There exists among us those matches in life that always seem to be just right and inherently beneficial to our collective well-being such as the calming beauty of our beaches covered in warm sand with ocean access; the joy and happiness children derive from interaction with animals - or perhaps - OK I'll say it - even a match-up of burgers and fries (not so beneficial to the waistline but nonetheless just seems to taste right)!
The hard-working shelter staff at Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation
(SASF), along with the collaboration and cooperation of New York State certified teachers have taken one of the best and most timeless matches of all, children and animals, and created and launched yet another FREE program called "Humane Humans: It's Cool to be Kind."
SASF offers "animal advocacy programs for the Town of Southampton school districts" and this program "is designed to promote kindness and compassion for animals and provide information about the role that SASF plays in the community" by educating second through fifth graders on humane treatment for animals.
Ava Locks, in charge of the Human Education programs, relayed, "The programs are now aligned with New York State mandates for Social and Emotional learning. This is a new mandate and our programs meet the key learning objectives."
This latest program is an expansion of the "Humane Humans: Compassion into Action" pilot program that was launched during the 2017-2018 school year which resulted in teaching "more than 500 second and fifth grade students on the humane treatment for animals." Additionally, "the lessons are designed to meet DASA, Common Core and other state and federal mandates," and each grade produces a culminating project as part of the program.
Building on compassion and care, second and third graders learn about "their community shelter and responsible pet guardianship," and the third graders also participate "in lessons teaching children on how to stay safe through the understanding of animal body language and how to help stray animals."
"Third and Fourth grade programs highlight Awareness and Advocacy, enriching classroom lessons and building on Humane Education from previous grade levels. Fourth graders explore the concept of community cat colonies and the responsible care needed to control and prevent overpopulation while fifth graders will investigate scenarios of how and why animals end up in a shelter setting and how students can advocate for shelter animals awaiting their forever homes."
Locks also revealed, "Our programs promote awareness for the shelter and encourage students and families to participate in volunteer opportunities and community service hours for teens. Most schools take advantage of a field trip to the shelter where they explore the many departments and staff that is needed to care for animals."
All programs are flexible and can be customized "to fit in with current curriculums and school schedules. Humane Education lessons are easily amended for special education classes, Spanish language learners and more. Sessions are ideally two days, one-hour per session and can be expanded. SASF will provide pre-lesson and post-lesson materials as well as reading lists."
For more information call 631-728-7387 or go to southamptonanimalshelter.com.
Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.