Georgian Triangle Humane Society launches new education program
Article courtesy of the Ontario SPCA
The Georgian Triangle Humane Society (GTHS) is working to change the future of at-risk youth, animals in need and their community through a new Humane Education Program.
After successfully applying for an Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant, the GTHS launched a multi-pronged Humane Education Program in November 2017 with assistance from Elephant Thoughts, a teacher-run charitable organization. Aligned with Ontario curriculum, the concepts taught in the program promote and encourage development of important character and life-building skills, including empathy, sensitivity, responsibility, respect, compassion and kindness to all living beings.
One component of the program is geared towards students in Grades 6, 7, and 8. GTHS visits area classrooms to deliver four 90-minute lectures to students. Topics range from emotional intelligence and how to communicate with pets, to animal cruelty and the link to bullying, domestic abuse and dating violence.
For the fifth and final session, students are invited to the GTHS where they interact with cats and get to meet a therapy dog. At the end, they’re awarded a Junior Animal Welfare certificate.
“What I like seeing is the kids that never utter a word in their class are really, really eager and energetic to share stories about their own pets,” says Karen Marsh, Humane Education Coordinator, GTHS.
Outside of the classroom, GTHS runs an after school Junior Animal Welfare Certificate Program, held at the shelter weekly for eight weeks. It covers many of the same subjects as the classroom program, but also features more hands-on interaction with animals.
The Humane Education Program also works with at-risk youth in the Simcoe County District School Board’s alternative learning stream. Many of the participants have difficulty coping in a large school setting, and some have additional challenges, such as debilitating anxiety. Working one-on-one with each student and their support teacher, Marsh introduces them to cats, kittens and dogs to work on developing their emotional and social skills. From there, the goal is to begin to tackle school work.
“It’s good for the animals, the students and ultimately the community,” Marsh says. “We’re creating a kinder, more compassionate community.”
The next session of the Junior Animal Welfare Certificate is starting May 9th for 8 weeks, Wednesdays 4:30 – 5:30pm.
To learn more about the Junior Animal Welfare Certificate program or to register visit https://www.gths.ca/services/humane-education/ or call the Humane Society at 705-445-5204.