During the week of Valentine’s Day at the Burbank Animal Shelter, local students from George Washington Elementary School have pitched in to make sure rescued animals are feeling loved.
February is Kindness Awareness Month at George Washington Elementary in Burbank, and visiting the shelter to read to animals is serving as their community outreach initiative. GWE Principal Brandi Young says the goal is to teach kids the value of giving back and treating animals with kindness.
“I hope [students learn] that you need to serve your community,” Young said. “Always get out there and help. And be kind, empathetic and understanding that animals need love and a home.”
Fifth grader Cash Levin says his involvement at the shelter has instilled in him a love of animals. As a frequent visitor, he knows that adoption is crucial because “these pets might have been here for one or two years” without finding a home, Levin said.
Being around the animals has also inspired Levin’s future career aspirations.
“I either want to work [at the Burbank Animal Shelter] or be a veterinarian,” Levin added.
Fellow fifth grader Hailey Collins read to two cats during the event and felt compelled to volunteer in order to make the animals feel appreciated.
“[Visiting is important] so they can be happier,” Collins said.
Stacie Wood-Levin serves as Senior Animal Control Officer at the Burbank Animal Shelter and emphasizes how the event provides a great opportunity for students and the animals alike.
“[The kids] absolutely love it,” Wood-Levin said. “I think a lot of these kids live in apartments and they can’t have animals so it’s nice for them to come here and be able to pet them and talk to them. It’s good for them to read and it’s calming for the animals.”
Besides organized, school-related events, the shelter also allows for visitors to read to animals throughout the year.
“We have an ongoing program where we have donated books from the library, and they can just come get one if they’re here with their parents and sit down and read to an animal at any time,” Wood-Levin added.
Overall, Wood-Levin encourages all Burbank residents to come visit the shelter, adopt, and gain a new perspective through the eyes of a rescue animal.
“It’s important to come in and bring your family and friends into the shelter just to see how wonderful our animals here are,” Wood-Levin said.
For more info on the Burbank Animal Shelter, visit their site here: https://www.burbankpd.org/programs/animal-shelter/