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Learn and Serve at UTSA

Animal No Kill InitiativeI am still sky high from the Learn and Serve presentation this morning. Learn and Serve is a UTSA Master of Public Administration service learning program for which they were awarded a $50K grant from the Animal No Kill Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation this year. In this program, MPA graduate students are mentoring high school student groups to plan and execute projects that will have an impact on the No Kill effort that we have underway in San Antonio. The program is led by the Co-Directors of the LEARN from each other AND SERVE San Antonio: No Kill Project: Molly Cox, Director of the Center for Policy Studies and Dr. Renee Nank, Assistant Professor of Public Administration.

There are eight area high schools participating in the Learn and Serve program: Lanier, Highlands, Southwest, Edison, Memorial, Roosevelt, Harlandale, and East Central. Each high school presented its project description and plans. They were each outstanding! The students all showed that they understand the essence of the pet overpopulation problem, and have projects that address the root causes of the problem. Each of them had components of community education about the importance of spaying and neutering pets and what residents must do to practice responsible pet ownership.

The projects included pet festivals (“petstivals”), block walks, spay/neuter clinics, and fundraising to provide vouchersAnimal no kill initiative for more clinics. The high school groups will work with ACS, SpaySA, ADL, the SA Humane Society, Rackspace, and others to accomplish their project goals. Several of them are also including other student groups and their school’s Art Departments in their projects to get help and share in the fundraising. One of the high school groups plans to make a movie of local dogs and promote it to You Tube. These student groups have all set high goals and they have very concrete, specific plans to achieve them. They have shown that they are willing to work together to address the problem that adults in our community have been unable or unwilling to address. I hope that they will shame the adults in the community into getting on board with them.

Edison High SchoolThe general mood in the auditorium this morning was exciting and infectious. The students were very excited and proud about what they are doing. When I saw them, listened to their presentations, and saw the support from their fellow students in the audience, I truly felt that the future of our City, and our Country, is in good hands.

Several members of our Consortium were in the audience this morning: Chris Bellows, Dr. Jo Ann Gonzalez, Marcy Lynch, Kathie McGowan, and Lisa McGrath. I also saw Cynthia Martinez from the San Antonio Humane Society, Rocsy Acosta and Hugo Vital from the Animal Defense League, Ronnie Guest and Vincent Medley from Animal Care Services, Karen Pearce from Alamo City Bully Breeds United, and Elsa Gonzales and Mollie Walker from Drew-Walker on hand. Assistant City Manager Erik Walsh and City Councilwoman Ivy Taylor were also present. They Area Foundation was well represented by Crystal Del Bosque, Bernice Uresti, and Reggie Williams. I believe there is a tremendous amount of interest and high hopes in what these students are doing.

Gavin

If you would like to get involved with our animal no kill efforts, please email Gavin Nichols, Program Officer–Community Initiatives or phone 210.242.4720.

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