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NorCal Animal Sanctuaries Offer Youth Scholarship Program: Leaders for Ethics, Animals, and the Planet (LEAP)

Students have opportunity to earn $500 scholarship by volunteering at participating animal sanctuaries.  Three NorCal animal sanctuaries, Blackberry Creek…



Students have opportunity to earn $500 scholarship by volunteering at participating animal sanctuaries. 

Three NorCal animal sanctuaries, Blackberry Creek Farm Animal Sanctuary (Placer County), Jameson Humane (Napa County), and Rancho Compasión (Marin County), have collaborated to form a new youth scholarship program for high school students beginning February 2022. Leaders for Ethics, Animals, and the Planet (LEAP) offers participants hands-on farmed and domestic animal care experience, humane education, and the opportunity to earn a $500 scholarship by volunteering at one of the three sanctuaries and completing a 4-month program.

Weekly, from February to June 2022, for 10 hours per month, students and their peers will meet at the local participating animal sanctuary to care for rescued animals, assist with infrastructure projects, and attend humane education courses, all culminating in a community-based project related to the rescued animals. LEAP empowers students to be compassionate catalysts for change, by addressing three main points: the ethics of using animals for industry, connecting with and caring for rescued farmed animals, and what we can do to curb climate change.

The LEAP program was born through a similar concept conceived at Blackberry Creek Farm Animal Sanctuary by Co-Founder Danielle Hanosh. “The original student leadership program named, KEEPERS (Kindness, Ethics, Education, Philanthropy, Empowerment, Responsibility, and Sustainability), began in 2017 at Blackberry Creek and was inspired by the bravery of a high school student named Audori. After participating in a traditional ag program, she decided that the kindest and most ethical thing she could do for her beloved pig, Sebastian, was to save him from slaughter and ensure he had the long, happy life he deserved. 

Sebastian’s story turned into the catalyst that inspired other students to reach out, seeking not only sanctuary for the animals they had lovingly raised, but the chance to continue to care for and learn about farmed animals while being directly involved in changing the way society views them. With the need evident for an opportunity that would encompass leadership, responsibility, sustainability, and compassion, the first iteration of the program was born.” 

View Audori and Sebastian’s Story (the inspiration for LEAP’s formation)

LEAP students will receive many of the same opportunities that other agricultural programs offer – collaboration with peers from around the region, participating in local events, learning from experts and mentors, receiving financial compensation for their work, and, spending time with the animals – but without the financial and emotional burden of raising and showing a slaughter-bound animal. 

“Many students have a strong desire to work alongside animals, and predominant ag programs answer that desire – preparing young students for careers in the field of agriculture and providing access to hands-on animal experience, life and business skills, and even financial compensation. However, students who raise slaughter-bound animals are confronted with difficult and sometimes distressing experiences in order to complete these programs. These other ag programs shame students who do not wish to slaughter their animal, whereas LEAP teaches that there is always a compassionate option. LEAP provides the solution to these outdated models by teaching students about kind care systems for animals in a supportive social-emotional learning environment,” says Miyoko Schinner, Founder of Rancho Compasión and Co-Founder of LEAP.

The goal of LEAP is to empower students to be compassionate catalysts for change, by addressing three main points: the ethics of using animals for industry and its effects on human communities, connecting with and caring for rescued animals, and what can be done to curb climate change.

Students will become adept at: 

  • public interface & networking
  • group leadership & personal leadership: leading by example, and leading a life aligned with their ethics
  • problem solving 
  • practical hands-on skills, whether on the ranch or in the office
  • social-emotional learning and empathy 

Upon completion, students will be rewarded with financial compensation, letters of recommendation, and be connected with a vast network of nonprofits and mentors. Families will not be required to pay for feed, animal husbandry equipment, medical costs, and other financial burdens. The students are paid fairly and competitively for their work, opening up possibilities for a career path in animal rights and welfare.

Monica Stevens, Co-Founder of Jameson Humane and LEAP relays, “we are excited to provide a different opportunity. It is high time. We regularly receive calls from students in other ag programs who have lovingly cared for animals and have come to the realization that they will be going to auction, to slaughter, and want to do what they can to save them. Jameson knows there is a better path for students who would like to work with and do better by the animals.” 

Hanosh adds, “LEAP encourages students that empathy for others is a strength, not a weakness. With humanity at a major crossroads, there’s no better time for our youth to leap forward into a more compassionate and forward-thinking society.” 

For more information about what makes a great LEAP student, eligibility requirements, and the application process, visit, or contact Maral Papakhian

Jameson Humane

Jameson Humane is an impact-driven nonprofit organization that collaborates and educates to inspire change in animal welfare, not only in local communities, but around the world. Its program model includes a variety of novel solutions and approaches driven through education by integrating multiple programs under one roof to create a truly unique animal welfare organization that is unlike any animal rescue or sanctuary. Every day, Jameson’s work is guided by how animals, humans, and our planet are all inextricably connected.

Blackberry Creek Farm Animal Sanctuary

Blackberry Creek Farm Animal Sanctuary was founded in 2014 to provide rescue, rehabilitation, and advocacy on behalf of farmed animals while simultaneously promoting a cruelty-free lifestyle and ecological stewardship. It strives to create a more sustainable and compassionate world by raising awareness and effecting positive change for all animals. The sanctuary’s mission emphasizes education, respect for all sentient beings, and the adoption of a plant-based diet to positively impact animal welfare, physical and mental health, and the future of the planet.

Rancho Compasión

Rancho Compasión was founded in 2015 in the beautiful hills of west Marin to provide a forever home to rescued farmed animals.  What started with the Schinner family adopting two goats became a community effort, blossoming into a non-profit sanctuary that provides a safe haven and forever home for over 100 animals today. Rancho Compasión, Spanish for “compassion ranch”, compassion is at the heart of what we do and how we live.

The post NorCal Animal Sanctuaries Offer Youth Scholarship Program: Leaders for Ethics, Animals, and the Planet (LEAP) appeared first on VEGWORLD Magazine.

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