Unleashed, the brainchild of Fierke 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Amanda
Rambo, is a school club that focuses on animal concern. Mrs. Rambo saw the need
to educate the youth about animal abuse and neglect.
The club is open to students in grades 3-5. The past three years there were approximately 30 students in club, All students and parents/guardians are informed that the club will discuss real world issues such as puppy mills, dog fighting, chained and penned dogs, just to name a few. Mrs. Rambo said, “It is important to me that they know what really goes on in the world and everything is not perfect especially in the lives of animals who cannot advocate for themselves. The content is age appropriate, but not sugarcoated. It is my hope that what is learned in Kindness Unleashed will be applied later in life to make informed decisions about animals and to spread the word about adoption.”
For the school club to handle the number of students it has Mrs. Rambo needed help. Mrs. Dian Schulz, a 5th grade teacher at Fierke, has been assisting with the club for the past two years.
The projects/activities the students work on include:
- Discussion about the proper treatment and care of animals
- Operation Happy Sock (cat toys out of old donated socks, stuffing and catnip)
- Made no-sew fleece blankets for a local dog rescue.
- Participate in the Dogs Deserve Better Valentine Campaign for chained and penned dogs by making valentines that will be sent to dog owners who keep their dogs chained and penned 24/7
- A visit from a dog trainer/nutritionist
- Discuss the importance of spaying and neutering
- Discuss overpopulation and play an overpopulation game so the students can see how quickly it can become a problem
- Visits from local rescues including Homeless Hounds Rescue (based out of Oak Forest) and It’s a Pittie (based out of Peotone/Monee area)
- Take a field trip to PAWS of Tinley Park so the students can experience firsthand the inner workings of an animal shelter, the toll it takes on the animals being caged, and how volunteers make a difference in the community
- The Puppy Mill Project comes to discuss what a puppy mill is and how to avoid purchasing a puppy from a puppy mill
- Host a supply drive for new or used pet items that are then donated to 9 different shelters in southern Illinois who receive little to no funding from the state and are run solely by volunteers
- Create posters for the hallways to call attention to upcoming activities/projects
- Make school wide announcements to remind students of upcoming service projects such as October being Adopt-a-Shelter Pet Month or November being Adopt-a-Senior Pet Month
Mrs. Rambo states, “I got the idea for this club after working in animal rescue (I have been involved in animal rescue for 6 years) and seeing that the children will be able to make a difference. They just need to be educated on proper care and treatment. I currently work with a non-profit organization Homeless Hounds Rescue (www.homelesshoundsrescue.com). They host a variety of fundraisers, attend adoption events, and also work to educate the community on the importance of spay/neuter and proper care and treatment of animals. They have been great helping to work with our students, and they appreciate the donations that our club participants obtain on behalf of the animals. Teaching our students at a young age to care about our planet, each other, and animals helps to develop our students as they grow. Compassion is a great quality.”