Watch this page for news about Growing Kinder.

January 2017

The last few years have been quiet ones for Growing Kinder but new plans and programs are in the works. New programs for the whole family (pets included) will be available soon.

July 2013

Growing Kinder did a fundraiser to launch Healing Species in Santa Cruz County. Healing Species is an 11-week violence prevention and empathy nurturing program taught with the help of rescued dogs.

February 2013

From an article in the about Growing Kinder's work, "I honestly believe that folks want to do the right thing and don't want to cause harm,” says Jen Walker, Volunteer Coordinator and Humane Educator at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter in California. “If people truly understand how much more alike than different we are from the other animals we share this world with, they would have to care more - be kinder stewards.”

November 2012:

Growing Kinder's lessons at Mount Madonna School last spring helped their second graders become educators themselves. Please follow the link to read more.

In Growing Kinder's first year over a 1,000 students in Santa Cruz County were reached through multi-session Humane Education presentations and shelter tours. Approximately 75% percent of these students reside in either the San Lorenzo Valley or the South county area. Kids Speak for Pets will be expanding to more classrooms in 2012/2013 as will Pet Start.

Growing Kinder writes quarterly for Growing Up in Santa Cruz to help instruct local families in different areas of pet care including: choosing a new pet, disaster preparedness, and pets and the holidays.

Donating books from our Amazon Wish List will help us prepare to being RedRover Readers to local classrooms!

August of 2012 Growing Kinder is recognized 501c3 nonprofit!

(EIN 45-3606229)

December 2011:
In its first quarter of activity, Growing Kinder will have reached over 500 students in Santa Cruz County with multi-session humane education programs (primarily in South County Head Start classrooms). The Santa Cruz Boys & Girls Club and Ceiba College Preparatory Academy, along with several private preschools, and Big Brothers/Big Sisters also learned with Growing Kinder in 2011.

February 2012 will be Pet Month at Ohlone Elementary School in Watsonville. Nearly 500 after-school program students (first through fifth graders) will take part in multi-session humane education programs with Growing Kinder.

In the coming year, Growing Kinder’s Jen Walker will continue expanding her knowledge and teaching skills by attending the Association of Professional Humane Educators national conference, and attending various related webinars through HSUS, ASPCA-Pro, and other organizations.


From 2009:
One of the lessons that Moon (my canine partner) and I do with preschool children is “Same and Different”. We talk together about the ways we (humans) are the same as or different from Moon. It is a lesson to strengthen observation and communication skills, awareness of same and different, and to build empathy.

One of the students we visited with weekly while with Albertina Kerr was a shy young boy who had a shock of white in his black hair. Moon is a mostly black dog with a few white markings. We were at Circle Time, speaking about all the ways that Moon was like us: two eyes, one nose, liked to eat apples, has a best friend, and so on. This little boy, usually silent and reserved, piped up with “only me and Moon had black and white hair”! He touched his white forelock and Moon’s white shoulder spot. The huge grin on his face, showing his joy at the personal connection he had made with Moon, was a simple but sweet wonder to me.

During our visits thereafter he spoke up more often, showing willingness to answer questions and ask his own.


You can read more at the blog Dogged Animal Welfare.

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