Making an impact

Local students are helping animals at Women’s Humane Society find forever homes

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

A sweet tale: The first through fifth-graders of Molly Moran’s gifted support program at Belmont Hills and Cornwells elementary schools wrote creative biographies for animals at the Women’s Humane Society to help them get adopted. SOURCE: Susan Phy

Molly Moran’s students didn’t think one small action could have a positive impact on the world. She made it her mission to prove them wrong.

Earlier this month, in conjunction with Martin Luther King Day, Moran, a gifted support teacher at Belmont Hills and Cornwells elementary schools in Bensalem, teamed with the local Women’s Humane Society for a special service project. Her students, who range from grades one through five, would write creative biographies for the animals at the shelter to help them get adopted.

In the days leading up to MLK Day, Moran had her students thinking about one question — what are you doing for others? During one particular discussion, they touched on the idea of whether one small action can change the world. Much to Moran’s disappointment, her students said “no.” They didn’t believe a little act of kindness would have any impact. She needed to make them see that it could.

A few weeks prior, Moran had attended a volunteer orientation at the Women’s Humane Society, 3839 Richlieu Road, to see what the animal shelter was all about. She quickly learned that it receives no government funding, relying entirely on volunteer support for its day-to-day operations. It was the perfect opportunity to show her students firsthand how their actions can positively affect the community.

Moran received basic information from Laura Horton, volunteer coordinator at Women’s Humane Society, of several animals up for adoption. Each student was assigned their own animal looking for a forever home. According to Moran, they were on board within seconds of receiving their pet’s picture, with some wanting to adopt the cat or dog themselves.

“The kids responded really well to it,” she said.

The students began writing their biographies on Tuesday, Jan. 16, and the creativity flowed throughout the entire week. Several students, such as 8-year old Anjali, wrote from the animal’s perspective, spinning possible deal-breakers for potential owners into positive traits.

Her biography on Millie the cat reads: “People are lining up to get me, but I like you. Do you like me? My name is Millie and I love to be around other people. Because I am an older cat, I am much wiser than a kitten. If I would get an award, it would be for ‘The Most Active Cat’ because I am very social and chatty. Please take me home so we can sit by the fireplace, drink some hot chocolate on a cold day and talk for hours. Get your paws moving and start your application to adopt me today!”

Other students, such as 9-year old Jacob, advertised their animals in true kid fashion.

For Cooper the cat, Jacob wrote: “‘Meow,’ this is your future pet calling for you! This loveable, 9-year old cat is good with all ages. When asked, volunteers described this cat as ‘incredibly sweet.’ With him around, your lap will never be cold again! At home, Cooper will be waiting for you on the couch texting you, ‘Cuddles?’ with cat heart eyes emojis. Will you text back, ‘Yes?’ Come see me today at the Women’s Humane Society!”

Finally, students such as 10-year old Mary, who wrote about her assigned cat Dickory, managed to creatively tug at the heartstrings while adding a bit of humor.

Her biography read: “Attention! Attention! Looking for a new roommate. Must love cuddles and pizza. My last owner was allergic, so they left me in this cat hotel. My neighbors listen to cat opera all day so I am looking for a quiet place with a loving family.”

By the end of the week, Moran saw a positive change in the mindset of her students. She reflected on one of her third graders who said, “It’s like we are standing up for the animals and literally giving them a voice.”

They were able to see that by dedicating a mere few hours, they were making an impact on the community. Thanks to their biographies, Moran explained to her students how locals will be more intrigued to learn about these potential furry companions, which will hopefully result in more adoptions. Who could pass up a cat that talks about cuddles?

The students’ biographies will be available online in the coming weeks. Visit womenshumanesociety.org for more information on the animal shelter. ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com