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Mutt-i-grees® in the News Spring 2016

Dear Colleagues,

We're delighted that so many of you have accepted our Mission Mutt-i-grees Tour For Life challenge and have pledged to make a difference in the lives of shelter pets around the country!

From California to New York and everywhere in between, your students have organized incredible activities - all benefiting animals in your communities. And we're happy to announce that with your help, we have saved the lives of more than 2,000 animals nation-wide so far, with more Mission Mutt-i-grees events planned over the next few weeks!

Check out just a few of the ways in which some communities across the country are making a difference:

  • In Arkansas, more than 100 students from three Van Buren County schools joined forces to make the Clinton, Ark. Tour For Life stop a howling success. The city's mayor joined Miss Van Buren County to present awards to students and administrators honoring their dedication to the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum. Dixie, South Side Bee Branch School District's resident canine co-counselor, happily accepted the Golden Bone Award with a woof! Mutt-i-grees National Student Ambassador Grace Lee volunteered her time before and during the event, selling dog treats and collecting donations to benefit local shelters. The best news? Multiple adoptions - with two dogs finding loving homes with Mutt-i-grees students and their families!
  • In southern California, Mutt-i-grees Madness is in full swing at Fenton STEM Academy and Fenton Charter Leadership Academy. The two schools held activities and fundraisers this spring to raise money for Los Angeles City East Valley Animal Shelter, with help, of course, from Mutt-i-gree superstar and canine co-counselor, Jeter. You can follow Jeter's awesome adventures on Instagram at @jeter_the_muttigree!
  • In Connecticut, students at Vogel-Wetmore School are participating in a schoolwide fundraiser, with each grade making and selling crafts and snacks to benefit True Loving Companions, a local foster dog association. From Kindergarten to 5th Grade, everyone is pitching in to help!
  • In Kentucky, Mutt-i-grees Curriculum National Student Ambassador Layne Meek and his Mutt-i-grees Teen Council organized circus-themed activities and games as part of the community's Tour For Life adoption event. Included in the festivities was a proclamation officially declaring March 20, 2016 as Tour For Life Day in the city of Ashland. The mayor also recognized the great work the motivated teens have done to benefit Ashland Animal Rescue Fund, the local animal shelter. We're happy to report that more than 30 dogs found homes that day!
  • In Stow, Mass., the Randall Library started a MUTTS Club! A local teenager has recruited 17 members so far and has been working with the library's director and youth services librarian to organize a variety of Mutt-i-grees programs at the library. Their most recent project involved making more than 100 dogs and cat toys for the animals serviced by Central MA Kibble Kitchen, a local pet food bank.
  • In New York, Mutt-i-grees Curriculum National Student Ambassador Juliana Bonavero is leading the charge at Shell Bank Junior High School in Brooklyn, where students and educators are getting their rescue on and raising funds for North Shore Animal League America, which sheltered their resident Mutt-i-gree, Shelby Ann, before she was adopted by Denise Atwood, a 6th Grade teacher at the school.
  • In Noble, Okla., Denise Swarowsky, a 6th Grade teacher and Honor Society advisor at Curtis Inge Middle School, runs a Poetry Animal Club that currently includes 55 students, with 76 signed up for next year. Earlier this year, the club held a poetry reading at the local city shelter, where students read their original poems to families and community members, with some families returning later to adopt a new furry friend! In addition, the school gave $1,000 toward a community spay day in collaboration with SpayWay Mobile Clinic.

Want to get involved? There's still time to join in on the fun! Click here to register your school, library, or museum and enter to win. We look forward to hearing from you!


