The Learning Center will be the heart of the Sanctuary we’re building in Leicester. That’s because “no matter how many animals we rescue, we’re never going to solve the problem of homeless animals and animals being euthanized in shelters if we don’t get to the root of it,” says Brother Wolf’s Founder and President Denise Bitz. “We need to change the hearts and minds of people, and that will happen through education. That’s why the Learning Center is so critical.”
So what exactly will happen at the Learning Center that will change the hearts and minds of visitors?
- Humane Education – The Learning Center will be a hub for our Humane Education program, which launched in a handful of local schools last year. While we will still be visiting schools as part of the program, the Learning Center will make it more effective. “Sometimes classrooms are very small,” says Laura Carper, Education Outreach Manager, “or the schools have different rules about what kinds of animals can be brought in for the students to interact with. It limits what I’m able to do as an educator. At the Learning Center, we’ll have a lot of space and the students will be able to meet all kinds of animals. They’ll be able to get the full experience of the Sanctuary.” Click here to learn more about our Humane Education program.
- Technology – “From an educator’s perspective,” Laura says, “I’m excited about the technology aspect of the Learning Center. We’ll have Smart Boards in every classroom to make lessons very interactive. It’ll enrich the experience, especially for visual learners. Right now our visuals are on poster boards. That’s how I learned when I was in school, but that’s not what kids these days are used to. As educators, we have to adapt and appeal to what kids are interested in. Plus, we will have equipment that not all schools have. That means a student’s ability to learn in this way won’t be determined by a school’s budget.”
- Global Education – The technology at the Learning Center won’t only benefit the Sanctuary’s visitors. “We’ll also be sharing our work across the internet, so it’ll be available to people all around the world,” says Paul Berry, Brother Wolf’s Executive Director. “We’ll have classrooms on site, but we will also be making the classes available online. I’m looking forward to seeing Laura broadcast her classes live over the internet so students from all over the world can benefit from our Humane Education program.”
- Learning for All – In addition to being a hub for our Humane Education program, the Learning Center will offer classes, workshops, movies, and a library. It will be a comprehensive resource for all who visit.
- Venue for Events – An auditorium in the Learning Center will provide a large space for speakers, conferences, and other educational events.
- Cooking Classes – The Learning Center will feature a commercial kitchen for cooking classes so our visitors can learn firsthand how easy and delicious it is to eat cruelty-free.
- Networking – Our Sanctuary will draw visitors from all over the world. The Learning Center will be a central place where all can gather to network, build partnerships, and share information with others.
- Education for Staff, Volunteers, and Fosters – In addition to being an educational hub for Sanctuary visitors, the Learning Center will also be a place where our staff, volunteers, and fosters can learn new skills to keep improving on the work they’re doing every day for the animals.
“Right now,” Laura says, “the dogs and cats are at the Adoption Center and the farmed animals are at the Sanctuary. My students see that separation when they visit both places on their field trips. One of the best things about the Sanctuary will be having all of the animals in one place, where there is not such a separation between companion animals and farmed animals. When everyone shares land together, and when the students can meet dogs after they meet pigs, it will help them understand that farmed animals should be treated just as well as companion animals. There will be that connection, and it’s one of the biggest connections we can help them make.”
Paul says “The Sanctuary will be a place where we can more effectively take care of animals who have been abused and neglected, and let them recover at their own paces. The cases we see and circumstances these animals come from are so sad, but it’s incredibly rewarding to watch each animal find their way into a true recovery. It’s a cooperative effort between our staff and our amazing network or volunteers, fosters, and donors. The Learning Center is going to help volunteers integrate into that work and become a part of it. Visitors from all over will come together to help animals through rehabilitation.”
Click here to learn more about the Learning Center and to get involved with the Sanctuary. There’s still time to make a donation — big or small — to help fund this incredible resource for the animals and people in our community and beyond!