By Beth Begany
A group of preschoolers at a Montessori school in central Pennsylvania were recently inspired by a visit from Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur, who read them the story of Hope, a rescued pig.
Gene was in the area to speak at Penn State, and he was happy to accept an invitation from local Farm Sanctuary members Denise Goodman and Todd Denlinger, who asked whether Gene would like to come to their son’s school.
“It’s always great to be able to talk to kids,” Gene says. “They have such a wonderful capacity for empathy and caring, and they really identify with the stories of the animals we’ve been able to rescue and bring to sanctuary.”
Lynn Chaplin, the school’s director, was enthusiastic about Gene coming to talk, seeing in it the potential to help foster her students’ deep respect and love for nature and animals.
“The future will be in their hands,” she says. “The more they know, the better that future will be.”
The group of pre-schoolers (along with their teachers and some parents) listened intently to Hope’s story, and then they shared a lunch catered by a local vegan eatery.
And, while Hope’s story was very moving, Denise and Todd thought it would really help the kids identify with farm animals if they did something more. So, the class “adopted” Faith cow through our classroom adoption program. The class received a photo of Faith, an animal fact sheet, and each student received a personal adoption certificate.
Faith’s portrait is now hanging proudly in the classroom.
“Faith’s story is particularly appropriate, because her rescue was orchestrated by a 12-year-old girl,” Gene explains. “The lesson here is that kids can be powerful agents of compassion and change.”
Top photo: Faith at Farm Sanctuary's New York Shelter