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Humane Education Reaches Beyond the Classroom Walls

As educators, when we teach a group of children, we’re focused on what is happening in that room at that moment. Maybe a child has just been inspired to switch to a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic each day, or is asking why some people choose to fight dogs for money. The hands go up to ask questions and make comments and don’t stop until the lesson is over. We see the passion in our students, and love when they tell us how they’ve changed their lives or are encouraging their parents and friends to also make more humane choices.
We’re often reminded though, that students aren’t the only people in our classrooms. During our 10-lesson program, the regular teacher is always present, and sometimes, others who work in the school stop by to see what we’re doing. Beyond that, students put together school-wide educational campaigns all the time so that everyone knows what they are learning about and can learn about it too. All of those additional people are also impacted by HEART’s programs.
We wanted to share with you an email from a staff member at one of our Chicago schools that serves as a beautiful reminder of how humane issues spread and change lives.
She wrote, “Just wanted to mention that as I walked into some of the classrooms that you were servicing, I caught a glimpse of the puppy mills video and realized that I purchased my dog at one of the pet stores featured in the video (Happiness Is Pets). Had I seen the video beforehand, I would not have purchased our cute little Boston there. Do you know if that video is available on YouTube? My husband wants to purchase another dog and he was talking about going back to Happiness Is Pets. I would love for him to see the video beforehand. What is the name of that video?”
Of course, Leona Sepulveda emailed her back with her encouragement, thanks and the link to the video. Knowledge truly is power. We believe that if people are given all of the information about an issue, they will make decisions based on their own personal ethics. In this case, a staff member saw a clip of a puppy mill video we showed in class, reflected on her past behavior and decided that she wanted to educate her spouse so they could choose differently the next time around. That’s the power of humane education. It gives us all of the information so we can make decisions that reflect our ethics. Humane education may take place inside a classroom, but the effects extend into the school, the community, and even the greater world.

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