May 14, 2014 4:31 pm

Kitty Litter-a-ture program helps with public speaking skills

Calum Bainbridge, volunteer at Dundas West Hospital reads to cats.

Natalie Quinlan

TORONTO – Scott Bainbridge, veterinarian and owner at st Dundas West Animal Hospital has introduced a new initiative called Kitty Litter-a-ture that helps kids improve their literacy.

The program invites local elementary school students to volunteer their time by caring for the homeless kittens as well as reading to them every Tuesday from 4-4:30 PM.

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“The goal of the program is to help me promote these cats and help them find forever homes,” Scott Bainbridge said. “The secondary goal is the cats are getting well socialized and it’s prompting these kids to read.”

Volunteers like Calum Bainbridge are learning the value that reading out loud can have.

“I feel more confident reading because the cats are sort of like a little audience…it makes me feel more confident reading in front of people,” Calum Bainbridge said.

The program also helps kids establish a sense of responsibility. Rachel Gibbs-Stewart is just one of the parents that brings her daughters Brynn and Charlotte to the program.

“When we signed up for the Kitty-Litter-a-ture Program, [one of the cats] Sweet Pea had kittens and we took one of them home,” Gibbs-Stewart said. “I think it’s taught them [the girls] responsibility just in terms of caring for the cats. It also really boosts their reading confidence.”

The program has proven beneficial for kids that used to find reading a chore.

“It’s unconditional love when you go into that room and you got that little body snuggling up to you, purring and rubbing up against your legs,” Scott Bainbridge said. “You know you’re making a difference in that animal’s life.”

For more information, or if you would like to adopt one of the cats visit The Dundas West Animal Hospital or call (416)-535-8387

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