On Saturday, April 8th, Big Brothers Big Sisters partnered with the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County to bring Big Brothers Big Sisters Families an educational and fun evening. Big Brothers Big Sisters families got to meet therapy dogs and with the help of Humane Society staff, learn to approach and meet a dog safely. After meeting therapy dogs, families went on a guided tour of the entire Humane Society facility. Janet Winikoff, Director of Education for the Humane Society, introduced families to dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, a pot belly pig, and even a giant tortoise. Big Brothers Big Sisters parent, Lilliana said, “It is so great to teach the children animal safety, many children do not know how to treat nicely.”
After the tour of the facility, families had a wonderful dinner catered by Chick-Fil-A. Every adult at the event took home a gift card for a free salad from Chick-Fil-A and every child took home a gift card for a free children’s meal. As families enjoyed their dinner, animal themed films were raffled off to all families. Children also took home non-fiction books based on comparing cats and dogs.
This event, part of the Family Links to Learning program, seeks to bring families together and provide free hands on learning experiences for all involved. We believe that by better connecting families to their community and by giving families meaningful learning experiences, a stronger family connection is created. The Family Links to Learning Program is made possible by the Indian River Community Foundation. Big Brothers Big Sisters child Ta’ Nayia said, “I have always been scared of dogs ever since I was little. Today helped me get over that fear; I pet a dog and even had him do a trick.” Overcoming a fear and learning something new is such a great feeling. A fear of dogs will not limit Ta’ Nayia ever again. Giving children and families every opportunity to succeed is exactly what the Family Links to Learning Program is all about!