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.

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