Service-Learning Toolkit for Animal Projects
Photo credit: Hunter & Ashley: November 2010 by Amy Selleck is licensed under CC by 2.0
The best service-learning projects are related to academic instruction, involve youth voice and choice, address a researched need, and work with local resources.
Teach Learning to Give lessons to connect service with academic subjects and build philanthropy knowledge and skills. These lesson plans teach about the issues, why we should care and act, and the skills and knowledge of social good, such as writing, advocacy, history, fundraising, and careers.
Types of Service Projects
Service action may be direct, indirect, advocacy, research, or a combination of these.
Host a dog wash event
Contact local animal shelters or organizations and see if they would be interested in a dog washing event. People from the community could bring their dogs and get a wash for a donation. Youth can fundraise donations from friends and family to purchase the supplies needed, if there is extra money it can be donated to the shelter. Photo Credit: Princess from 3-11 by Jo & Joey is licensed under CC by 4.0
Create a PSA
Have youth research different organizations that have animal fostering programs. They can make social media campaigns and PSA videos on the importance of fostering adoptable pets.
Contact local animal shelters or the Humane Society to see if they would be interested in being a part of an animal painting event. Youth can raise money for animal-friendly paint and canvases and then facilitate the ‘painting’ with the adoptable pets in the shelter. The paintings then could be sold or auctioned off as a fundraiser. Photo Credit: Animal Shelter Painting Event by wabisabi2015 is licensed under CC by 4.0
DIY animal toys
Craft and create homemade animal toys out of old fabric and recycled items. Here are many ideas that could be delivered to animals at the local shelters.
- Bake dog or cat treats and take them to the shelters
- Have young people write letters to the editor for the school or local newspapers focused on advocating for adopting dogs from shelters or for animals rights.
- Coordinate a flash mob dance to a song with an animal theme to raise money and awareness for local animal needs.
- Research and compile statistics regarding the endangered and threatened animal species in your area. They could find out what they could do to help and educate the community on their findings.
- Research, write and create PSAs and other materials about the importance of animal ID tags and microchipping.
- Conduct a needs assessment of a local animal shelter; plan and implement a drive to collect specific needed items to donate.
- Host a Spay/Neuter Day in the local community or at school. Research the importance of spaying and neutering pets.
Support the transition away from animal dissection in science classes by educating your school and other schools in the community about the alternatives to animal dissection.
Planning a Service-Learning Project
This resource provides guidance and questions for each step of the process.
This chart helps youth prepare for who does what in the service-learning process.
Potential Community Partners
Find partners in your community who will work with youth on animal related projects. Engage youth in investigating the issue and calling the partners. Connecting with a community resource makes the project more meaningful and impactful.
- Animal shelters
- Humane Society
- Animal rights advocates
- Animal rescues
- Animal rehabilitation centers
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
- World Wildlife Fund
- Local farmers
- Community members with animal interests
This is a list of resources that may expand the learning around the issue area and involve youth in identifying needs and solutions
This link has resources for educators and parents that are related to educational activities on animals. It is structured in three different groupings for grade level, so applicable content can be easily found. There are posters, lesson plans, brochures and craft activities.
This resource provides links to many websites that have educational and kid-friendly information on animals and wildlife.
This website is a fun way to donate dog food, cat food and cat litter every day by just answering trivia questions. They have provided millions of meals to dogs and cats over the years. This could be a great daily tradition for the family or the classroom.
The Humane Society has many online resources that are catered towards K-12 students. On this link it provides information on their animal magazine, ideas on how to help animals, ways to connect school projects and homework with animal related issues, and other supporting resources.
This organization is focused on wildlife, conservation and environmental education. They offer workshops for a minimal fee and materials that help young people understand the connections between humans and wildlife.
We Animals focuses on documenting how animals are viewed and used in the human environment. They have countless photographs and videos that depict animals in fairs, bullfighting, aquariums, and other environments. These resources could be used for research and educational support. The above link also has an extensive list on how to help animals.
Humane Society. "Habitat Happiness" humanesociety.org, 2016. Web.
Humane Society. "Pick Out the Pet" humanesociety.org, 2016. Web.
International Fund for Animal Welfare. "Cats, Dogs, and Us" ifaw.org, 2016 Web.