Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fall into R.E.A.C.H.!

What a wild few weeks into the new school year it has been for Project R.E.A.C.H. students. We’ve been so busy!!

One of our first priorities during the month of September was to help advertise for our fundraising for Camden County Animal Shelter’s “Pledge A Paw” Dog Walk and Event on October 12th, 2014 from 12 to 4. Because the walk is on a Sunday, most students will be unable to attend, but Mrs. Sears and a band of Project R.E.A.C.H. supporters will be walking rain or shine to make sure #TeamProjectREACH is well represented. J  Due in part to the students’ efforts, we are just $20 shy of reaching $400.00 in online and in-person donations. Should you like to support Project R.E.A.C.H. as we raise funds for the adoptable dogs at CCAS, here is the link to make an online donation:
We certainly appreciate your support.

In the pictures below, we are designing our own advertisements for the “Pledge A Paw” Event.

On September 25, 2014, we participated in the 2nd Annual “Remember Me Thursday” event, which seeks to raise awareness about the millions of adoptable pets euthanized each year and to “shine a light” on pet adoption. To show our support, during their lesson, students were able to light virtual candles, which can be seen in the gallery on and also were able to light their own candles and “make a wish” for the adoptable animals looking for homes. Shared below are some videos and pictures of the day!

We have also begun our efforts to design a downloadable charity cookbook, the sales from which will be donated to Salem County Humane Society as we can. Due to resource limitation and environmental concerns, people who donate will receive, via e-mail, a pdf version of our cookbook for their use, upon a requested donation. Information about the donation fee and how to purchase a downloadable charity cookbook will come available when we are able to come up with the complete formatting. In the mean time, if you have any favorite recipes (it doesn’t matter if it is  breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or snack/ or a treat for a pup or kitty), please feel free to message us at, leave a comment on the page, or leave us a comment here on our blog. Make sure to let us know whether it is ok for us to publish your first and last name or just your first name with the recipe, or if you’d prefer to be anonymous.

Coming soon, we will be drumming up support for our 2nd annual “Warm and Fuzzy Towel and Blanket” donation drive as well as our 2nd Annual “Bow Wow and Meow Holiday Giving Drive.” After the wonderful success of last year’s donation drives, we are super excited to get these drives up and running to make sure that we are able to get some much needed supplies to Salem County Humane Society and other shelters in our area such as Cumberland County SPCA, Gloucester County Animal Shelter, and Camden County Animal Shelter.

Moving forward, there are going to be many more amazing lessons to learn and projects to work on to help us give back to animals in the community. If you have any ideas about ways that Project R.E.A.C.H. can further our REACH, please feel free to let us know.

Also, if you haven't already, please check out the collaboration with "Dog By Dog" at 

As always, thank you for your continued support of my students!! I greatly appreciate your effort to help us do what we do.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Shaking Up the Summer! :)

It has been a very busy summer for Project R.E.A.C.H. I've been a little low-key on blogging because there has been so much going on behind the scenes. I'm also trying to get an idea of some of the types of projects that would be most beneficial for my students and the animals in need/ organizations we can work with to create awareness and to generate much needed funds/ resources.

I can't stress enough, the importance of spreading the word to help animals in need and doing all we can to make my students and others aware of the ways in which action (or inaction) can have consequences. Local animal shelters are bursting at the seams with adoptable animals. Unfortunately, many of these organizations do not have the resources to keep all of the animals, which leads to euthanization. That is why fostering, networking, and advocating for animals in need is so important. I'm pleased to inform you that several Project R.E.A.C.H.'s supporters are actively involved in efforts to place animals in need in loving foster/adoptive homes to save as many lives as they can. This group of dedicated animal advocates work as the Agape'-Adopt-Foster group, which you can "like" and "share" on Facebook.

Additionally, I wanted to remind everyone of our work with Dog By Dog. "Dog By Dog" is a documentary about the terrible, cruel, and inhumane reality of puppy mills that is

"following the money trail across the United States and confronting those that have maintained this corrupt and irresponsible system. While many documentaries have admirably exposed the public to the sickening underworld of puppy mills, what has been missing from the public discussion is a close examination of the umbrella of monetary support which have sentenced millions of healthy dogs to death and allowed the most irresponsible dog breeders to thrive. Many people try to save these animals one by one, or dog by dog. This documentary aims to point out the problems of the current system in order to move toward a kinder and gentler one." (
You may recall that I (Mrs. Sears) collaborated with Team DBD to contribute to their Kids Page on their website, which focuses on ways that other people can help to bring humane education to their schools, youth organizations, etc. There are also some fun coloring pages (which kids of all ages can enjoy) to spread a positive message about opting to adopt and ending puppy mills. You can check out the Kids Page here: The documentary is set to be released soon, so you will be hearing more about what's going on with team Dog By Dog by making sure to "like" and "share" their Facebook page ( If Twitter is more your thing, follow them at @DogByDogDoc.

