603.749.5322, 262 County Farm Rd, Dover, NH

Community Service Learning

For High School and Junior High Students

Cocheco Valley Humane Society receives ongoing requests from seacoast area students for community service learning projects each year.  Because service education projects are a method of teaching and learning that combines academics with meaningful service in the community, CVHS supports these efforts. Studies have shown that a skill learned with a practical purpose is more easily remembered. 

 Cocheco Valley Humane Society wants to work with Strafford and York County students who are seeking a service learning experience.  Below are ideas on how students can volunteer for animals while learning about many of the subjects taught in schools today. 

Note that some ideas require volunteer training before they can be implemented. These activities will be starred: ****

All community  service projects should be coordinated with Cocheco Valley Humane Society by calling Jane Kennedy, CVHS Humane Educator at 749-5322, ext 115.  Students and staff alike are encouraged to call or email at [email protected]  for further information and assistance with projects.

For Application For CLICK HERE.

Areas Of Academic Interest:

Art: visual or industrial arts (e.g., painting, sculpture, photography, film, woodworking, graphic design, etc.)      

Students can:  

  • paint an educational mural about animals for use in a public area
  • create a video of shelter activities (e.g., a series of public service announcements for local TV spots or off-site presentations) with approval and support from CVHS staff.
  • make posters advertising the organization and special events. CVHS often has events that need posters
  • create animal portraits or "paw print" art as a fundraiser
  • create a film or video on proper pet care that can be shown to shelter visitors and other students
  • build a magazine rack, shelving, cabinets, etc., for the shelter lobby or storage areas: Call CVHS to see what is needed.
  • design, form, and paint receptacles for use in public venues as collection "boxes" for donations (can be made of wood, plaster, ceramic, etc., but should all have a theme centered around animals, whether in the actual shape of the containers themselves or in the motif applied to them)
  • create drawings for use in organization's website and publications such as brochures and newsletters/fliers
  • video record or create a slideshow of the shelter in a tour-style fashion to be played at off-site presentations****
  • assist in creation of humane education props such as designing and cutting out felt story board characters
  • design and make leash holders or food bowl stands in metal or shop class to be auctioned or sold as a fundraiser
  • sculpt bowls, vases, jewelry, etc., to sell as a fundraiser


Students can  

  • create a plan and materials for a public awareness campaign concerning spay/neuter, licensing, fundraising, etc and distribute in your community.
  • create a catchy slogan for the shelter to be put on t-shirts, magnets, or bumper stickers.
  • brainstorm fundraising ideas to raise money for the shelter; plan community events; create activities and assist with marketing.
  • assist with writing grants (teens can do research and can write outlines or even rough drafts of grants).
  • make bandanas that have shelter's name, address, and phone for the adoptable pets to wear (dogs can be taken to walk-a-thons, the park, etc.)
  • set up a shelter information booth at county fairs and other community events to market organization****
  • write public service announcements concerning animal topics that are important to the community, with approval and support from CVHS
  • create an ad for the school newspaper or magazine promoting CVHS events, with approval and support from CVHS.
  • create, market and sell a book, which educates about proper animal care, adoption, dog bite prevention, etc, with approval and support from CVHS
  • conduct a 'movie theater' showing ½ hour videos of the shelter and humane education topics.
  • distribute fliers in libraries, grocery stores, and privately owned businesses; pamphlets can either be generalized regarding responsible pet ownership or can relate to the shelter's policies, programs, and/or needs. This would be done with approval and support from CVHS.


Students can                    

  • form a theater group in which the students perform for other classes or give demonstrations at the shelter; the demonstrations can include proper pet care tips (These skits can be taped and used in schools or community organizations.)
  • develop and perform puppet shows centered around a theme pertaining to humane education, responsible pet care, or the life of an animal in the shelter; book time at school assemblies, First Night celebrations, holiday pageants in the mall, kids camps, etc.

 Language Arts (e.g., English, reading, literature, writing, speaking)

Students can 

  • develop and present humane education presentations for students their age and younger
  • read current events on animal and environmental issues and write to elected officials, newspapers, newsletters, etc., to express opinion
  • review books and create a list of humane books for various grades levels
  • write poems or short stories about animals, nature, wildlife, working in the animal shelter, etc.; could be placed on the website or could collect the poems into an anthology to be placed in a city or school library or shelter as an educational tool.
  • form reading circles in organization's conference room, local elementary schools, after school programs, youth groups, and church groups in which students read to younger children; conduct reading hour with a humane book at library or organization
  • collaborate with the drama students and write script for humane themed plays; present these to the community or younger grades
  • write animal descriptions or individual "stories" to attach to cages for each pet available for adoption; write "happy ending" adoption stories for shelter website.
  • write and present an educational speech to be given in conjunction with a spay/neuter campaign or other humane education topic
  • write and design educational booklets to be handed out in conjunction with shelter tours.
  • facilitate an elementary school essay contest and act as a judge
  • research different animals and their habitats, in books and online; create a picture book highlighting the animals.
  • write a children's book dealing with proper care of domestic animals, dog bite prevention, or respect for wildlife and all living creatures. (These can be given to schools, placed in the shelter lobby, or sold.) [This could develop into a larger Business/Publishing project.]

