Speak for Animals is overwhelmingly convinced that the best solution to ending animal abuse and neglect is through humane education. Many problems facing animals, including homelessness, overpopulation, and neglect, is the result of a lack of understanding about the needs of animals, and how closely they mirror our own needs. Speak for Animals' humane education volunteers work directly with the schools and the community to provide education and awareness of the problems that animals face.
Humane Education within Greenville's Elementary Schools
"Children trained to extend justice, kindness and mercy to animals become more just, kind and considerate in their relation with each other. Character training along these lines in youth will result in men and women of broader sympathies, more humane, more law-abiding - in every respect more valuable citizens." - 1993 United States National Parent-Teacher Association Congress.
Our humane education program emphasizes literature and the love of reading in our mission to inspire compassion, empathy, respect and responsibility for animals, people, and the environment. We believe that teaching children kindness and compassion to animals will have enduring power in creating more humane and merciful children. As part of our endless devotion to animals, Speak for Animals has donated over 3,000 humane education books to Greenville's 50 elementary schools. These books were selected based on their themes of responsible and compassionate treatment of animals. We believe in the life-changing power of these beautiful stories. A well-told story is a powerful teaching tool in fostering empathy for all living things, and empathy is crucial to inspiring moral action. We care what happens to Buddy (Buddy Unchained), Max (Max Talks to Me), or James (Go Home! The True Story of James the Cat), and in turn, we care about how we can do right by them.
Each of the donated books speaks about animals that need saving - whether it's from a shelter, from a neglected existence within their own backyard, or from the streets where they might have fled or been abandoned. In A Day, A Dog, dramatic black and white drawings tell the story of a dog thrown from a car, and that dog's pitiful and unsuccessful chase after the car. The abandoned and lonely dog wanders endlessly until the illustrator brings us a savior in the form of a young boy... and there is hope. In Before You Were Mine, a boy asks of his newly-adopted dog, "Before you were mine, was someone mean to you? Were you kept on a chain with a dusty bowl and lonely sounds all around? Before you were mine, the shelter told us that you had been running for a long time...eating whatever you could find which much wasn't. Alone and scared, like a dog shouldn't be."
These stories speak volumes about the power of compassion and mercy. It is our hope that these books continue to enrich the lives of children across Greenville County.
In an effort to make the donated books and their beautiful messages more tangible, Speak for Animals' volunteers have created approximately 500 charming displays or vignettes to accompany the donated books. These vignettes are designed as self-teaching humane education lessons, and are displayed within each school's library. The essence of each wondrous story is captured in 3 "frames", using each story's own text and engaging pictures. The pictures are then enhanced with simple decoration to capture a child's eye. The publishers and the authors of these books have been very supportive of our efforts to spotlight their beautiful books in this creative manner.