involved and making your events and follow-up parties FUN.
A great and very successful idea is at www.21stcenturycares.org/cannes.htm
Make sure that you tell your members that learning the correct care for animals is only part of the goals, that they need to speak out when they see something questionable or wrong. Otherwise your knowledge is only helpful when the pet is YOURS. That is just to limiting for those poor animals that are suffering at the hands of ignorant humans.
Sometimes, there are events at your own school, which would generate income from a food booth, or the likes. Keep your eyes and ears open for any and all events in and around your general area – especially the school and it’s activities.
See what it would take to form a local doggy park in your community. That will be a long project and will take some follow-up, long after the students are on to college or other things. IT would become an ongoing project for the club. (To help maintain the park and clean it once a month)
Be as active in the community as your membership will allow. Make sure that all banks and veterinary offices have information about your club and it’s goals and objectives. Also, take a couple dogs to the local senior citizen centers for their enjoyment. It's just really fun for everyone. Leave brochures and tell them what you are doing. That is a wonderful way to get practice for public speaking. They love anything the youth do for and with them.
Make sure that events and projects are covered in the media with Public Service Announcements, These are 15-30 second commercials they all run free to help community organizations to publicize their upcoming events.
Don’t forget a newsletter. You may even include it with the local newspaper once a month or so. You can sell ad space to local businesses to cover the costs of printing and distribution. Check for prices on 10,000 for example and price out several 1" X 1" ads from dry cleaners, banks, other stores. Make sure the newsletter is professionally done and has YOUR information inside, not copied information from other animal newsletters. The locals want to know what you want to do. Let them know what you need and how they can help without giving cold cash. A lot of folks will give furniture, old computers, dog supplies, provide items or services for your events at no charge, etc.
For those who go to the schools:
HOPEFULLY YOUR BIGGEST GOAL IS TO GET OTHERS STARTED AS WELL. IT DOES NO GOOD IF WE ONLY EDUCATE 20 KIDS FROM THAT TOWN AND 22 FROM THIS TOWN. WE NEED TO GET THE WORD OUT TO EVERYONE AS BEST WE CAN. OF COURSE THE FOCUS IS ON 18YR AND UNDER, AS THOSE WHO ARE ABOVE THAT AGE HAVE ALREADY MADE CHOICES AND DECISIONS AND ARE DIFFICULT TO RE ADDRESS THESE ISSUES.
Ideas for Teachers and Students to do as a Classroom or Club
ORGANIZE A FUNDRAISER: Choose a humane society, animal shelter or rescue group to which to donate the proceeds of a bake sale, car wash, book sale or carnival. Contact the organization and ask them for general information to distribute to students and the public.
FORM A CLUB: Organize an animal club that meets weekly. Discuss animal-related topics, go on field trips and develop community service projects.
ORGANIZE AN ANIMAL AWARENESS WEEK: a school or community- wide animal awareness week will help get the message of kindness to animals heard.
GET THE COMMUNITY INVOLVED: Ask local businesses and the media to spread the word about caring about animals. Organize a dog walk or wash in your community and ask for donations or sponsorship.
VOLUNTEER: Volunteer your time at a local animal organization. They sure can use your help!
SPONSOR A SPEAKER: Invite an animal expert to speak at your school. Host the event in the evening, sell tickets and donate the proceeds to a local humane organization.
GIVE OUT INFORMATION: Man a table at school or in front of the local supermarket. Ask the community to sign a pact to be responsible pet owners. Display all the signatures at the local community center.
EDUCATE: Give out correct information about animals to help people become more informed and responsible.
BE CREATIVE: Perform a play, design a poster, create an animal bulletin board, make a quilt, write a newsletter or write a song about animals.
KEEP UP TO DATE: Read lots of books about animals. It will keep you knowledgeable and accurate.
BE RESPONSIBLE PET OWNERS: Show others how to be a responsible pet owner by example--be one yourself.
WRITE LETTERS: Write letters to lawmakers and the media expressing your concerns about animals and the environment.
ORGANIZE A DRIVE: Organize a toy, towel or animal food drive in your community. Put a marked container in a high traffic area for people to see. Give the collected items to an animal organization.
Always know that I will be willing to speak to the advisor, or any student regarding ways to help the club or for projects in which they can become involved.
SUGGESTED PROJECTS FOR KIDS 5TH GRADE AND UP
Organize and support a humane education club in your school - much like Future Teachers Club or FFA, etc.
Offer to assist senior citizens and low income families with necessary medications, vet visits, delivery of food, training tips, etc to make the pets happier and healthier with those given family dynamics.
Plan for an all school assembly where you and others in the humane ed club can speak to the entire student body. maybe not all at once, but over a full school day, etc.
Help the community in securing appropriate licensing and ID for all pets in the area.
Have a drive to get local pets micro-chipped.
Have a spay neuter clinic come to your town for discount surgeries.
Try to convince club members to begin acting like a ''community watch'' effort by respectfully addressing someone with whom you feel is being neglectful or abusive to an animal by not treating it's medical needs, tying it up to a post 24 hours, not feeding it, etc AND TO SPEAK OUT TO PARENTS OR AUTHORITIES IF THE SITUATION IS MORE SERIOUS.
Help local dog pound with adoptions by holding an adopt a thon at your school on Sat for the locals.
Make sure ALL these events are covered by the local newspapers and even TV and radio stations. Remember,what you are doing is CHANGING THE WORLD. Photo ops with kids and dogs are HUGE SELLERS and marketing tools for papers and tv news. You hold that key.
Speak to your town council and discuss the possibilities of opening a dog park for excercize, socialization and to bring the community together.
Consider electing a Lead committee that will visit neighboring schools to join in for the after school meetings or to help them also form their own local humane education clubs so you can all share info and grow together.
YOU MUST BE ABLE TO PROUDLY SPEAK OUT WHEN SOMEONE IS NOT GIVING THEIR PET THE PROPER CARE AND NECESSARY MEDICAL TREATMENT. YOU CANNOT ALLOW FAMILY, FRIENDS OR RELATIVES TO ABUSE NOR NEGLECT THEIR PETS. IF YOU CAN'T SAY IT TO THEM DIRECTLY THEN CALL AUTHORITIES AND LET THEM DETERMINE THEIR FATE. IF YOU SEE A DOGGY TIED TO A STAKE WITH A 6 FT CHAIN, JUST THINK HOW HORRIBLE THAT WOULD BE IF YOU WERE HIM. THINK HOW IGNORANT THE HUMAN IS THAT IS DOING THAT TO THE POOR DOG. IF YOU ALLOW THIS TO CONTINUE BY NOT SPEAKING OUT, YOU ARE JUST AS MUCH TO BLAME FOR THE POOR DOG'S SITUATION AND JUST AS ABUSIVE AS THE PERSON WHO DID THAT.