By Marci Watson, Staff Writer:
East Fannin Elementary School (EFES) has started a new program for students: Club Day. Students, Kindergarten through fifth grade, get to meet once a month in various clubs based on their interests. EFES administration will increase the frequency of club meetings to twice a month if the program is successful.
At 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28, it was a bit chaotic in the hallways as students located the correct classroom for their respective clubs, the little ones needed extra guidance. Once everyone was where they were supposed to be, the clubs held their first meetings. The Fannin Focus was invited to attend the club for animal-lovers. Their special guest was Dr. Michael Good from Marietta, Georgia who told them about the Homeless Pet Club and how to begin their own.
Homeless Pet Clubs (HPC) is a separate organization of The Homeless Pets Foundation (HPF), which was created in 1998 by Dr. Michael Good, an Atlanta, Georgia veterinarian, to save homeless pets. In 2010, HPF created Homeless Pet Clubs (HPC), to give students, civic leaders, and business owners the opportunity to share their love of animals by promoting animal rescue, responsible pet ownership, adoption of shelter animals, and animal welfare. “We want children to learn to be kind to living things; be kind to animals and be kind to each other,” says Dr. Michael Good.
In the beginning more than 50 school clubs were established in three months’ time in the state of Georgia alone, and their support helped find loving, forever homes for more than 200 animals. Teachers leading the charge for the school clubs report benefits to students including: increased involvement, decreased absenteeism, increased enthusiasm for learning, improved social skills, increased compassion, heightened sense of achievement, improved self-worth, decreased bullying, expanded awareness of networking for good, increased responsibility, and increased creativity and cooperation.
Dr. Good explained to the children how telling the story of a homeless pet can help it find a “forever” home. “These dogs and cats are lonely and sad. They need someone to love them, can everyone tell their stories to any and everybody?”, he asked. The students responded with a resounding “YES WE CAN!” Dr. Good beamed at the children, “Okay, then let’s be heroes to these animals!”
EFES teacher Paula Hyatt is the Homeless Pet Club leader and has some great ideas on how the students can find homes for homeless pets in Fannin County, but she’ll need some help. That’s where Jan Eaton of Tri State Pet Rescue comes in. Jan will be bringing in rescued pets when the club meets so the children can meet them. Posters created by the EFES Homeless Pet Club will promote the adoption of the sponsored pets to good homes.
EFES Homeless Pet Club, as all HPC clubs do, will participate in volunteering at adoption events and raising funds to support their local shelter and club. Tri State Pet Rescue is just one of the partners in the Homeless Pet Club program. The partners are state or county facilities, humane organizations or rescue groups in Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Tennessee and Washington. Where you find HPC partners, you’ll find Homeless Pet Clubs, too.
The Fannin Focus is looking forward to hearing from the Homeless Pet Club of EFES once they choose their first pet to sponsor and start telling the animal’s story to all who will listen.