By Amber Yoo
On Tuesday, I was one of more than 300 animal lovers who attended the "Imagine the PAWSabilities" cocktail reception and fundraiser at Humane Society Silicon Valley (HSSV). The inspiring evening was designed to raise awareness and support for the 20,000 children annually whose lives HSSV touches. Sitting at a table with nine of my friends, most of whom were visiting HSSV for the first time, I could feel the warmth and energy in the room as Jaime Allen, the director of education programs, explained how humane education uses some of the best educators in the world--animals--to teach children about respect, compassion, and kindness.
One such child is Joseph, a 5th grade boy who received a scholarship from HSSV to attend summer camp. Joseph was acting out at school, but at summer camp he started opening up with the animals. For the first time, he was quick to raise his hand and participate in activities. Joseph’s school counselor told Jamie that the transformation back at school was dramatic. He was kind, he was respectful, and he showed genuine excitement for school activities. He’ll be back at HSSV in July for his next camp session.
The summer camp is one of eight youth programs that HSSV offers. All are made possible by the generous donations of our community. My favorite program is the Kind Kids program, which is when HSSV, through a grant from SanDisk Corp., covers all the expenses for an entire classroom of kids to take a field trip to the Animal Community Center. Last year, the Kind Kids program touched the lives of 800 elementary school children, almost all of whom had never been to an animal shelter.
“Imagine the PAWSabilities” showed me that HSSV does more than save animals’ lives. HSSV is building a better tomorrow for our community by impacting the lives of our children. Animals can make us better people and HSSV is reaching kids with animals in a way that only animals can...
By the end of the evening, my friends were scheming new ways to help. One is a teacher who intends to bring her class on field trips to HSSV. One wants to volunteer. Another is going to sell pet jewelry to help raise funds. My question is... what can you do to help HSSV build a more compassionate future?