In other fun news, Project R.E.A.C.H. is also now on TWITTER!! What?! :) So that means that the students will be "tweeting" throughout the school year. Exciting, right? :) If you like to tweet, you can follow us at @projectreach13 Don't forget to use hashtags like #projectreach #research #educate #act #create #help #opttoadopt #voiceforthevoiceless to trend our mission! :)

If you enjoy getting outdoors and/or  helping out a great cause, you may be interested in supporting Project R.E.A.C.H.'s efforts to collect money to benefit the adoptable animals at Camden County Animal Shelter as a part of the "Pledge a Paw Dog Walk and Event" on Sunday, October 12, 2014 from 12 p.m.-4 p.m. at Camden County College. It is a "1k Dog Walk and Event full of contests, games, and a walk to pledge money to benefit the animals of Camden County Animal Shelter." If you would be interested in donating to our efforts to raise $100.00 or to join our team, that would be great! You can check out our page below. :)

This may be random, but, who here likes food? (I'm imagining you all are raising your hands.) Second question: Who here enjoys helping Project R.E.A.C.H. help animals in need? (I'm picturing the crowd going wild). Well, here's the scoop. I'm toying around with the idea of maybe having the students design a charity cookbook to use as a fundraiser to benefit animals in need. For a cookbook, you need recipes. See, that's where you would come in! :) Do you have a special recipe that you love? Do you think it deserves to see it's name in lights? Yeah?! Me, too. Don't worry if you don't think your recipe is fancy enough. If it's good to eat, that sounds great to us. It could be a recipe for a snack, an appetizer, a main course, a salad, dog/kitty treats--you name it, we could nom on it! :) If you have a recipe that you wouldn't mind sharing, please message it to us and you will see your name in lights (or in this case, in a cookbook). If you like this idea for the kids to design a cookbook, please let me know!!

Friday, June 20, 2014

365. Happy 1ST Birthday, Project R.E.A.C.H.


1 year.

It was exactly one year ago, on June 20, 2013 that I officially established Project R.E.A.C.H. There have been so many amazing things that have resulted from the development of this humane education initiative and it's all due to the hard work of my students and your unwavering support.

You can check out the first blog entry here: and visit the archives for past entries.

Over the past year, we have accomplished many things together and moving forward, I know these accomplishments will continue to multiply.In the past month alone, some pretty amazing things have been happening not only for Project R.E.A.C.H. and my students,  but also for me.

National Kind Teacher of 2014

I received notification that I am the Humane Society of the United States' "National Kind Teacher."
Pretty cool! You can check that out here:
Here I am with my adopted pups (left to right) Niko, Rudy, and Harley! :)
Mural Design and Creation

The design of the mural for Salem County Humane Society was a whole process, which required a lot of teamwork and effort on the part of my students. It involved sketching a to-scale size sketch of the mural in pencil and outlining it in black sharpie marker to make it pop visually for me to have something to reference when I went to sketch the mural on to the wall so the kids could just focus on painting when we went to SCHS, as time was limited and we decided it would make life a lot easier! :) Here are some pictures of the sketch in progress:


On May 30 and June 6, we took our plans for our Salem County Humane Society and due to my students' tireless efforts, there is now a beautiful mural gracing the side of the no kill shelter in Carneys Point. On top of that, while at the shelter, my students read to and socialized with adoptable kitties, advertised for adoptable dogs, make cat toys, decorated the shelter, and made various crafts.

Dog By Dog Partnership

We were also able to reveal our partnership with Dog By Dog, which is a documentary from 5414 Productions.  

You can "like" DBD on Facebook: 
You can "like" 5414 Productions on Facebook:
Dog by Dog is a documentary that aims to wake up the American public to the horrible realities of puppy mills by following the money trail across the United States and confronting those that have maintained this corrupt and irresponsible system. While many documentaries have admirably exposed the public to the sickening underworld of puppy mills, what has been missing from the public discussion is a close examination of the umbrella of monetary support which have sentenced millions of healthy dogs to death and allowed the most irresponsible dog breeders to thrive. Many people try to save these animals one by one, or dog by dog. This documentary aims to point out the problems of the current system in order to move toward a kinder and gentler one.
 Together we have provided resources to help others begin humane education initiatives like R.E.A.C.H. to spread our message of positivity and love of animals to people across the country, hopefully inspiring others to help in their communities.

You can check out the page here:

Awarding Salem County Humane Society 

We were also able to give thanks to Salem County Humane Society for going "Above and Beyond" in helping us to achieve our service learning mission this year by awarding them at our 2014 Graduation Ceremony on Tuesday, June 17.

Looking Forward and Reflecting
We have also begun strategizing some plans for the coming 2014-2015 school year. You won't be disappointed.

Over the past year, I have met many amazing people as a result of Project R.E.A.C.H., all of whom have inspired me in their own way. This project has pushed me as an educator and as a person to continue to appreciate and  to recognize the power of one: one voice,  one message, one willing heart.

