Written by Michelle Kretzer
It was a tough decision, but PETA has
chosen the winners of our TeachKind
Teacher Appreciation Contest! These two educators best exemplify the TeachKind goals of creatively inspiring students to help animals and encouraging students
to use that inspiration to positively impact their schools and communities.
Here are the
Molly Lile Taylor organizes "Critter Club," a group of students who
meet at the Barren River Animal Welfare Association (BRAWA) to learn about
humane treatment of animals, responsible animal guardianship, the animal-homelessness crisis, careers that involve working with animals, and many other important topics. The
children are a huge asset to the animal shelter, collecting donations, helping
with fundraisers, making toys for the animals, and helping to socialize them. Many
"Critter Clubbers" choose to have their birthday parties at the
shelter and collect items that the animals need instead of receiving gifts.
Critter Club was
so successful that Taylor extended it into the summer with Camp BRAWA. "As
educators, we enjoy watching this interaction and feel a sense of
accomplishment knowing we helped facilitate the relationships between the kids
and the animals," she says. "Our goal for 'Critter Club' is to foster
compassion in the children so that they can grow up to be responsible,
teaches Spanish with a side of animal rights. She has included humane-education
lessons in her curricula every year since beginning her career and says she has
seen a profound difference in the students' lives. This year's lessons centered
on vegetarianism and greyhound racing. The class sampled vegan foods and used PETA's vegetarian/vegan
starter kit to learn how to choose plant-based foods at the supermarket. And after the
class learned about the cruelty behind greyhound racing, which is part of the TeachKind lesson plans, it welcomed a rescued former racer to its classroom.
The kids left
Vigo's class determined to educate others about cruelty-free eating choices and
about why they should not patronize greyhound races. Other educators are
starting to notice the effects that the humane-education classes have had on
Vigo's students. She says, "As educators, it is our job to inspire young
people and to instill values and compassion in them. If we want a better world,
we must start by teaching kids about kindness, respect, and empathy for all."
Congratulations to Molly Lile Taylor and
Teachers, administrators, and parents
who home-school can join
the TeachKind Network to receive free resources to help them implement their own humane-education
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.