Beyond the Bell: Helping Paws

Beyond the Bell Graphic
Beyond the Bell: Helping Paws
Posted on 05/01/2018
Authored by Amy Gallagher

At Berlin Intermediate School, we are proud of our growing afterschool partnership with the Worcester County Humane Society. Each session, up to twenty-five students begin with a tour of the Worcester County Humane Society in West Ocean City, where they meet the animals. They spend the remaining sessions at school, engaging in activities designed to increase awareness of the needs of our local shelter, creating advocacy materials and adoption flyers, and participating in activities with animals brought to school by shelter volunteers.

Two favorite activities each session are Kitty Yoga and the Dog Treat Kitchen. For Kitty Yoga, students meet on the stage with their yoga mats. A local yoga instructor volunteers her time for the 1-hour session. Twelve special kitty friends are brought to school and allowed to roam the stage during the yoga session. The cats get much extra love and the students have time to focus on wellness and mindfulness. To make special treats for the dogs in the Dog Treat Kitchen, students combine peanut butter, oatmeal and flour to make a natural mixture and then use dog bone and animal shaped cookie cutters to prepare their special goodies. They are able to make several dozen treats for the dogs at the shelter.

This session, students will be working to form a team to participate in the Boardwalkin' for Pets event on Saturday, April 21, 2018. This is an annual community event to raise funds for the Worcester County Humane Society. Students will work to raise funds and then walk with shelter animals available for adoption. This wonderful partnership extends into the school day as the Worcester County Humane Society is a community partner with three of our 6th grade teams for their integrated Service Learning Project. This year, the 6th grade students have advocated for adoption and raised more than $4000 as a donation to Boardwalkin' for Pets.

At BIS, we believe service to others is an integral part of successful afterschool programming, providing opportunities for children to become civically engaged and invested in their community.

BIS's afterschool programs are funded through 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants and local operating funds. You can support local afterschool programs like this through volunteerism, advocacy and in-kind donations. For more information about or to offer support for WCPS afterschool programs, contact Tamara Mills at

Beyond the Bell: Afterschool Success Stories is a new weekly web featurette showcasing the opportunities offered to students through afterschool programs across the county. Beyond the Bell is published every Tuesday.