Humane Education

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

The Virginia Beach SPCA offers humane education programs designed to cultivate empathy in children by teaching them to understand and respect the feelings of others. Our programs are built on a philosophy of teaching that integrates respect, empathy, and compassion into educational lessons, stories, and everyday life. The VBSPCA educates thousands of children every year through various education programs, including online activities, our children’s newsletter, and various shelter activities and experiences.

Ongoing Youth Programs:

  • School Programming
    The VBSPCA offers a variety of school programs including Compassion Classroom, Listening Ears, and Shelter Pet Pals. Learn more here.
  • Tale for Two
    Tale for Two is an extension of our Listening Ears Program which pairs a young reader with an animal to make the experience of reading more fun. By bringing the readers to our shelter,  adoptable cats and dogs get to benefit from the positive presence of a child, boosting confidence in both the pet and the person. Learn more here. 
  • Kids Night In
    Kids Night In is a quarterly event held at the VBSPCA Shelter that introduces young animal lovers to the mission through fun and educational activities. The event is designed for children ages 6-11. Learn more here.
  • Little Learners
    Little Learners is a monthly event for children ages 3-5 and their caregivers that teaches kindness, compassion, and empathy through stories and activities. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet a small animal. Learn more here.
  • Shelter Tours
    The VBSPCA offers tours to youth groups in an effort to share our mission with children in the community. Each tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at the shelter followed by a hands-on interaction with at least one of our shelter animals. Learn more here.
  • Animal Heroes
    The VBSPCA offers an interactive online learning experience called Animal Heroes. Created as a video arcade, the online digital learning platform offers a series of humane education lessons designed to teach players about pet parenting, pet safety, and animal welfare. Learn more here
  • Virtual Activities
    The VBSPCA offers a new virtual educational activity or challenge each season. From writing competitions to art challenges to making your own kennel cards, we provide new ways to learn about the VBSPCA while also having a little bit of fun in the virtual landscape. Learn about our current activity here.
  • Pawsitive Press
    This children’s newsletter offers animal stories, educational lessons, and activities for young animal lovers. This publication is printed twice per year and can be mailed to subscribing households or picked up in the shelter. Learn more here.

For general humane education information, please email humaneeducation@vbspca.com.

The Virginia Beach SPCA’s humane education programs are Maddie’s University certified.

Maddie’s Fund® is a family foundation established in 1994 by Dave and Cheryl Duffield and is the fulfillment of a promise to an inspirational dog, Maddie. She provided them much joy for over ten years and continues to inspire them today.

The Foundation has awarded over $275.7 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, pioneering shelter medicine education and establishing foster care as a standard across the U.S.

Maddie’s Fund proudly offers the industry a national voice, important funding opportunities for bold ideas, learning resources and access to collaborate and share innovative solutions. The Foundation invests its resources in a commitment to keeping pets and people together, creating a safety net of care for animals in need and operating within a culture of inclusiveness and humility. #ThanksToMaddie