Kids CARE at George Town Primary

Dog trainer Heidi Suarez Rivera shows the kids how it’s done.

Students at George Town Primary School are participating in a new program this month aimed at building their knowledge of proper animal care.

Through the #kidsCARE program, volunteers and their four-legged friends are leading weekly talks on caring for and understanding animals at George Town Primary School until the end of February.

Kiara Jeggo and Kiralee Harnett, standing, pose with students.
Kiara Jeggo and Kiralee Harnett, standing, pose with students.

Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts (CARE) has been active since 2008 in the community as advocates for animal welfare, particularly with regard to their spay and neuter campaigns for pets, aimed at reducing the number of unwanted animals.

The organization launched #kidsCARE in July 2015 with a movie showing at the cinema in conjunction with the YMCA summer camp, CARE volunteer Kiralee Harnett explained.

“The new program aims to teach students empathy for other beings and care for their environment, qualities essential to raising kind, compassionate citizens,” she said. “Domestic pet overpopulation and ill-treatment is an island-wide issue causing social and environmental tensions.

“It can cause friction within communities, pose health and safety issues and environmental impacts, resulting in a threat to Cayman’s precious indigenous wild animal populations including native birds and of course, Cayman’s precious Blue Iguana, and left unchecked will ultimately pose a threat to our tourist industry.”

Ms. Harnett explained that #kidsCARE has been developed to address the need for balance in future generations and empower students to realize they can make a positive difference.
The 45-minute classes are tailored to age and cover topics including introductions to animals, animal safety, pet responsibility, pet overpopulation and animal cruelty.

Ms. Harnett said a recent appeal for more volunteers to help expand the program to more schools received an enthusiastic response.

“Since our launch we have been getting the program off the ground, with a focus on the schools, including John Gray and George Town Primary and in partnership with the Kiwanis club,” said Ms. Harnett, noting CARE participated in the Kiwanis Key Leader weekend and #kidsCARE volunteers join the weekend Kiwanis bookmobile.

Schools or groups interested in holding a session, or volunteers wanting to help can contact CARE at [email protected]