Olivia and Felicia, two nine-year-old girls who had met only hours prior, were sitting close together chatting with each other as new best friends do. Picasso, the guinea pig, circled around them expectantly as they pulled leaves of parsley off the stem and placed them in his water bowl. “What are you girls up to?” I asked, crouching down next to them. Olivia looked up at me quite seriously and answered, “We’re making soup for Picasso!” I then watched in amazement as the guinea pig snatched the parsley leaves out of his water bowl and gobbled them up.
Welcome to the youth program offered at the Montreal SPCA, where kids and teens can get involved in creative, hands-on projects that help the shelter animals. In the process, they learn what animal welfare means as well as how to care for animals and interact with them. Be it a teen who discovers their potential career path or an eight-year-old who realizes that cats have feelings, youth stand to greatly benefit from getting involved in the Montreal SPCA.
As an animal welfare educator, I can say with certainty that kids and teens are drawn to animals. And when you get a group of animal-loving youth together in a shelter, beautiful things happen. Here, young people see every animal as a unique individual with a name, a personality and a story. They appreciate the most minute details about each animal and lead us to see the shelter in a different light.
This youth program at the SPCA is an investment in the future of animal welfare. It invites the next generation to help create kinder, more compassionate communities – ones that reflect our love for animals, and for each other.
The Montreal SPCA has been offering youth programming to the public since September 2017 thanks to its partnership with ENGAGE: Animal Welfare Education. This non-profit organization is dedicated to changing the way the next generation thinks about animals. Register and learn more about this program today: engageanimal.org/en.
Special thanks to the CanFel Foundation
Thanks to a generous grant from the CanFel Foundation, the Montreal SPCA and ENGAGE: Animal Welfare Education are pleased to add a new component to the Montreal SPCA’s youth programs that is specially tailored to five organizations that serve youth in at-risk situations.
-Emelie Luciani, Co-Director, ENGAGE: Animal Welfare Education