It seems that kids and animals just naturally go together. Fourth graders from Richmond County Elementary and Middle School developed a project to help animals at the Tappahannock/Essex Animal Shelter as part of the school’s Appreciation Project.
Student leaders for the shelter project, Caroline Medlin and Jack Smith, organized the visit which included helping shelter workers with food and water for all the dogs and cats waiting for adoption, as well as reading to them.
“We wanted to make a positive, lasting difference for our community,” Medlin said when asked about the project.
Both student leaders were excited by the shelter project because their families have both adopted shelter animals in the past. “People always help other people, and sometimes they forget about the animals,” Smith said.
In addition to the morning spent at the shelter, students also plan on having an adoption event where people can meet a few available animals looking for a new home. It will be held at the Parent/Teacher Conferences at Richmond County Elementary and Middle School on November 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. Other student projects for the shelter include creating artwork to beautify the space, and a donation drive collecting food, blankets, and other items.
The Appreciation Project is a student-led initiative mentored by the specials teachers. Each year a grade is chosen, and this year it was the fourth graders who brainstormed ways to make a difference in their community and vote for their favorite activities. In addition to deciding on the projects they would work on, students developed the steps and assigned roles to make sure the projects happened.
The projects weren’t just limited to the animal shelter. On the same morning, two groups of fourth graders visited The Orchard. One group worked with residents to teach them how to use technology and the other helped them make outdoor bird feeders out of pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed.
Work on the Appreciation Project will continue throughout the school year. Soon, a mini-library filled with free books will be installed in Warsaw Town Park. Kids will be able to “check-out” books anytime they visit the park, brining another improvement to the downtown Warsaw area.