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Students step up to help the animals

By Mandy Lichtmann

Published 3:36 PDT, Fri June 28, 2019

Last Updated: 3:37 PDT, Fri June 28, 2019

When most people think of the Regional Animal Protection Society, what probably comes to mind is the work we do directly with animals at the RAPS City of Richmond Animal Shelter, the RAPS Cat Sanctuary and the RAPS Animal Hospital.

When most people think of the Regional Animal Protection Society, what probably comes to mind is the work we do directly with animals at the RAPS City of Richmond Animal Shelter, the RAPS Cat Sanctuary and the RAPS Animal Hospital.

An equally important part of our work, though, involves people. RAPS is an advocacy organization for animals. We work with elected officials, influencers and the public to make sure that the well-being of animals is part of government policy. We also educate the public—especially young people – about the responsibilities and joys of animal companionship as well as safety and mutual respect in human-animal interactions.

A big part of what we do is visiting schools, where we invariably meet young people who are deeply devoted to animals and want to learn more about how they can help. Often, these classes decide to organize fundraising events to raise money for the animals.

Lately, we have been thrilled by several school groups that have done amazing things to advance the cause of no-kill animal care in Metro Vancouver.

In February, Ryan, a Grade 6 student at Sacred Heart School in Ladner, visited the RAPS City of Richmond Animal Shelter to learn all she could about role of the shelter. Each student in Ryan’s class was tasked with choosing a charity and delivering a persuasive presentation. The charity getting most of student votes would receive most of fundraised dollars. We were so excited when Ryan told us her presentation on RAPS won.

Ryan and the other students in Mr. Heraghty’s class each created hand-made products that were sold to the students and staff at Sacred Heart at an in-class market. The items included hair scrunchies, organic dog biscuits, bath bombs and fidget toys, among many other cool items. The sale raised a whopping $855—all of it donated to RAPS.

Our outreach team, including RAPS bunny ambassadors Jasper and Alice, had a fantastic visit to Mr. Heraghty’s class. The students were thrilled to learn that their dollars would allow them to sponsor a sanctuary cats for a year. The students chose to sponsor a bonded trio—Walker, Capilano and Chinook.

These three cats were originally brought to the city shelter but were transferred to the cat sanctuary in September 2010 because they were thought to be too shy and feral to be adopted. Over the years, Chinook and Walker have become more comfortable with humans, but Capilano is still reluctant to have human contact and would rather watch you from a distance. The three boys are all thought to be around 10 years old. The Grade 6 Sacred Heart sponsorship will help provide food, litter and medical care for a year for the gorgeous trio.

This is just one example. (Be sure to follow our social media feeds to keep up on great news stories like these.)

We have also had incredibly generous support from students at Churchill and Magee Secondary schools in Vancouver; The Early Act Club, which includes students at Cambie Secondary, McNeely Elementary, and Mitchell Elementary schools; the Multicultural Club from Palmer Secondary; and the Global Group from Bridge Elementary. Each of these student groups have sponsored at least one Sanctuary cat—in some cases two and, like the Sacred Heart group, three.

The students receive a sponsorship package that includes a letter, certificate, and vouchers to visit the Sanctuary and meet their sponsored cats.

When news reports seem dismal, the kindness of young people like these animal-loving student groups can reassure us with positive hopes for the future. In addition to the immediate benefits that the animals of RAPS realize from these students’ generosity and the fun the students have meeting our animals, we believe we are making a positive difference in their lives. We hope this inspires in them a lifetime of philanthropy and volunteering.

Mandy Lichtmann is the community development and volunteer coordinator of the Regional Animal Protection Society.

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