Nonprofits bite into new animal education program

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN – A new partnership between two local nonprofit groups will create a new forum for education in animal caregiving.

The Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter and Advanced Technology Academy announced an agreement last month under which the two groups will work together to form the Michigan Animal Welfare and Educational Program. It will be part of the newly formed Southeast Michigan Next Generation Learning Community.

“This is an excellent opportunity for our two organizations to work together to build the Next Generation Learning Community for Southeast Michigan,” said Barry Hawthorne, ATA executive director, in a statement. “The partnership will allow ATA students to learn through volunteering at the Animal Shelter and provide the Animal Shelter with the education infrastructure to expand its adult education programs.”

The animal-related educational program will be backed by a curriculum utilizing the ATA’s principles of math, science, technology and entrepreneurship.

The goal of the new partnership is to develop a curriculum supporting and advancing animal-related education for underserved students, as well as to provide continuous care improvements for at-risk animals.

“This is an important step in our 17-year history of continually improving the care of the animals who come into the shelter,” said Mary Ann Wright, Friends Board of Directors chairwoman, in a statement. “It will provide an outstanding educational program and learning environment for these students while expanding the education, adoption and welfare programs we currently offer.”

The FFDAS and ATA hope the program will “broaden the pipeline” for all local professional animal caregivers and entrepreneurs.

For more information on the two groups and developments of the Michigan Animal Welfare and Educational Program, go to or

(Contact Chris Jackett at