Health/Physical Education

Students can

  • develop a presentation, pamphlet, or video on health benefits associated with pet ownership, to be shared in the community or as a public service announcement
  • participate in annual September event Pet-a-palooza Walk for the Animals to raise funds for CVHS as a volunteer.****
  • form a walking team to participate in the Pet-a-palooza Walk for the Animals.
  • create, plan, and present public education seminars on animal health. Cover topics such as weight management, proper nutrition and special needs diets, heartworm prevention and treatment, grooming, the importance of vaccinations, etc.
  • create pet first aid kits or emergency evacuation kits to be distributed to the public
  • give presentations to younger children about dog bite prevention, pet care or how to choose a pet that is right for them.

Living Skills

Students can

  • research and design a pamphlet or public service announcement comparing the care, time, and money required for babies and companion animals to promote an understanding of the responsibilities associated with owning an animal for life
  • work with the animal shelter, local food bank, schools, and veterinarians to set up a program where donations of pet food and care products are raised to help families in need
  • sew cat toys and animal beds for homeless companion animals
  • research organizations, scholarships, funds and other avenues of financial aid available for spay/neuter; compile list for those in need of assistance
  • make pet food/treats for shelter animals; research any health benefits to homemade food/treats rather than store bought food/treats
  • create various companion animal care fliers/posters that can be given to the public
  • hold fundraising dinner where students learn dish place settings, food preparation, budgeting, and the benefits of a healthy diet.
  • sew clothes and coats for shelter animals (These could be used in a fashion show fundraiser where humans and animals wear the creations.)


Students can

  • collect data and develop a presentation or public service announcement concerning pet overpopulation and the benefits of spay/neuter
  • research the cost of a license versus the fees when ticketed for compliance failure and the statistics of licensed pets who are returned to owners; create a flier to promote licensing of pets
  • develop statistical charts and graphs to illustrate numbers of animals brought in to the shelter, numbers adopted, average age and stay of animals, etc.; can be used by staff and for educational purposes
  • learn about animal cruelty laws in your state; create a community flier showing the statistical connection between those who hurt animals and those who hurt humans

 Music (e.g., choir, marching band, jazz band, orchestra) 

Students can

  • coordinate or perform in a musical concert or dance as a fundraiser
  • write music to accompany shelter radio jingles, videos, PowerPoint presentations, or public service announcements; facilitate the performance and recording of jingles
  • sing or play music at outreach events
  • write songs that teach children about proper pet care, dog bite prevention, etc., for use in humane education lessons 
  • create a classical music mix CD to be played in animal areas to help ease stress
  • create a music CD to be sold as fundraiser

Science (e.g., biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, ecology) 

Students can

  • contact local veterinarians or shelter veterinary technicians to learn about various shelter viruses and zoonotic diseases and create an informational brochure to be placed in shelter lobby
  • research the ways in which people can cope with and conquer their allergies to pet dander; include medicines, homeopathics, air filtration systems, and foods; create a brochure to help allergy sufferers and for public information
  • research and design a model environment with pet care items for a small animal (e.g., a guinea pig: include the proper shavings, wood block, water bottle, food dish, and interactive toys) (These can be used as displays in the community.)
  • research eco-systems and companion animal friendly plants; landscape the shelter after learning appropriate plants for climate, size, area, foot traffic, etc.
  • research animal and eco-friendly products and create a directory of products for  shelter and public use

Social Studies (e.g., history, government, geography, psychology, sociology)

Students can 

  • write to state legislators to express opinions on bills concerning humane issues
  • study state legislature voting records on humane topics and prepare leaflets so the community knows where a candidate stands on issues based on past votes
  • study the origin and importance of animal related laws, such as leash laws,  licensing laws, etc., and create a public service announcement
  • study local, state, and federal laws and other nations' legislation concerning humane and anti-cruelty laws; present findings to other high school students
  • research the history of the shelter and create a timeline and/or create a history scrap book to be placed at events
  • study the connection between abuse of animals and interpersonal violence; write letters to the editor concerning the connection or create a public service announcement
  • research and write about how animal treatment in the U.S. differs from other countries and create a display for local schools or the public library

Technology Education/Computer Science

Students can

  • create and produce public service announcements concerning dog bite prevention, rabies laws, spay/neuter, etc.
  • create PowerPoint presentations or slide shows to be used by the shelter in public education

 World Languages/English as a Second Language

Students can

  • translate shelter literature, videos, humane education materials, etc., into other languages to make the literature more accessible to those for whom English is not their first language
  • design fliers and posters to post in neighborhood schools and community center where Spanish (or another language) is the primary language
  • research animal protection issues and organizations in different countries and explore the need for translators in those areas
  • create a public awareness campaign for the local shelter written in another language or using pictures for non-readers 
  • present seminars on humane education (e.g., spay/neuter) to non-English speakers