K9 Ambassador, Rico, and MLI staff members hit the road for spring school visits in Connecticut and Rhode Island in celebration of International Mine Awareness Day. Throughout the week, more than 600 students attended presentations learning about landmines, Bosnia-Herzegovina, survivors, and the amazing work of mine detection dogs.
The first school visit was with 7th graders at Central Middle School in Greenwich, Connecticut. A general presentation about the work MLI does as well as information about landmines and their impact on communities around the world, mine detection dogs, and Rico’s work was enthusiastically received by the 7th graders. The students asked amazing questions and enjoyed watching Rico demonstrate how he sniffed out landmines in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Our second stop was at North Mianus Elementary School in Greenwich. 5th grade students at this school are doing amazing things through MLI’s Children Against Mines Program (CHAMPS). The students virtually connect with youth in Bosnia-Herzegovina each month, so the presentation was geared towards learning more about the country and culture. Rico ended the presentation with a demonstration and photos with the kids. All the kids were able to give him a gentle pet on the way out of the gym. North Mianus 5th graders will be hosting a week-long fundraiser at their school raising awareness about the landmine issue for the younger children in the school. They are wonderful role models, and CHAMPS has become something the younger students look forward to doing when they get to 5th grade.
Following our trip to North Mianus, the next presentation was at Brunswick Middle School for a larger group of 5th – 8th grade boys. Another impressive group of students, the young men of Brunswick Middle School requested a presentation focused on landmine survivors. The presentation focused on the impact of landmines in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Yemen as well as challenges of survivors. Following the presentation, Rico was honored and demonstrated his sniffing skills. Rico was sponsored by students at Brunswick School and was named in memory of a beloved teacher, Mr. Cosby. Rico was a rockstar during his visit. At the end of the visit, the animal service group presented a really cool fundraiser they are hosting to raise money for survivors. The students will be hosting an inflatable relay race at their school. The trip to Brunswick School was extremely meaningful, as Rico was photographed by the Mr. Cosby statue and then on the Cosby Field. Rico ran on the field and loved every second of it. He had a blast!
The final stop of this tour was in Pawtucket, Rhode Island where Tamara, Anne, and Rico were able to meet the very first group of homeschooled students. The young people in this group were amazing. They have been meeting virtually since February and have learned about Bosnia-Herzegovina, landmines, and the work of mine detection dogs. It was great to meet the students and their families in the park. We did a full demonstration with Rico, and everyone was able to interact with him. They asked amazing questions.
If you know of a school or youth group that would like to have a visit or get involved with CHAMPS, please contact Anne Wooleyhand, MLI Educational Programs Director at email@example.com. In our efforts to raise awareness and support people around the world impacted by landmines, all of MLI’s educational programs are free of charge.