Dear Animal Rescue League of Berks County, P.A. staff,
I want to take a moment to collectively thank-you for starting and continuing to provide the “Book Buddies” program at your shelter. When the program started, it probably seemed like such a little thing. I read on your website that the program was somewhat of a “happy accident.” Your former program director, Kristi Rodriguez’s son, Sean, was having difficulty reading. She decided to bring him in to read to the cats because shelter animals understand that everyone wants to be loved and accepted just as they are. When Sean, a student who up until this point disliked reading aloud, asked to come back to read to the cats again, everyone seemed to realize the potential that this program would have in improving children’s literacy in the community.
As a consequence, your organization took action and opened the cat room to any student who felt uncomfortable reading aloud. I’m sure that your organization never thought twice about how amazing and life changing this program would be when it first started. I’m sure that it has, however, crossed your mind since the photo of one of the book buddies reading to a shelter cat went viral on the Internet. In fact, this is how I personally heard about the Book Buddies program.
I imagine there are so many other concerns that your organization has besides the Book Buddies program. Animal shelters like yours rely upon public donations to maintain facilities as well as provide food, toys, and care for the animals. Many animal shelters struggle to keep up with the costs that their facility requires. It must be especially difficult to be a no-kill shelter that can only accept so many animals. Adoptions provide some income and relief, but there are always more animals that need to be cared for before reaching their forever homes. I’m sure there are many days when you question if your efforts and programs make a difference.