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How One Organization Is Empowering Young Adults to Be Animal Advocates

VERA LAWLOR: ‘As a child, Barbara Bellino paid neighborhood boys to release butterflies they had trapped for pleasure. Her parents taught her love and respect for all life and she passed that lesson along to her own children. In an effort to help animals in need, Bellino founded Animal Lifesavers, Inc. in 2000 with the help of her daughters Elaine Samman and Karen Helmstetter. From the beginning, one of the missions of the nonprofit that’s located in North Bergen, NJ was to empower children to make a difference for animals.

“Children are our future and you have to teach them to be humane at an early age,” said Bellino, who is now 83 and still active in the organization. “I’ve watched too many parents have complete disregard as their children pull wings off of butterflies or take pleasure in seeing how many ants they can step on. Children have to be taught respect for all life.”

Animal Lifesavers started out as a grassroots rescue group made up of family and friends and has grown into a recognized nonprofit that hosts weekly adoption events at PetSmart. Participants of the Animal Lifesavers Children’s Division range in age from 10 to 15. Through educational programs and hands-on activities, the youngsters learn compassion for animals’. SOURCE…

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