Wayside Waifs

Humane Education

Each year thousands of students receive a wide variety of quality programming delivered by Humane Educators and their companion animals! These programs are delivered in the greater Kansas City area for preschools, public and private elementary schools and a variety of community organizations. 

These intentionally designed programs help students develop empathy for all living beings, a trait vital to a student's success and predictor for future behaviors. We believe in the power of empathy to empower students to create positive change and impact for both the humans and animals in our community and beyond. 

While there is no set fee for our programming, we do ask that you consider making a donation. Your contributions allow us to continue these educational efforts. 

At this time we are not offering in person educational programs, however, many of our programs can be conducted virtually. If you are interested in scheduling a virtual presentation for your group, please Karen at kwallace@waysidewaifs.org or John at jparker@waysidewaifs.org

Looking for additional Humane Education lessons and activities for your students that promote empathy and compassion? We've got you covered! Check out our Humane Education You Tube Channel for video lessons and our library of fun worksheets and project ideas you can download!

Compassion In Action
Do You Have the Time for an Animal?
Dog Food Challenge
Offsite KIA Project
Secret Agent
Self Compassion
You Can Change the World 

"Kindness in Action!" (formerly Families in Action)

Virtual Experience | Guided by Instructor or Once a Week 1 Hour Session

Join us for the kindness challenge! Based on our long running program - Kids in Action, this fun, new challenge is for anyone and everyone no matter how old you are or where you live. Individuals or groups can participate in one of our live sessions where we'll meet virtually once a week to issued the challenge for that week, OR contact us to schedule a one-time program for your group where we'll give you the challenges up front and you can complete them at your own pace. For more information and to find out when our next live session will be contact Karen at kwallace@waysidewaifs.org.

"No More Bullying!®"


Off-site | Grades: 3-5 | 5 Lessons-1 hour per lesson | Companion animal attends classes

People who are abused by people often abuse animals. People who abuse animals often also abuse other people. And so the cycle goes. The connection between all forms of violence has been extensively studied and researched. In modern society, safety in schools, both physically and emotionally has been at the forefront of everyone's minds. 

Wayside Waifs directly addresses this fact by implementing the primary prevention program "No More Bullying!" This curriculum is the cornerstone of the Humane Education program, and is rooted in social and emotional learning practices. Students learn how to gain Self-Respect and Respect from others by learning about and practicing the following core character traits: Responsibility, Compassion, being Humane, Self-Control and Integrity. Studies prove that developing these principles in young people through the humane treatment of animals leads them to have greater empathy for human beings and is a higher predictor of success than IQ.

If you would like the No More Bullying! program at your school or in your community but are outside of our presentation radius, the curriculum is available for purchase! For more information the visit the No More Bullying!® website. 

PAW-etiquette for Pooches & People: Dog Safety 


Off-site or On-site | Grades: Kindergarten - 5 | 1 hour | Companion animal attends class

One of the most important ways students can stay safe around dogs is to understand and respect the way in which dogs communicate with us. During this bite prevention program, students will understand common body language in dogs (and people too!) and how to respond appropriately and respectfully. Students will also learn the proper way to greet a dog, what to do when approached by an unfamiliar dog and additional strategies to avoid being attacked by a dog. 

Activating Em-PAW-thy: Exploring Similarities between Pets and People


Off-site or On-site | Grades: Kindergarten - 5 | 1 hour | Companion animal attends class

Developing empathy is an important part of youth development. What better way of helping students understand how another living being is feeling than to connect their feelings back to our own? Students will discuss the similarities between what animals and humans need to be happy and healthy, leaving the session with an increased motivation to care for their family pets and all living beings. 

Once U-PAW-n A Time: Reading for Pets & People


Off-site or On-site | Grades: Kindergarten - 6  and Adults| 1 hour | Companion animal attends class

This program consists of several reading options:

  • As students practice reading to a friendly, non-judgmental companion animal, their confidence soars eventually leading them to read in front of peers with ease. Teachers can decide to have regularly scheduled times with individual students or small groups of students.
  • A soothing voice of a Humane Educator reads a story while residents at nursing homes, mental health facilities or other adult care communities enjoy the interaction with a friendly companion animal.
  • Create a reading experience involving a companion animal that best suits your needs.  

Click here to sign up for the weekly on-site Once U-PAW-n A Time program.



On-site | Grades: Kindergarten - 5 | 1 hour | Maximum Group: 15

We understand that youth can do big things to create change and positively impact our community. While volunteers at our shelter must be at least 13 years old, accompanied by a parent or guardian, we created our Kids in Action program to allow younger students to give back and help the animals in our shelter.

Each participating group will complete a community service project directly affecting the quality of life and well-being of the animals staying at Wayside Waifs. Projects may vary depending on shelter needs and will not include direct contact with the animals. 

Projects might include:

  • Making dog and cat toys
  • Organizing the food pantry
  • Folding and sorting the laundry
  • Reading to some of Wayside's Waifs 

Educational Tours


On-site | Grades: Kindergarten - 12 | 1 hour | Maximum Group: 20

Groups will experience a comprehensive tour of Wayside Waifs' campus. Along the way students will learn about Wayside's animal intake process and how Wayside cares for animals that need extra attention. Students will also see Wayside's state-of-the-art Veterinary Clinic and Pet Adoption Center and have the opportunity to see Wayside's 5-acre Bark Park and Memorial Grounds. The tour will include visiting adoptable pets.  

Interested in volunteering as a Humane Educator in one of these programs?

If you are an adult group interested in a virtual experience, please contact us to schedule.