Posted: September 7, 2012, 8:05 p.m. EDT
© Gina Cioli/BowTie Studio
Pets in the Classroom brings together animals like this hamster and schoolchildren, with the goal of helping kids learn about pet care, natural history, biological processes and environmental sciences.
The Pets in the Classroom grant program is nearly halfway to its goal of placing pets in 30,000 classrooms, said Steve King, executive director of the Pet Care Trust, which established the program in 2009.
In an attempt to reach 1 million schoolchildren, the Bel Air, Maryland, charitable foundation kicked off two awareness campaigns in September 2012: Tell a Teacher and Sponsor a Teacher.
Tell a Teacher helps people notify teachers about the availability of classroom grants. An online form is available at the Pets in the Classroom website's Tell a Teacher page.
Sponsor a Teacher enables businesses, individuals and especially parents of school-age children to buy a tax-deductible grant for a classroom pet and supplies. More information is available at the Pets in the Classroom website's Sponsor a Teacher page.
Donations can be earmarked to benefit a particular school or teacher.
Pets in the Classroom sponsorships include $150 for an aquarium with fish, $150 for a reptile and $100 for a small animal such as a hamster, bird or guinea pig.
“The Tell a Teacher and Sponsor a Teacher programs will help us spread the program to even more schools and connect donors to classrooms in their communities,” King commented.
The program has provided more than 13,000 grants for pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade classrooms to purchase or adopt new pets and supplies or to support existing pets.
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