BERLIN, Md. - Kids at the Berlin Intermediate School took time after school to learn the benefits of yoga for the body, while learning how to help local animals at the same time.
It's part of an after school academy put on in partnership with Worcester County Humane Society called "Helping Paws."
"We hope that with these type of encounters they can reach out to the community and become better citizens and more involved in the community, find things that are problems in the area such as overcrowded with the humane society and then eventually get out and make a difference," said Nannette Howe, Grant Facilitator for Worcester County Public Schools for 21st Century grants.
Through this academy kids learn the importance of animals, and how to care for them.
"I guess they can interact with the animals and maybe fall in love with one and adopt it," said Tina Walas, with the Worcester Humane Society.
And that is exactly what happened to sixth grader Savannah Young.
"I did it last year too and that's what led me to get my two cats. It really opens doors and shows you that anything's possible."
The program also educates kids about the responsibilities of pet ownership, according to sixth grader Zarriah Tobias.
"I've learned that it costs a lot to own a pet, and you obviously have to have a stable job so you can get enough money to get one."
The kids took a field trip to the humane society earlier in the school year, pitching in to help these pets in need of a home find a family of their own.
"They made adoption posters for the animal that they chose and then we'll put the adoption posters up at events that we have," said Walas.
And if the kids learn these life lessons, the hope is that they can take that knowledge home with them.
The Helping Paws program is funded by 21st Century Grants through the federal government, focusing on academic enrichment.
This grant will run out in June for Worcester County elementary schools. Howe says they are hoping to get the word out in order to get the ball rolling for its renewal.
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