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March 17, 2010

A Helping Paw for Haiti's Animals

Middle school students collect $500 in spare change to help animals in Haiti

  • Students at Herbert Hoover Middle School designed a poster to spread the word about their Haiti fundraiser. J. Cunningham

"Humane education is a curriculum that I share with the students by demonstrating and modeling how to be a good steward toward our nonhuman companions," says Janet Cunningham. A language arts teacher at Herbert Hoover Middle School in San Francisco, Cunningham is also the sponsor of the school’s Merit Awards Committee. The student-directed club works to encourage community service and good citizenship.

When the devastating earthquake hit Haiti in January, club members immediately went into action. For their first fundraiser, they collected money to help the people of Haiti and donated it to the Red Cross. For their second, they turned their attention to Haiti’s animals.

Collecting change to make change

To help the animals in Haiti, the students decided to collect spare change from their classmates and give the proceeds to The Humane Society of the United States. They worked with graphic designer Jeremy Payne, who volunteered to create a poster to promote the fundraiser. They hung the posters around school and for a week in February solicited fellow students to donate their loose change and extra lunch money. The coins added up quickly—in just one week, they raised $500.

Cunningham, who also volunteers with the San Francisco SPCA and the Homeless Cat Network, is proud that the students in her club show such dedication to helping others. "May this contribution continue to be the light of what our young citizens are capable of demonstrating in a time of need for our human and nonhuman companions."

Heidi O’Brien, Student Outreach Director for The HSUS, agrees. "It’s encouraging to see a group of middle school students recognize that both people and animals need assistance following a natural disaster. This donation will help in our continued and long-term efforts to improve the lives of animals in Haiti."


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