At HEART we strive to bring humane education to as many youth as possible, but we can only teach so many students ourselves. To spread our reach even further, early on we began offering trainings helping teachers learn the necessary tools to teach students how to think critically and compassionately about human, animal and environmental issues. We want all young people to be fluent in empathy, ready and excited to extend that compassion and kindness to every living being and the planet.
RSVP Animal Welfare and Rescue Group attended one of our trainings a few years ago and since then they have been actively utilizing the skills they learned to teach humane education to groups of students, ages 6 to 17, both in- and and out-of-school, and even to a YMCA summer camp.
Lillian Lennon, an active volunteer with the RSVP Animal Welfare and Rescue Group, is a former teacher and she feels humane education is a vital part of their mission. She believes that if they are to continue making progress in the welfare and care of non-human animals there are some specific actions that we need to take, one of which is humane education programs for youth.
At HEART, in our trainings, we encourage participants to utilize our philosophy of teaching in their programs which includes, critical thinking, fostering empathy, and student empowerment. We also provide lessons that they can teach as is or use as a foundation to build upon using their own resources, skills, and talents.
Lillian said about her experience at a HEART training:
“The HEART lessons were organized, easy to follow, thorough, and most [importantly,] motivational for the young student audience. On a personal level I increased my knowledge…I would definitely encourage animal advocates to take the HEART training…and begin the process of spreading [humane education].”
RSVP Animal Welfare and Rescue Group is teaching content they learned from the HEART trainings and is adding their own resources as well. They cover topics such as companion animal homelessness, puppy mills, humane dog training, breaking myths about pit bulls, elephants in circuses, and horse drawn carriages.
To enhance the lessons, Lillian invited animal welfare experts to speak to her classes. She also plays guitar and sings animal songs with her students and includes arts and craft activities. The students were especially excited when she arranged for Wrinkles, a pitbull therapy dog and his caregiver Joe, to make a special guest appearance.
Thanks to Lillian and the wonderful work of RSVP Animal Welfare and Rescue Group, hundreds more young people will receive humane education. We encourage anyone who wants to create change to think about the important role that education plays in building a better world and to consider including humane education as part of their efforts.
And if you want to learn from our programs, stay tuned for information on HEART’s new teacher training webinars coming this fall!