AKC's Public Education Department & The Mission
The AKC Public Education Department works to engage with the public by facilitating and encouraging relationships between people and purebred dogs through education and outreach. These efforts are integral to the mission of the American Kennel Club, which has advocated for the purebred dog as a family companion, advanced the sport of purebred dogs, and promoted responsible dog ownership since 1884.
Public Education has existed at AKC for over twenty-eight years and serves a wide audience of both children and adults, as well as the fancy, dog owners, and prospective dog owners. Three years ago, a greater emphasis was placed on Public Education and the department was enhanced. Since that time, AKC Public Education has expanded existing programs and created multiple new initiatives.
AKC Patch Program - The AKC Patch Program, launched in 2017, aims to introduce a new generation of young people to purebred dogs through a fun, interactive program that takes place at dog shows.
Hosted by a club at their event, children ages 5-17 take part in a unique scavenger hunt that teaches children about purebred dogs and responsible dog ownership.
Since 2017, more than 2,200 children have taken part in an AKC Patch Program in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia.
AKC Canine Ambassadors - AKC Canine Ambassadors are the connection between clubs and the purebred dog fanciers of tomorrow. There are currently 194 AKC Canine Ambassadors serving their communities in 40 states and the District of Columbia. They support their clubs’ public education efforts by visiting classrooms and community youth organizations to make presentations, often with their AKC- registered, PAL or AKC Canine Partner dog. AKC Canine Ambassadors promote purebred dogs, responsible dog ownership and safety around dogs.
Educator Resources - Educators have the unique ability to touch the lives of thousands of children and their families during their careers. By providing educators with programs and resources, American Kennel Club has a great opportunity to support educators while introducing children and their families to the wonderful world of purebred dogs.
AKC Public Education offers hands-on activities for preschool-aged children and standards- aligned lesson plans for grades K-12 in the subjects of math, social studies, language arts and science. These lessons aim to engage and educate students in the curriculum, while also introducing information about purebred dogs. AKC Public Education recently launched lessons about purebred dogs that are designed for children and adult English Language Learners (ELL), introducing a new audience to the world of AKC.
AKC B.A.R.K. Program - The AKC B.A.R.K. (Be a Reading Kid) Program invites children of all ages to read a book of their choosing to a dog. They may read to their own dog, a dog belonging to a family member or friend, or a dog belonging to an AKC Canine Ambassador that has been approved to participate in the AKC B.A.R.K. Program.
This program is designed to provide a new activity for children to do with their dogs, while strengthening the human-canine bond and providing an opportunity to improve their reading skills.
AKC PupPals Programs - The AKC PupPals Program provides children with a personalized note from and photo of a canine friend. Children are nominated for a PupPal by a parent or guardian. The AKC PupPals Program also involves dog owners by inviting them to share photos of and information about their dogs. AKC Public Education utilizes the photo and information to write a personalized letter to each child from their PupPal.
Launched in August 2019, AKC Public Education enrolled 164 dogs and 123 children in just one week. The children who have requested PupPals are struggling with illnesses, the death of a parent or sibling, deployed parents, bullying and numerous other difficulties. AKC Public Education is honored to be able to brighten their day with a note from a canine friend.
Over the years, AKC Public Education has touched the lives of thousands of people in countless ways. We continuously strive to educate the public and share the transformative impact that a purebred dog can have on all of our lives.
William J. Feeney, Chairman
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