Teaming Up with the SPCA Paws for Love Program
Dogs and cats from the SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love program have visited an Amherst Middle School special education classroom for the past two years. The students fell in love with the animals and the positive benefits of the visits made it an easy decision for the school to choose the Paws for Love program as its yearlong service project.
On Friday, Oct. 25 Amherst Middle School launched its 2019-2020 service project to benefit the four-footed friends at the SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love program. Starting in the 2017-18 school year, volunteers in the Paws for Love program would bring their dogs and cats to Maria Goldman’s special education classroom. Every Wednesday, five furry friends visit the classroom and sit by students as they read books aloud. This school year marks the third year the Paws for Love volunteers will visit Mrs. Goldman’s class at Amherst Middle School.
“The SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love program is honored and thankful to be chosen as the beneficiary of Amherst Middle School's community project this year,” said Debbie Braun, SPCA Paws for Love coordinator. “Amherst Middle was the first school in WNY that our therapy animal teams visited, and we are looking incredibly forward to furthering this partnership!”
By launching a yearlong service project, the entire school will develop various fundraisers and special events to raise money for the Paws for Love program, which is made up entirely of volunteers.
The first service project at Amherst Middle School was during the 2014-15 school year and the partner was Buffalo Women’s and Children’s Hospital. In subsequent years, the school has partnered with the Boys & Girls Club-Eggertsville Youth and Community Center, Carly’s Club, Tiger’s Den Food Pantry and Danceability.
“Paws for Love provides students the opportunity to read to animals and receive unconditional support while doing so,” said Mrs. Goldman. “The therapy animals help the students feel calm and they lose any inhibitions with regards to reading out loud. Reluctant readers are always eager when the dogs and cats are around to lend an ear!”
Last year, her students made fleece blankets to donate to the SPCA and they also sold $1 pawprints to raise money to donate to the SPCA’s Paws for Love program.