In order to reach as many children as possible, HEART has taken on a variety of special projects, sometimes alone and sometimes in partnership with other organizations. Each project brings humane education to a different population of students, helping to create a more compassionate world through education.
Caring Kids: Animal Ambassadors
In 2014, HEART launched the “Caring Kids: Animal Ambassadors” program in partnership with Animal Haven Shelter. Designed for 5-8-year-olds, this program fills a void for young children by offering service learning opportunities for them to help animals. At the end of each series, students earn badges as companion animal, wild animal, or farm animal ambassadors. As Gideon, one of our animal ambassadors, said when asked if he would recommend the program to other kids: “Don’t even think about it, just go right ahead! It’s the best place you could ever want to go.”
Sonny’s Bias-Based Bullying Workshops
HEART has been offering an anti-bullying program at schools in the NYC area by partnering with award-winning documentary filmmaker Christina Antonakos-Wallace to bring her 10-minute film, Article of Faith, to students across the city. This film tells the story of Sonny Singh, one of HEART’s instructors, in his efforts as an activist to combat bias-based school bullying. As a turban-wearing Sikh, Sonny shares his own experiences with bullying and harassment in the film, and how he uses those experiences to work with students to fight for change in their schools. The film is a powerful tool to open up much-needed dialogue in schools about bullying and harassment, particularly around ethnic and religious intolerance. Sonny, an expert on bias-based bullying, conducts film screenings, follow-up discussions, and anti-bullying workshops and assemblies at numerous schools as part of HEART’s anti-bullying program. In our interactive workshops, students develop group definitions of bullying, share a lot of their own experiences with bullying and other forms of bigotry and, through a discussion of case studies and participation in role-plays, they brainstorm how to effectively address and respond to bullying.
Be The Change
“be the change” is the first-ever, one-of-a-kind humane education museum, addressing not only human issues, but also those pertaining to our environment and the creatures who share our planet with us. “be the change” gives participants an inviting space to learn meaningful ways in which they can use their own lives to help other humans, animals, and our environment.
In the true spirit of Gandhi’s notion, “be the change you wish to see in the world,” we turned to repurposed, reused, and sustainable materials to create a series of thoughtful and interactive exhibits for both youth and adults. Have you ever wondered how much a pound of CO2 really is? What about the impact of your dinner on pollution or water use? We have over 30 learning stations that answer these questions and more! Finding playful and hands-on ways of conveying heavy and overwhelming data and statistics is one avenue we are using to help people make the connections between their everyday actions and the impacts they have on our planet, on animals, and on other humans. “be the change” is a collaborative effort of Peace Learning Center (peacelearningcenter.org) and HEART (teachheart.org), and first opened its doors to the public on April 18th, 2015.
P-Course with DOE
Every spring, HEART offers a professional development course for grades K–5 teachers titled, Promoting Success in Science and Literacy Through Humane Education. Participants explore ways to utilize humane education content to implement strategies that support the development of science and literacy skills. We cover a wide range of topics, including how to teach about: anti-bullying/respect for all, appreciating diversity, companion animal care, reverence for farm animals, wildlife protection, and environmental preservation. Additionally, the course focuses on Common Core State Standards in both reading and writing, and participation in the course qualifies towards a salary differential.
HEART Partners with Darwin Animal Doctors to Offer Humane Education in the Galapagos
HEART is excited to be collaborating with Darwin Animal Doctors to implement a humane education program (translated into Spanish) in the Galapagos. We remotely trained staff at the Isabela Oceanographic Institute, an organization that contracts professional English teachers for the public school system on Isabela Island, to conduct our lessons. We are now seeking government approval to facilitate widespread implementation in the Galapagos.
Nassau County DA
HEART forged an exciting partnership with the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, making humane education one of its new community programs. We trained several senior Assistant District Attorneys to conduct hour-long humane education assemblies at elementary schools. We look forward to the countywide implementation of this program and rolling it out to other D.A.’s offices as well!
HEART teamed up with Rescue Paw Foundation, an organization committed to raising awareness and funding for no-kill animal shelters throughout the south, and is especially focused on rescue services in Lawrence, the poorest county in Alabama. We created a customized 4th-6th grade curriculum for Lawrence County covering shelters, spay/neuter programs, animal fighting, kindness, compassion, care, and safety. We trained a retired schoolteacher who is teaching the program at local schools, and have been reaching out to administrators to train teachers so that these lessons can become part of the school curriculum in the county.
Humane Education Project with American Bar Association
In 2009, HEART and the American Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee launched a joint humane education public service project to train volunteer attorneys and law students to teach a 4-lesson program on animal protection issues to local 4th and 5th grade students. Since the project’s inception, we have conducted trainings in the following locations: New York City; Washington D.C.; Baltimore; Chicago; Los Angeles; Portland, OR; Lawrence, KS; Chapel Hill, NC; and East Lansing, MI.
Humane Spots Air on Detroit Public Television
We partnered with Detroit Public Television (DPTV) and the Humane Society of Huron Valley to conduct a Humane Education Multi-Media Campaign, beginning with the creation of four vignettes to help promote the humane treatment of animals to elementary school-aged children. We are pleased to share that the spots aired on DPTV Channel 56, reaching 1.5 million US, and 1.2 million Canadian, viewers with our humane education messages.