In 2007, the staff at Prince William SPCA noticed something was missing in their community. An all-volunteer nonprofit in Prince William County, Virginia, they had programs in place to support the adoption of shelter pets, raise awareness about spaying and neutering pets, and prevent animal cruelty, but nothing yet that helped children build empathy for companion animals.
They searched for resources that would support this goal. When they found Kind News magazine, they thought it was a perfect fit for the children in their community. They got to work, reaching out to school administrations and fundraising for the cause. Their efforts paid off: that same school year, they raised enough funds to sponsor magazine subscriptions for 100 classrooms in their community!
But that was just the beginning. We spoke with Melissa Korzuch, President of Prince William SPCA, about their 14-year journey with Kind News and how they came to reach over 13,000 children with the magazine each year:
How does Kind News fit with Prince William SPCA’s mission?
We’re an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff, so having a formal and consistent humane education program in schools is difficult. Since we don’t have the staff to visit schools, Kind News fills that gap. It reaches 13,000 students each year, which is more than we ever could with our volunteer base.
Our mission is to improve the lives of companion animals in our community. What better way to do that than through our children? Kind News speaks directly to them using a fun yet educational approach. It helps us reach a core target audience that can make a huge difference in the lives of companion animals.
How are you able to get the word out about the magazine to so many teachers?
At first, we mailed letters to each of the schools and provided postcards to share with all of the teachers. Now, since we have been sponsoring Kind News for 14 years, teachers in our community know about the publication. Each spring, we use social media to announce the signup period. Our teachers sign up each year through an online form so we have their email addresses and communicate with them before the school year ends. We also ask them to list teachers who may not get the publication and then we reach out to those other teachers directly.
How do you fundraise to support so many classrooms?
Many years ago, we realized the value of Kind News and our board has continued to include it in our annual budget. We have wonderful donors who support us every year knowing we will continue to promote humane education and other programs that benefit companion animals. We have also received donations from schools who host various fundraising events and donate proceeds to the Prince William SPCA.
How do the teachers feel about the magazine?
Our teachers love Kind News because it provides them with a resource that the students enjoy and look forward to throughout the year. The content is relevant and keeps the students engaged. It is a win-win for everyone—especially the companion animals in our community!
What advice do you have for organizations like yours who want to start a program like this in their community?
Start small and build each year. Have an automated system (a simple sign-up form works well) so teachers can sign up online. To cover costs, incorporate the program in your budget and work with donors to help offset costs. Order extra copies and share them with supporters so they can see where their donations will go.
RedRover President and CEO Nicole Forsyth says, “We are honored to have worked with Prince William SPCA for the last four years to support their efforts in bringing Kind News to so many children. The impact they have made on their community is nothing short of amazing. Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers and donors that make these efforts possible.”
What educators are saying about Kind News magazine:
- “The students love the animal photographs, the articles and the games, puzzles and word searches. As a teacher, the magazines are perfect for teaching text features, non-fiction reading, and research.” – Second-grade teacher
- “I love this magazine, as do my students. It is informative and engaging, and it’s useful for reading comprehension, vocabulary development, and as a springboard for oral and written language practice. I love that it inspires compassion for animals.” – Teacher
- “I really love having this as a resource for my students. They absolutely love it and enjoy working with the booklets each time they receive them.” – Second-grade teacher
- “Kids love the non-fiction text and pictures. Kind News keeps them intrigued and wondering what the next issue will be.” – First-grade teacher
- “Wonderful magazine filled with articles that engage discussion with my students about their own pets and care for them.” – Fifth-grade teacher
- “Wonderful lesson suggestions and engaging text! My students love being able to take the magazines home. These encourage both a love of reading and a respect for animals. Thank you!” – First-grade teacher
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