Cape Horn-Skye first grade students of Darcy Hickey and Nichol Yung participated in their annual holiday inspired lesson that demonstrates the fun of giving while practicing an important skill along the way.

“Each year our classes create “tie” blankets and toys for dogs and cats at the local humane society shelter,” said Hickey. “Our students have been practicing their tying skills this month. Not only are they learning to tie their shoes, but they use this skill in this project and give them motivation for extra practice.”

“At this time of year, it is easy for students to become consumed with the receiving of gifts,” pointed out Yung. “This service-learning project allows students the opportunity to give instead of receive. Children have a soft spot in their hearts for animals. Making blankets and toys for the homeless pets in our community not only shows them that no one is too little to be able to give in some way, but it also allows them to see how they can contribute to the well-being of society.”  The experience provides students a lesson in social-emotional learning around self-efficacy and social engagement.

Student Allie Purviance, who has dogs, cats and horses at home, said she hopes the animals will feel comforted by the gifts.  “Animals are special,” she said. “They know when you need them and they give you love. I hope the blankets and toys make them happy and warm.”

Student Canyon Kuthe, who has a fish named Ariel at home, said his favorite part of the project was all the tying. “The dogs and cats who get these do not have a home, so it is extra special for them to get these things,” he explained.  “I hope they feel loved and get excited when they see them.”

“This Cape Horn Elementary blanket project means so much to our WCGHS shelter animals,” said Laura Kelly, WCGHS Volunteer & Development Coordinator. “Each cozy blanket the students made will provide a cat or dog with much needed comfort in a time of change. It’s almost as if each first grader is giving the cat or dog a hug!”

“Due to COVID, this year we are unable to take a field trip to the Humane Society, but we are happy that they were willing to come to us,” said Hickey.  WCGHS visited the school December 17 and talked to students about how the Humane Society helps the community and introduced them to some of the pets in their facility.

“Even though the students weren’t able to see the dogs and cats this year, we hope they understand how much giving something so simple can make a big difference in a life,” Kelly said.