In 1987, Caryl (“Car-ol”) McIntire Edwards founded Voice for Animals (VFA) in the Seacoast region of New Hampshire. Their mission? To alleviate animal suffering and overpopulation, educate the public, and promote sensitivity and caring toward all animals. For years, they focused on rescuing adoptable animals and helping the many feral cats in the area through Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) initiatives.
Now, VFA’s priority is humane education: educating children about how to treat animals with kindness and compassion. Caryl says, “I have a background in education—I was a special education teacher for over 30 years. However, I was always discouraged that humane education wasn’t happening very often.
When I discovered Kind News, I thought it was a great way to bring this valuable information about animals to kids who could really benefit from it.”
Voice for Animals serves animals and people in Maine and New Hampshire. When she began reaching out to schools about Kind News, Caryl purposefully targeted schools on both sides of the Piscataqua River, which separates the two states. “I initially started out by calling the principals in elementary schools on either side of the river, where Voice for Animals has always done spay/neuter, rescue, and much more. I told them about the benefits of Kind News and how we’d love to bring it to their schools. The principals would pass the information on to their teachers. One teacher would tell another teacher, and the list grew.“
And grow it did. In just 5 years, Voice for Animals has increased the number of sponsored classrooms from 8 to 72 for the upcoming school year – including 8 school districts in 2 different states! Due to VFA’s tireless efforts and generous supporters, over 2,000 students will now have access to cool facts about animals, pet care tips, and inspiring rescue and humane hero stories.
Caryl does not want to stop there, though. She hopes to raise awareness about Kind News through her local media to bring in more funding and reach more children:
“I dream of students organizing food drives to provide an ongoing supply of pet food to food banks; that they will begin to volunteer with a local shelter or rescue; and coming up with ideas of their own… I believe that kind people do cruel things to animals simply because they have not been educated. Think of what a different world it would be if everyone was given the opportunity to understand animals and how to treat them!”