Engaging With The Community
How the Education and Outreach Team Finds New Ways to Connect

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It would have been easy for the Education and Outreach team to scale down services and programs when COVID-19 procedures were implemented at our shelter. Most of their operations involve contact with people of all ages in the community.

But, Marnie Musser, Outreach Manager and Kaeli Green, Humane Education & Outreach Coordinator, did not back down and take the easy route. Instead, they continued to actively engage with our community by pivoting their usual education and outreach programs to cater to the needs of our community.

The team just finished up Summer Camp Kindness-in-a-Box, thanks to a sponsorship provided by Gilmore Heating, Air & Plumbing. 88 kids ranging from the ages of seven to twelve years old signed up. The program reached a variety of homes as close as Sacramento to as far away as Nevada City. Bringing a greeter shelter animal, Marnie and Kaeli hand-delivered the activity boxes to each home in the new decked out Mobile Van. The campers jumped on weekly Zoom huddles to meet each other and learn more about the shelter. Among the crafts, SPCA swag, and outdoor activities included in the boxes, the kids were guided through creating beds and toys that were then gifted to the animals in our care.

When asked about the Kindness-in-a-Box program, Kaeli added, “It was a little intimidating having just been hired at the beginning of the year then having to entirely change the program to fit COVID-19 restrictions. I have never even experienced a Camp Kindness in the flesh! So I was so happy and relieved to hear that the kids enjoyed this version of camp. And boy are we happy that the 8-hour van rides are over!”

Marnie also stated, “We are so glad that we were able to provide our Kindness-in-a-Box this Summer and are moving forward with other creative programs. More than ever, this year has taught me what an important role animals play in our lives and the love and joy they can bring to many.”

At the same time, Marnie and Kaeli are still working with KCRA 3, ABC 10, GoodDay Sacramento and Fox40 to feature adoptable animals trying to find homes. They were also contacted by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, the Sacramento women’s soccer team (California Storm), and the radio station Mix96 to feature adoptable animals. These organizations help raise awareness by posting these adorable videos on their channels.

Since June, the Education and Outreach team along with Jaime Johnson and Sacramento SPCA volunteers have taken over operations for the weekly Paw Pantry. By providing over 4,000 homes with pet food, the Paw Pantry allowed families and their pets to stay together during difficult times.

Coming down the pipeline, Marnie and Kaeli are bringing back birthday parties, mobile adoption events and classroom visits virtually.

Last weekend, they displayed adoptable animals via Zoom during the Sacramento SPCA Charity Boot Camp by Forest Vance Training, Inc. The team is planning for more opportunities to ramp up mobile adoptions and increase visibility for animals waiting for their forever homes.

In October, Marnie and Kaeli will be hosting birthday parties on behalf of the Sacramento SPCA. But, this time, there won’t be large groups visiting the shelter. Instead, they will be dressing up and bringing the party to the clients with a greeter shelter animal or decorating a parking spot at the shelter for a socially distanced birthday celebration with shelter animals. Stay tuned for more info!

The Education and Outreach team has been visiting other shelters, talking to teachers and surveying parents in order to educate themselves and create new opportunities to connect with the community and raise awareness about the Sacramento SPCA’s mission to help animals and people.