The idea came about through a mother/daughter collaboration. Cindy Crane, a former teacher, and Ashley Kushner, who became a teacher as well, also share a love of animals they wanted to pass on to children. Crane’s team worked closely with the non-profit, no kill shelter of the Humane Society of Forsyth County to implement the program.
“We wanted to give kids a sense of citizenship and the reward of helping others from an early age,” explains Cindy Crane. “At the same time, Homerooms for Hounds has built in creative writing projects and teaches the kids civic responsibility.”
Homerooms for Hounds is structured so that a class sponsors a homeless hound through the Humane Society of Forsyth County. Teachers receive pictures and information about the sponsored dog on a weekly basis, including updates via letters from the dog to the class. The Atlanta Metro REO Team pays for each classroom’s donation bins (for things like dog toys, leashes, etc.) as well as a dog bowl where children place change donations to help pay the cost of supporting their sponsored dog. A member of the real estate team goes to each classroom every Friday, collects the donations, drops off pictures and a letter from the dog, then forwards donations to the Humane Society of Forsyth County.
And Crane is pleased with the success of the program so far. Began in the Fall 2011, Homerooms for Hounds is still in its first initial school year and has possibilities for expansion. “We have two other schools extremely interested and I have a Realtor in East Cobb who would like to start implementing it in schools there.”
Ashley Kushner has since moved to New Orleans and is now operating the Homerooms for Hounds program in the school where she is teaching. Here in Atlanta, it’s still very much a Crane family tradition, as Les Crane has come into the real estate business with Cindy, and her daughter, Kaede-Ray Benton and stepdaughter, Emily Crane, are very much involved in the running of the program.
In the Chattahoochee Elementary School alone, Cindy Crane estimates they have raised around $300 and at least $800 in pet supplies. “All that from just small amounts of change! And you wouldn’t believe the amazing, heart-felt notes these children send back to the sponsored dogs. It’s so gratifying!”
Les and Cindy Crane adopted their current dog from the Humane Society of Forsyth County. The dog is actually an amputee and had been left in a ditch to die. “Because our team has done very well in real estate the last couple of decades, we are very big on giving back in our local community. As we live near Lake Lanier, Forsyth County was the natural place to start this program.”
Homerooms for Hounds plans to have an event at Chattahoochee Elementary School in Cumming on Tuesday, March 20, 2012, at 10 a.m. There will be therapy dogs on hand to interact with the students. All have been therapy-certified and all are animals that have been adopted at the Forsyth Humane Society.
“Our hope is that the children involved in the Homerooms for Hounds program will see that people are taking notice of what they are doing to help these animals. They may be young, but they are making a difference.”
To learn more about the Homerooms for Hounds program, contact Cindy Crane and the Atlanta Metro REO Team at 404-217-9792 or email her at cindy.crane@
About Cindy Crane and the Atlanta Metro REO Team
A former teacher, Cindy Crane has been in real estate more than two decades. She has focused exclusively on foreclosures/
For the last few years, the Atlanta Metro REO Team has been the #1 team with Prudential Georgia Realty and in all of Georgia for Prudential. Crane’s team had more than 400 sales in 2011 and over 500 sales in 2010, which resulted in being named the #1 team for all of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, a company with more than 50,000 agents in North America.
Always committed to giving back to their community, those same years the Cranes donated $100 from each closing to several charities. As a result, the Atlanta Metro REO Team was able to support such charities as the Atlanta Humane Society, the Humane Society of Forsyth County, a church food pantry, The Drake House, and the Build an Ark Animal Rescue Foundation. This year, they are using proceeds from each closing to support their new program, Homeroom for Hounds, in Forsyth County.
PHOTO: This is Scooter Bug, one of the dogs sponsored by a classroom in the Homerooms for Hounds program.