Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union Unites Kids and Shelter Animals
For the second consecutive year, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union is excited to sponsor a collaboration between the Greater Lowell Family YMCA and Lowell Humane Society. The Tales 4 Tails Program allows children at the YMCA to visit Lowell Humane Society to read aloud to dogs, cats, rabbits and other shelter animals that are awaiting adoption.
The first session of the six-week Tales 4 Tails program was held on Wednesday, July 10th. Students in groups of six to eight will continue to visit Lowell Humane Society two times per week during the summer. Kids aged 9-13 will read to the animals on Wednesdays and kids aged 5-8 will read to animals on Thursdays. Each reading session lasts one hour, and the students choose their own books to read.
“Last year was such a success,” said Erin Hebert, Summer Reading Program Director and Membership Director at the Greater Lowell Family YMCA. “There are so many kids where the thought of getting picked in the middle of the classroom to read out loud causes so much anxiety. Here, there is no judgement. They’re getting to read out loud, it’s helping to build their fluency in reading and their confidence level to read out loud, and they continue to build a passion.”
Hebert chooses the children who participate in the Tales 4 Tails program, and also conducts her own reading activities at the YMCA to instill the joy of reading in children.
She was able to enter the time the kids spent reading at the Lowell Humane Society last year into Scholastic’s 2018 Summer Reading Challenge. In total, 60 campers read for 6,120 minutes over the course of the summer, and the Greater Lowell YMCA received a Top Community Partner award for being third in the country for community partners with the most reading minutes. Erin hopes to beat the total number of minutes this year, and believes the Tales 4 Tails program will play a big role in making that happen.
“The Tales 4 Tails program is not only a great way to bring two community organizations together, but it offers us the opportunity partner the students and animals in our community,” said Mark S. Cochran, President and Chief Executive Officer of Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union. “We are excited to once again offer this program, and are looking forward to its continued success.”
While the children are improving their reading skills, the shelter animals receive much needed human interaction, which increases their chances of adoption. It also helps the pets destress from shelter life.
“Seeing the kids interacting with animals and reading to them, and the animals relaxing, is just wonderful because it can be really stressful for the animals here,” said Crystal Arnott, Communications & Fundraising Manager at the Lowell Human Society.
Arnott explained that the participants read to the animals before the shelter opens to the public and gets busy.
“It improves [the animals’] adoptability because they can get used to someone being outside of their kennel and speaking, so they won’t get as excited if people come in, and they aren’t as jumpy and bouncy. People are more apt to ask to meet them,” Arnott said.
The Tales 4 Tails reading program will run until Thursday, August 15th.
Photo cutline: Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union has partnered with Lowell Humane Society and the Greater Lowell Family YMCA for the second consecutive year to offer a summer reading program which allows kids to visit animals at the shelter and read to them.