4th Annual Animal Services Heritage Team Program is Saturday Feb. 17

Arlington Animal Services invites everyone to attend an inspirational event on Saturday, February 17, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 1000 S.E. Green Oaks Boulevard.  Members of the Heritage Team will deliver presentations about the lives of celebrated leaders that have touched history on an epic level.

Heritage Team members hope to receive a monetary award for their speech, based on their professionalism, accuracy of the content presented, and quality of the delivery of their presentation.

A total of $1,700 in award monies were donated anonymously in support of the Heritage Program, founded by Animal Services Manager Chris Huff in 2015. The program is open to all junior high and high school students looking for a rewarding way to give back to the community. This initiative is meant to inspire youth – both personally and professionally – and provide education and experiences with positive influences to last a lifetime.

Huff’s ingenuity and ongoing dream of encouraging increased minority youth involvement in the shelter’s volunteer program is helping grow a more collective volunteer base for the shelter, while focusing on the City Council’s priority to Support Quality Education.

Taylor Kennedy, the first-place winner in the program’s first year, will sit in as a judge in this year’s contest. Kennedy, a highly motivated young woman, now in her senior year at Uplift Summit International Preparatory high school, has remained an enthusiastic volunteer since winning the contest in 2015.

Kennedy’s self-motivation serves the community well as she uses her organizational skills to create and perform duties with Animal Services, and through her school’s National Honor Society (NHS) program, where she is the club’s 2017-2018 president. To date, their NHS club organized five charitable activities under Kennedy’s leadership, including initiatives with Arlington Animal Services, Arlington Libraries, Mission Arlington, Metroplex Care and Rehabilitation Center, and Uplift Summit School’s Angel Project.

Huff is proud of the 2018 team for the commitment and dedication they have shown for this year-long project. Black History Month is recognized by the Heritage Team with its annual contest concluding the program each year, with each team member’s presentation on the topic of a heritage leader, or legendary event.

Dennis Fennigan, the team’s volunteer coordinator, worked with the group on research, held monthly team meetings, and assisted Huff with this year’s program planning. The students spent a few hours with Huff each month to learn about animals and shelter operations.

The winner of the 1st place award will also present at the Black History Month Festival, scheduled for Sunday, February 25, 2018, at 2 p.m. at the Southeast Branch Library, adjacent to the Animal Services Center.

Huff recognizes the challenges these junior high and high school-aged students face with their many activities, life experiences, and responsibilities. Shelter staff and volunteers will continue to focus on this group each year, to increase student participation, while teaching our growing youth about the operations of Animal Services.

Registration for the 2018-2019 program starts on June 1, 2018 and ends on June 30, 2018. Those currently in junior high or high school interested in joining the Arlington Animal Services Heritage Team should email Chris.Huff@ArlingtonTX.gov, or call 817-459-6269.

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