This month, members of the Mutt-i-grees team traveled to Newtown, CT to bring Mutt-i-grees programming to students from Sandy Hook schools as part of a fun event hosted by Ben's Lighthouse, a foundation that was started after the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012. The foundation was named in memory of six year old Ben Wheeler and his love of lighthouses and it supports the children of Newtown in a safe, nonviolent environment. Their mission aligns with the social and emotional learning themes we promote in the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum.
For loving and fun, all kids will agree,
There’s nothing as sweet as a sweet Mutt-i-gree!
A canine? A feline? Don’t bother to fuss —
They all need what we need — they’re really like us!
Clearly these lines are not up to Dr. Seuss’s imaginative standards, but chances are the man who wrote “The Cat in the Hat,” and “The Lorax,” would happily applaud the word “Mutt-i-gree,” half whimsy, half serious message, and totally delightful to say.
During the crazy holiday rush, it can be easy to forget about those less fortunate than yourself. However, taking time to pause and think about how you can help those in need in your community can be beneficial to everyone involved! Did you know that practicing kindness and compassion is associated with proven health and psychological benefits? This holiday season, Mutt-i-grees students across the country made us proud by organizing service learning projects to benefit animals in need. Check out a few snapshots below of what some schools did:
The lessons in the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum teach critical social and emotional skills, which in turn, help students to connect with their peers, the educators and administrators at their schools, and their communities as a whole. As a way to reinforce the skills learned in the classroom, Norma Meek, Mutt-i-grees Educational Consultant and National Peer Trainer, conceptualized a new initiative focused on community engagement: the Mutt-i-grees retreat. She collaborated with educators in Van Buren County, AR and Boyd County, KY to pilot the program this fall, with fantastic results.
Thanks to the support of Caitlyn Colman-McGaw, programming assistant for young adult education and engagement at New York Public Library, branches across the boroughs are joining our Mutt-i-grees in the Library initiative and introducing children, teens, and families to the importance of shelter pet adoption.