Tuesday, February 20 , 2018, 11:33 am | Fair 54º

 
 
 
 

Partners in Education Volunteer Spotlight: Karen Lee Stevens

All for Animals founder emphasizes for students that their personal interests can align with future careers

[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series on Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteers. This article is sponsored by Community West Bank, a Partners in Education President’s Council member.]

Karen Lee Stevens volunteers through Santa Barbara Partners in Education as a humane educator, guest speaking in many Santa Barbara classrooms about pets and other animals.

She discovered her love of both animals and reading at a young age, when her father bought her a book about kittens. Growing up, she knew she wanted to pursue a career related to animals and, in 1997, she founded the nonprofit All for Animals, which promotes humane treatment of them. Her love of reading and writing led her to author two successful books, outlining tips for maintaining healthy pets.

With Partners in Education, a local nonprofit administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office, Lee Stevens travels from classroom to classroom promoting her passion and introducing students to her canine companion, Sandy. She teaches students many valuable lessons through reading and interaction with animals.

Lee Stevens’ All for Animals organization offers a program called “Compassion for Critters,” which promotes many positive qualities in developing children.

“Studies show that children who are taught compassion and empathy for animals at a young age will grow up to become better citizens,” she explained. “Our Compassion for Critters program helps promote good character in children through reading, storytelling and interaction with well-behaved animal companions.”

Lee Stevens’ goal is to strengthen the bond between humans and animals at a young age.

“Children have a natural curiosity and affection toward animals,” she said. “It is my job as a humane educator to nurture that relationship and help children create safe and satisfying relationships with animals that will last a lifetime.”

Lee Stevens explains how children are positively affected when they develop an understanding of animals.

“Children who learn to respect animals at a young age grow up to be kinder adults — not only to animals, but to their peers, their parents and their teachers as well,” she said.

In addition to exposing local youth to the joys of having a pet companion, Lee Stevens teaches students valuable safety lessons.

“As part of every school presentation, we practice a dog-bite prevention exercise, where we teach children how to properly approach a dog they don’t know,” she said. “I have found that volunteers who are accompanied by dogs like our canine ambassador, Sandy, a lovable Labrador retriever, have a profoundly positive effect on children.”

After her presentations, Lee Stevens surprises the students with a copy of her latest book, Animals Have Feelings, Too!

“It is our goal to give away a copy of a book about animals to every child who attends one of our humane education presentations,” she said. “Since the book ... was published in October, we have already given away nearly 1,000 copies to local elementary school children!”

Lee Stevens hopes to continue her volunteer work through Partners in Education, which has allowed her to use her particular expertise to create a positive change within the community and to show young people that their careers can align with their personal interests.

“It is my goal as an animal lover, a reader and a humane educator to get children interested in reading and instill in them an appreciation for animals and nature,” she said. “Kids who read are more likely to succeed in all aspects of their lives, and kids who are kind to animals grow up to be kinder adults, which benefits the community as a whole.”

                                                                  •        •        •

» Click here for more information on Santa Barbara Partners in Education.

» Click here for more information on how to become a President’s Council member or contact Michelle Magnusson, development and membership director, at 805.964.4710 x4417 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

» Connect with Partners in Education on Facebook.

— Michaela Ford is a senior at Santa Barbara High School and a Santa Barbara Partners in Education intern through the Partners Job Readiness & Internship Program. Partners in Education programs are administered under the Santa Barbara County Education Office.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >