The World Pet Association, host of America’s Family Pet Expo, donated booth space to the Pet Care Trust at the annual events held in Orange County, California and Puyallup, Washington that are known for their notable history of placing animals in forever homes and educating people on responsible pet care. At the Expos, The Pet Care Trust hosted a Betta Fish Toss to raise funds for their Pets in the Classroom program, a grant program supporting responsible pet care in schools by providing direct, no-hassle grants to teachers to purchase or maintain pets in the classroom. The booth raised $1251 for the Pets in the Classroom program. Because Chris Clevers, President of Hikari Sales USA, Inc. was instrumental in the success of the venture, the money was donated in the name of Hikari USA.
In addition to the Betta Fish Toss booth, the World Pet Association set up a raffle at the America’s Family Pet Expo held in Puyallup, Washington to raise funds for the Pet Care Trust. The raffle was held at the educational exhibit called the “Aquatic Experience” that was sponsored by Central Pet, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Carib Sea, Estes, Hikari USA, Segrest Farms, and United Pet Group. Attendees could purchase a raffle ticket to win a 75 gallon bow front aquarium donated by Central Pet. Proceeds were donated to the Pet Care Trust to be used towards the Pets in the Classroom program.
The Pets in the Classroom program was established by the Pet Care Trust in 2009 to assist teachers in obtaining or maintaining classroom pets. In 2010, 2,066 grants were awarded to teachers. The ultimate goal of the program is to reach 30,000 classrooms and impact one million children. The Pets in the Classroom program benefits students by teaching them responsible, long-term pet care at an early age and providing the psychological and developmental benefits associated with the human-animal bond. Studies have shown that caring for pets has a positive effect on children, improving school attendance and teaching children responsibility, as well as encouraging nurturing and building self esteem.
The Pet Care Trust recognizes that teachers often have limited resources to enhance their classrooms and curriculum. Through a simple, online application process at http://www.petsintheclassroom.org teachers can become eligible to receive grants of $50 to support existing classroom pets, or $100-$150 to purchase or adopt a new pet and required equipment.