Behind the Scenes: News from the Mutt-i-grees Team

Inaugural Class Completes Mutt-i-grees Curriculum Certificate Program

This spring, the Mutt-i-grees team at North Shore Animal League America and Yale University School of the 21st Century partnered with Queens College's Professional and Continuing Studies to offer an innovative 20-hour Mutt-i-grees Curriculum certificate course for teachers and librarians. The course, which we plan to offer again in the coming academic year, offers an extensive review of the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum and its applicability to early childhood education, K-12, special education, guidance and counseling, character education, humane education, information sciences, character education, life skills, and health education. Included in the module are two visits to North Shore Animal League America, a highlight of the course for many students. Interested in joining the second cohort at Queens College? Contact us for more information at [email protected].


Shelter to Shelter with the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum

Earlier this year, families at two student homeless shelters in the Bronx were introduced to the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, thanks to support from the New York City Board of Education. We worked closely with families and children of all ages to demonstrate that social emotional learning can benefit us at any age! Using Mutt-i-grees activities in the shelters' afterschool programs, older students mentored the young ones, helping them to create meaningful posters to promote shelter pet adoption. In the process, families opened up about their challenges, hopes, and dreams - yet another example of the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum as a vehicle to promote positive, pro-social experiential learning. "This was a wonderful experience which will be hard to top, and it's brought lots of joy in the life of the families," says Victor P. Genao, Jr., the program's director.


Mutt-i-grees Curriculum Plays a Key Role at International Conference

This month, the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum was featured at InterActivity 2016, the Association of Children's Museums' international conference, hosted by Stepping Stones Museum for Children, in Norwalk, Conn. Our own Dr. Matia Finn-Stevenson was among an esteemed panel of experts presenting testimony at the conference, where she addressed the academic achievement gap and how the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum is making a difference.

In addition, the Mutt-i-grees team joined museum staff and members of its afterschool MUTTS Club to highlight the critical importance of social-emotional learning experiences for children, using hands-on activities from the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum.

Following the conference session on Thursday, May 5, our Mutt-i-grees YES2 Kids program was part of the Stepping Stones International Conference Block Party, where it proved to be an enormous hit! The children haven't stopped talking about how much fun they had and how important they felt helping the dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens on our Animal League America mobile unit. One of the volunteers and his family even adopted a puppy! A total of four pups found responsible, loving homes thanks to this event.

Stepping Stones Museum for Children is a national demonstration site for our Mutt-i-grees in the Library initiative and proudly offers Mutt-i-grees programming on a weekly basis for children and families. We value our partnership with Stepping Stones Children's Museum tremendously as yet another powerful example of how working together can have a positive impact on communities.


Now Accepting Applications for the Mutt-i-grees National Student Ambassadors Program

Previous Mutt-i-grees National Student Ambassadors ProgramDon't miss out on this opportunity to recognize your exceptional students who advocate for and help raise awareness of Mutt-i-grees! Selected from a group of students in some of the most effective Mutt-i-grees schools and clubs in the country, Mutt-i-grees National Student Ambassadors spend the academic year working on various animal welfare, humane education, and service learning projects of their choosing, with a goal to inspire other students and community members. Elected Ambassadors receive a $500 honorarium, which is sent to their school to be used for activities, materials, and other expenses incurred in connection with their humane advocacy efforts. The appointment is for a one-year period, but students may apply for additional years. To learn more, please visit http://education.muttigrees.org/students/student-ambassadors.


Purina Professional Development

We're thrilled to have launched our Purina/Mutt-i-grees partnership in St. Louis - Purina's headquarters - with our largest and most diversified Mutt-i-grees Professional Development session ever. Schools, libraries, youth organizations, and shelters were all in attendance for a Mutt-i-grees training. We received so much positive feedback that a date is already set for July to present to a second round! Together, we continue to make positive change, by connecting with communities to educate future generations to care about themselves, others, animals, and the planet.


Upcoming Conferences & Events

May 13, 2016
Tour For Life Grand Finale
Columbus Circle, NYC

June 9, 2016
New York Public Library Summer Reading Kickoff Block Party
Edenwold Branch Library
Bronx, NY

July 9-12, 2016
American School Counselor Association Annual Conference
New Orleans, LA

For more information, please visit http://education.muttigrees.org/professional-development.