MANCHESTER — It’s all in the fur as students team up with an animal rescue organization to learn – and to help animals find homes.
Kristine LaPorte, a teacher at Manchester Middle School, proposed the project whereby the school district formed a partnership with All Fur One Pet Rescue (AFO) in Toms River as a method of engaging students while meeting curriculum standards.
LaPorte is happy to see it come to fruition and noted that the AFO is a grassroots, non-profit organization whose mission is to “build a community of like-minded, animal-loving individuals who strive to reduce the homeless animal population through rescue, harbor safety, proper care and companionship.
She said: ‘Their facility is designed to ‘promote the mental well-being of rescued pets, focusing on detraumatization and transitioning from ‘shelter animal’ to ‘loving, family pet’. .
The AOF facility consists of two large stray cat rooms as well as a playroom for socializing dogs when removed from their private areas.
“A steady stream of volunteers look after the animals throughout the day, providing outdoor walks, leash training, socialization and play for the animals. These volunteers also look after the nutritional needs and basic animal medicine,” added the teacher in her proposal.
In addition to the facility, All Fur One has a group of volunteers who welcome puppies, kittens, and adult dogs and cats into their homes. The goal is to provide the fastest transition between their rescue and the home of an adopter.
LaPorte came up with the collaboration knowing it would create exposure and increase adoptions and animal rescue volunteers. Moreover, it would provide an engaging learning experience for elementary to high school students.
“For many young people, their first experience with philanthropy comes from their love of animals. By collaborating with All Fur One Rescue, we can move forward in creating increased and lasting engagement with students who have become isolated and distant due to recent societal events. It’s a way to re-engage students in a community of like-minded people in an environment that fosters compassion and encourages the exploration of thought and emotion,” she added.
“It will empower students to do good and create awareness. It is a way for teachers to connect with their students and foster social-emotional learning and healing. Students can become more thoughtful, empathetic and civic citizens,” added the teacher.
Examples of programs at the elementary school level include students learning literacy skills to write descriptions of animals available for use in marketing through the AFO. Students can use available animal pictures and videos to write short stories or use a picture prompt for a writing assignment.
LaPorte said, “Students can use their math skills to graph various data taken from the AFO website. For example, they can graph the number of male kittens versus female kittens or sort each kitten by color and create a bar chart to display the data.
Students are also able to chart the growth of kittens in the Meowturnity Ward who are too small to be adopted by working with one of the foster homes. A classroom could zoom in with one of the foster homes to “meet” the kittens or puppies and learn about animal care and welfare.
A class could also be involved in nominating some of the newcomers to the AFO and learning how to take a poll or organize a vote.
Students also keep track of the number of pets adopted over a period of time and use this to write mathematical equations. Another activity for students includes virtual reading to animals.
At the intermediate level, students will use the data provided on the AFO website to calculate the percentages of animals adopted and animals available for adoption. They will calculate the percentage chance that a particular animal will be adopted along with the graphical data.
The Impact club will use AFO as a community outreach project while a class with special needs could use the AFO website or a Zoom session with a foster family to learn about animal and pet care.
Manchester High School students who are members of the photography club will be able to help take photos of the animals to use for the AFO website and increase adoptions while finance classes can use AFO as a model organization to nonprofit as well as budgeting.
Students can volunteer at AFO to earn volunteer hours for their college apps and technology courses can work on developing apps that would increase adoptions and volunteers.
Science classes may learn about medical aspects of rescue animal care such as parasitism and biological systems and processes.
LaPorte said 7th grade science classes have already used information about adoptable cats to build skills in graphing and data collection.
More information about All Fur One can be found on their website. allfurone.org.