Whether it’s a stray cat, a lost dog or a baby bird that has fallen from the nest, kids love lending a hand to help animals in need.
“There’s a movement of kids who want to help animals,” says Pasadena Humane Society President and CEO Julie Bank. “The Pasadena Humane Society gets calls on how kids can get involved, probably a daily thing, and we started to really listen.” The result is the society’s new Kids for Animals program.
Kids for Animals, which officially launched in the spring, welcomes those ages 18 and younger and their families. Nobody is too little to learn about animals, make a mark on the community and be kind, Bank explains.
Children begin by taking a pledge to help animals and to complete one service project a year. Ideas in the program’s handbook range from drawing a picture of an animal and telling classmates about it to making a cat toy, fundraising or volunteering at the humane society shelter or one of its events. “We have something for everyone,” says Bank. Kids who complete their project receive a certificate.
Eight-year-old Tessa Schulz of La Cañada-Flintridge knits scarves and leashes and sells them at the Montrose Farmers Market to raise money for the shelter. “When I got my dog, Bessie, I saw all the puppies and I wanted to help them,” she says. According to Schulz’s mom, Jessica Cushman, her daughter let every passerby know about the humane society and how buying her scarves and leashes would help the animals.
“She has such a love for dogs,” Cushman says. “It’s a way for her to be involved and to give back for giving us our Bessie, the heart and soul of our house.” The opportunity also helped Schulz develop business skills, such as pitching an idea, getting in front of people and speaking with them. “I like that there’s an empowerment that comes from taking action,” Cushman says.
Schulz’s passion and altruism lead to her new role as an ambassador for Kids for Animals, helping to spread the word about the humane society and its mission. Learn more about the program online at www.pasadenahumane.org/kids.