Students help unwanted animals in shelters find homes with a class project

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In what is probably the most touching assignment to date, a class was tasked with helping unwanted shelter dogs find new homes – and the project worked!

Teacher Kensey Jones asked second-grade students at St Michael’s Episcopal School in Richmond, Va., to write letters to help persuade potential owners to adopt animals who had struggled to find a foyer.

The letters collected by the students and written from the animal’s perspective included an outline of the puppy’s history, as well as a sketch to help those wandering around the kennels.

Kensey Jones had been a volunteer at Richmond Animal Care and Control for four years and introduced the concept to Christie Peters, director of the shelter.

Jones said The Washington Post: “The idea came to me to connect persuasive writing with these adoptable animals that need a forever home.

“(It was) a way to make their writing real for [the students]and really make an impact on the world and our community of Richmond in particular.”

After receiving a gratifying response from Peters, Jones visited the shelter’s website and selected 24 animals that had previously struggled to find homes.

Reasons such as age, personality, health issues, lack of training and other imperfections had seen some of the animals live at the shelter for several months.

Peters decided to bring one of the pets to school to talk about the work being done at the shelter and how the letters could help save the animal’s life.

The children also put their all into the task.

Jones said, “As the project unfolded, they just kept getting more and more excited about it.”

Some of the letters that the second year students wrote were also very moving.

One said, “I would like to be adopted. If you adopt me, I hope that I will illuminate your Sundays like the sun. You’ll be my Sunday special, and I hope I’ll be yours!”

Much to the delight of the students, the letters worked, with 21 of the 24 animals that had been written adopted since early February.

Peters believes the project has played a major role in helping some of the animals find homes.

She said: “It definitely exposed the most needed pets in our shelter and presented them in a really different and beautiful light.

“It just sparked something in the community to adopt a pet that we’ve cared for longer than others.”

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