The KidsCARE team was back in action this past Monday, with the commencement of the program’s classroom sessions at Bodden Town Primary School.

The volunteer-run program operating under the umbrella of Cayman Islands animal welfare charity CARE, visits schools class by class, offering up an introduction to pets and pet care, tips on how to interact with animals, and introducing the “5 Freedoms” of animal welfare: freedom from hunger and thirst, from pain and injury, freedom to express normal behavior, freedom from discomfort and from fear and distress.

During their visit to the school the KidsCARE team made presentations to four different classes covering Years 3, 5 and 6.

“It was great to hear both teachers and students had read about one former Bodden Town Primary student, Jayquan Pinet, in the first issue of PetZone magazine we had delivered to the school the week before,” said Kiralee Harnett, who heads up the program, noting that the young man is the magazine’s first KidsCARE hero, recognized for his hard work helping to trap feral cats in his neighborhood through CARE’s trap, neuter and return program.

Since it launched in 2015, Ms. Harnett said KidsCARE has received positive feedback from teachers and students, has also formed a very strong partnership with the YMCA through its after school and summer youth programs.

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At Bodden Town Primary, the students had the chance to meet two KidsCARE dogs in training, Jackie Chan, a CARE adoptee who has spent time with the program’s high school students but was on his first primary school outing, and Flora, who was recently adopted from the Humane Society.

Dogs Jackie Chan and Flora with Year 3 students and CARE volunteers Simone Middleton and Monika Holik at Bodden Town Primary School.

“They both did amazing with [program veterans] Shadow and Lexi to show them how it’s done,” said Ms. Harnett.

In a previous interview with the Compass, Ms. Harnett noted that underpinning the program is the objective of forging empathetic connections.

“We strongly believe in the importance of educating the youth of Cayman, not only for the animals’ sake, but to draw lines of empathy and compassion to the people and environment around us,” she said.

“We are looking forward to the next few Mondays where we will work our way through each class at Bodden Town Primary.”

Ms. Harnett added that KidsCARE is always looking for nominees to be the next PetZone magazine KidsCARE hero, be it through actions like taking part in a community project, holding a fundraiser, educating friends and family about animal welfare or anything else.

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