With all the animal abuse happening in the world there is relief in seeing programs like Citizens for a No-Kill Philadelphia’s Humane Education Program. CNKP is a group of Philadelphia citizens, led by Garrett Elwood who has organized with the goal of making Philadelphia a no-kill city by 2018.
One of the many paths along that road is the trail CNKP has blazed to educate Philly’s youth about kindness toward animals.
On Tuesday, June 15, CNKP held the first graduation of 5th graders at John Wister Elementary School in the Germantown section of the city. Children were taught the meaning of humane education by CNKP Program Director, Claire Tillman once per month for the entire school year. Visits from various dogs added to the learning process.
Kim Wolf and Thad Stringer, parents of five rescued dogs regularly brought Sarge, a 16 year old pit bull rescued from a life as a bait dog in a Philadelphia dog fighting operation and his girlfriend, Mary Todd Lincoln, a pug (who only has eyes for Sarge) to interact with the children. Sarge and Mary Todd are an unlikely duo, but a couple just the same! Last month Sarge received an Achievement Award from Mayor Michael Nutter for his therapy visits to numerous city schools and nursing homes.
When asked how the year long humane education course has affected the children, fifth grade teacher Lindsay Brown replied “the improvement in behavior is measurable on so many levels. The kids are kinder to each other, there are fewer arguments and fights and they are more aware of the plight of abandoned and abused animals. They ask how they can help rescue them.” Brown went on to describe one child in particular who completely changed his behavior from consistently problematic to not one incident the entire school year.
Each student received a diploma, a medal, a bracelet and a tee shirt from CNKP for completion of the humane education program. After the ceremony the students went outside to their garden to dedicate a tree with a plaque to the memory of the pets who died this year. It was their idea… sounds like humane education has made a difference.
There is no doubt providing education on the proper treatment of animals and incorporating all living beings into your circle of compassion is the way to start changing the fate of abused and homeless animals. Kudos to CNKP, Claire Tillman, Lindsay Brown and the fifth graders at John Wister Elementary School for taking the time to teach and learn.
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