One might seem like a small, useless number, easily swept aside by more commanding numbers,  and if you think superficially, that's what you will continue to believe. However, if you pause to recognize the power of one, you will understand precisely what I mean. One is a building block. Without one, there could never be two. I speak to my students and to you when I say that you can be the one person to start a movement. You know this to be true. It's only when you are willing to open your mind to the possibility of what you are truly capable that you can reach out to others to show the world how you share your heart. 

I think, in some small way, my students and I have started just that. I hope that in some way, my students' efforts have shown you the vast expanse of your own potential to do good in this world, as we explore the ways we can make a difference. Our journey has just begun. 2014-2015 promises to be another year of success and exploration as we use our creativity and our talents to help animals in need in our community.

Thank you.
Thank you. 
Thank you.

Thanks to each and every ONE of you who recognize the power of ONE and who saw value in joining your voice with ours.

So, tell me: How do you R.E.A.C.H.?

Happy 1st Birthday, Project R.E.A.C.H.

Words from the Students

With that being said, I will leave you with some parting words from some of our R.E.A.C.H. students:

"Just love animals. Treat them as if they were you, but a miniature you, of course."-Jermaine

"Project R.E.A.C.H. is awesome. This year I had a lot of fun with Project R.E.A.C.H. Next year I’m looking forward to playing with the cats again and I can’t wait to help more." -Kevin

"Stay safe and help animals!"- Brandon

"Don’t be afraid to help animals." –Nah’Shon

"Animals are great creatures and they need love also." –Austin

"They need more support. Help animals at the shelter!" -Brazonna

"Give love to animals like you would humans."-Josh

"It is important to help animals because they need help."

Start small. THINK BIG. R.E.A.C.H.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Student Blog: Project REACH

      Project R.E.A.C.H. is fun. We get to help animals while doing various different activities. This upcoming week we will be visiting the Salem County Humane Society to paint a huge mural on the wall. Hopefully people will stop in to check out all of the beautiful adoptable animals. I hope while we are there, we can observe the animals. I'd like read to them and also help groom and clean out their cages.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April Showers Bring...the Act of Giving!

Not only have we extended our "Crafts for Critters" donation drive, where a $5.00 donation to the Salem County Humane Society will get you a student made Perler Bead ornament/magnet, we have so many other cool things starting to happen.

We are going to be customizing bandannas to donate to adoptable pups and kittens to make them look super cute in their "adopt me" photos. We are also going to be writing to our local legislators to ask them to crack down on animal cruelty and other issues facing animals in our community.

Project R.E.A.C.H. students are also hard at work on arranging activities for our trip to Salem County Humane Society in late May/ early June to paint a mural. We would love to hear from you some ideas that you think would be great to include in our mural design. :)

Additionally, I would like to thank everyone who showed my students so much love for the amazing work they did on the banner for the Salem County Humane Society's annual "Fur Ball" event in mid-March.

The students in each group collaborated to produce the design of the banner. Next, they traced the design using clip art and text formatted on the Promethean Board using a large piece of bulletin board paper in pencil. Once complete, the students outlined the pencil tracing in dark colored markers that would be visible through the banner material. The banner material was then neatly spread over top of the bulletin board paper so the students could trace the design onto the fabric using sharpened pencils. Afterward, students determined the appropriate paint colors to use for the different sections of the banner and went to work!

I'm sure that you will agree (in case you haven't already seen it) that the banner is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Creative embellishments such as the glittering clouds and students' unique color schemes tied this banner together, capping off the idea that there is "no place like a forever home" and that you can certainly find your forever friend at the Salem County Humane Society. We are all very thankful for all of the wonderful work that the good people of SCHS do to help animals in our community find the families of their dreams! :) In case you were wondering, the Fur Ball was a great success for our friends at SCHS and we couldn't be happier that we were able to help them with this banner that can be used for many years to come.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

2014: New Year, New Adventures. :)

Wow! Where has the time gone? January came and went by in a flash. I want to start off by thanking each and every one of you for the continuous support of my students and the Project R.E.A.C.H. initiative. We couldn't do it without you. We look forward to continuing to share our journey with you.

A look ahead at the rest of the school year has us VERY busy! :) We are going to be writing letters, designing public service announcements, and hard at work learning about the ways we can continue to help animals in need!

Moving forward, we have been asked by the Salem County Humane Society to design a banner for their upcoming third annual "Fur-Ball." We are so excited to be able to help them with this event and the students are surely going to "unleash" their creativity to make this banner another wonderful success that will make us all very proud. The details about the "Fur-Ball" are pictured below. If you have any questions, please reach out to Joann or Debbie.

With that being said, the students are also getting geared up for our "Crafts for Critters" fundraiser that will benefit the Salem County Humane Society. Stay tuned for student advertising and more details about ways you can help us make this fundraiser a GREAT success to help animals!!

Thank you!