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Norwich Bulletin - 12/7/2008

Humane Society Youth

Are you wondering what to get your child’s teacher this holiday season? Are you tired of trying to find a Christmas Ornament with an apple on it, or a sign that says “Favorite Teacher?” I will bet the teacher is probably tired of receiving those gifts too. I have the perfect gift for the teacher that will extend to the benefit of your own child and your child’s peers.

Kind News (the acronym stands for Kids in Nature’s Defense) is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) publication to bring the news of Humane care and consideration of all animals to children of all ages.

They actually have three different levels of the newspaper: Primary, Junior and Senior Editions and the content is geared toward specific age groups. Anyone can adopt a classroom by contacting the Newington Connecticut Humane Society and ordering Kind News for $30 a school year, which includes twenty-eight copies of the newspaper each month, a teacher’s guide with each issue, and access to specific workshops through the HSUS website.

What are the newspapers like and how do they engage children of specific ages? Well, I received some samples of the newspaper and tested them on my co-worker’s six year old boy and fourteen year old girl. The Primary Edition talked about how tigers keep their cubs safe and watch over and protect them. It explains that mother tigers feed their cubs and keep them warm.

And then it asks how parents take care of their children. This allows the child to interact with the newspaper and the teacher and/or parent who is with them. The newspaper was a hit with the six year old. As the children get older, the stories are more in depth and describe neglect and cruelty in more descriptive terms. In the September 2008 Junior Edition, the paper is full of information on Safaris, including the animals that are endangered and how poaching is taking its tolls on the numbers of these animals.

And when you get to the Senior Level, learning takes on a whole new outlook as teens are encouraged to become a part of the Humane Society’s Mission Humane.

Here in our part of Connecticut, we have the East Haddam based group, Humane Society Youth, celebrating twenty-five years of Teaching Kindness to Animals. The groups mission is to teach compassion and respect for all animals, no matter how small, or big (or even ugly or scary).

Last summer they provided fifty Kind News subscriptions to Connecticut teachers who are committed to using the newspaper as an education tool. Nationwide, this newspaper is distributed to about 35,000 classrooms from Kindergarten to Sixth Grade, and is read by over a million students!

Humane Society Youth also accepts stories from teachers and students who have used Kind News, that is printed on the organization’s website (www.kindnews.org). Also of interest, are the Missions HSUS offers to young people who want to help animals. There are several projects offered to students of all ages:

Help homeless pets – publicizing homeless pets for adoption, organizing a shelter supply collection, or holding a fundraiser;

Combat Cruetly – raising community awareness about recognizing and reporting animal abuse and the need for strict anti cruelty laws;

Friends for Hens – Getting the word out about cruel battery cages used for hens and working to help family, restaurants, and schools buy cage free eggs from farms;

Shoot to Save Wildlife – shooting photographs of wild animals as part of a public awareness project on how to life peacefully with them; and,

Coats for Cubs – for middle and high school students, which involves collecting unwanted furs for wildlife rehabilitation and raising awareness about the cruelty of fur production.

There are tips on how to start an animal protection club, fundraising, even how to lobby for animal protection laws. And Mission Humane is free to teachers and students alike, and is a great resource for those interested in animals protection. The Humane Mission Youth Guide offers a variety of projects and how to go about starting a club, how to make your voice heard and how to know your government.

This is a great gift for kids of any age and a way for you to interact with your child or your grandchild. For more information about adopting a classroom for the school year, or how to get yourself involved with a Humane Mission that you feel strongly about, please contact Janice Krish, 860-434-8666, Extension 13, or email her at jkrish@humanesociety.org.

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