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PAWS Kids Day helps kids help animals

LYNNWOOD The Lynwood-based Progressive Animal Welfare Society has made a mission out of caring for wild and companion animals throughout unincorporated Snohomish County, and on Nov. 4, both children and their parents or guardians will be able to get an inside glimpse on how PAWS accomplishes its goals, in addition to performing a few volunteer projects for the non-profit organization.
According to Mary Schilder, public affairs manager for PAWS, the once-annual PAWS Kids Day has become an almost-quarterly occasion this year, with plans to turn it into a fully quarterly program next year. She also emphasized that the Kids Day is not a drop-in occasion, but a half-day, RSVP-required, fully scheduled event, with less than a dozen openings for children left for Nov. 4.
They wont be allowed to visit our wildlife, but theyll get a chance to see our rehabilitation center, and visit with dogs and cats during their activities, said Schilder, who described the program as complimenting the groups educational outreach and community service activities, since they will emphasize the importance of spaying and neutering pets, as well as coexisting peacefully with wildlife.
We have wild animals here who have been directly and indirectly injured by humans, whether its deer that ran in front of cars or raccoons that got trapped in homeowners attics, Schilder said. We have orphaned birds of prey in our enclosures, and squirrels on critical care inside.
PAWS relies upon a full-time staff of nearly 50 employees, and draws from a volunteer pool of more than a thousand, with an annual budget that reached approximately $2.4 million last fiscal year, 80 percent of which is funded by private and individual donors, and another seven percent of which comes from their pet adoption fees.
By inviting children to tour their Lynnwood facility, and to work on projects such as cat condos, PAWS hopes not only to increase the kids awareness of animals needs, but also to furnish the youths with an outlet for their altruistic impulses.
Part of the reason why we started this program was because so many kids wanted to help us and our animals out, but we dont have any regular volunteer positions for anyone under 18, Schilder said. Its important that we include them, though, because we have to teach these future generations how to help care for animals properly.
The PAWS Kids Day takes place Nov. 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 44th Ave. W in Lynnwood. To reserve your spot, you may contact Julie Stonefelt, by phone at 425-787-2500, ext. 258, or via e-mail at education@paws.org. You may also log onto their Web site, at www.pawskids.org.

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