By Joanna D. Samson, FOTAS Vice President
“I believe the children are our future,
Teach them well and let them lead the way.”
If FOTAS had a poster child, it would be Noah Jacobs. Noah and his mother, Kathy Jacobs, have been volunteering at the Aiken County Animal Shelter since the new shelter opened in 2013. (Kathy is now the full-time FOTAS Program Director). Noah was eight years old at the time, and like his mother, has a magic touch with animals. Whenever an adoptable dog is identified as “kid friendly,” it means that it has passed the Noah Jacobs “kid friendly” test, which has proven to be a tried and true endorsement.
Noah, who is twelve now, attends the Tall Pines STEM Academy. The Academy is mission oriented, and last year, the students in Noah’s class selected FOTAS and the Aiken County Animal Shelter as one of their missions. The students asked Kathy and Bobby Arthurs, the Shelter Manager and Chief Animal Control Officer for the County, to make a presentation to the class.
Kathy and Bobby, along with a couple of adoptable dogs, made the trek to the school and talked to the students about the work and dedication involved in caring and finding homes for the thousands of homeless animals that come through the Shelter every year. The students rallied to the cause, and over the next month, raised money and in-kind goods (pet food, leashes, etc.) to donate to the Shelter.
Over the course of that year, the Principal Griffin would call Kathy from time to time to come and pick up a stray dog on the property, and Kathy would drop off the current FOTAS Newsletters.
Then, this past September, Kathy attended the Academy’s open house to meet Noah’s teachers. When she walked into the English Language Arts room, to her surprise and delight, she discovered that the walls were covered with essays written by the students on how kids can make a difference for homeless animals, along with countless pictures of dogs and cats drawn by the students.
“My son tells me nothing!” says Kathy, and when she questioned Noah, he told her they had even had student debates on what FOTAS does and how it could do more. (Not to worry, says Noah, he totally educated the class on all the important things FOTAS does.)
It gets better. The staff, teachers and students at the Academy have become active supporters of FOTAS and the Shelter: homework assignments to write essays on the FOTAS mission, contributions to FOTAS fundraisers, teachers and their children volunteering at the Shelter.
The kids at the Academy are required to complete eight hours of community service before the end of the year. Kathy has scheduled three service days for students to serve their hours at the Shelter reading to the animals. On the first service day last Wednesday, eight children participated.
With programs and interest like this, developed early in life, there is hope the next generation will carry on our work and solve, once and for all, the vexing problem of overpopulation of unwanted pets.
Their lives are in our hands; but soon their lives will be in the hands of our very capable children.
November Adoption Special: cats/kittens $10, dogs/puppies $35
Pets of the Week