Finnick 800x666This month, as part of our “BE Kind” campaign, the CritterKin pack of mutts and Ms. Jenaia visited more than a dozen classrooms, shelters and bookstores. There, we read from “Meet the Mutts” and gave kids a hands on taste of kindness. The program is simple:

  • Read Ricky Bobby’s story, “I Wanna Go Fast” from “Meet the Mutts;”
  • Use real life photos and video to let the kids know that while Ricky’s story is fictional, his suffering and rescue are not;
  • Discuss what it means to be kind and what happens when people are not;
  • Bring actual photos of dogs from local shelters for the kids to see, draw, and tell stories about;
  • Discuss how they can make a difference in the lives of shelter dogs;
  • Make a “Be Kind” plan with the kids to help dogs get adopted; and
  • Execute plan in subsequent visits.

Depending on the age of the kids and the amount of time we had, the 7 steps above can take one to three sessions. The one thing that never fails to happen is that the kids get the message loud and clear: even one small act of kindness can make a difference. They leave feeling excited, empowered and ready to use what they’ve learned.

I guess we don’t have to tell you that none of this would have been possible without the enthusiastic support from and collaboration with some outstanding teachers, librarians and bookstore owners. We also want to thank the kids, whose willingness to jump into the stories, bark with the dogs, laugh with Ms. Jenaia and share their own stories about dogs made every class a blast. We learned as much as we taught, and that’s the real gift.

The picture above is by a 6th grader at Endeavor Charter School in Raleigh, NC.  As you can see, the kids had fun and showed us they have some pretty impressive drawing skills.  We’re including more below and will post more to Facebook, Twitter, and the schools’ Pinterest boards. See for more images.

Copyright 2014 by Jena Ball. All Rights Reserved.