Unleashed: Empowering a New Generation of Girls to Become Animal Advocates

Starting this September, girls from three middle schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn will have the opportunity to participate in Unleashed, a pilot program designed to empower young girls to become social change entrepreneurs by getting involved in animal welfare.

The program, created by Dr. Stacey Radin, was developed to build confidence and promote leadership skills in adolescent girls after finding that one interest girls from every walk of life had in common was animal welfare.

The hope for this new generation is to foster the natural connection children feel toward the animals and connecting them to adults who will teach them and encourage their individual interests and gifts while allowing them to see the impact of the changes they can achieve.

“Early influences shape a women’s perception of her power, and if you trace back powerful women to their beginnings, there is something in their early experiences that impacted their abilities to be powerful and to stand out, to be a non-conformist,” said Radin.

“One of the things they can wrap their heads around is animal cruelty and homelessness,” she added. “They can say, ‘I can help a vulnerable animal. Even I could impact an animal’s life in some way.’”

The mission of the 12-week Unleashed program is to:

  • Create an impact in the animal rescue community.
  • Foster growth and development.
  • Strengthen personal leadership skills.
  • Create, inspire and build a community among peers.

However, while the program will work on rescue and adoption efforts, the best part is that it takes a deeper look at the root of the problem, giving girls the opportunity to work together to develop solutions that are directed at preventing animal cruelty and addressing the causes of pet overpopulation.

The program will be starting this fall at New Heights Academy in Washington Heights, Poly Prep in Brooklyn, and Nightingale Bamford School in Manhattan.

Keep an eye on their website and follow their progress on Facebook

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Dancayra R.
Dancayra R.7 years ago

i am a unleashed helper and i love dogs

M B.
M B7 years ago

I think that's a wonderful idea and can benefit the girls in so many ways. It teaches respect for animals, growth, team building skills, self confidence in oneself, possibly future career goals dealing with animals.

Diane W.
Diane Hill7 years ago


Silver J.
Silver J7 years ago

What a great article, what a great idea!!!

Cindy S.

Wonderful Idea

Philippa P.
Philippa P7 years ago

What a wonderful program. I think it will really empower young women to take a stand for something they believe in.

Lisa C.
Lisa C7 years ago

I LOVE this! I am with the local volunteer humane society in our city, and I am always happy to see parents bringing their young children in to help, or when young teens want to volunteer. You can never start them too young to teach them to think humanely!

Kathy Fischer
Kathy Fischer7 years ago

All I can say is, excellent! Excellent! EXCELLENT!!! I love this program and I hope the idea catches on, not only in this country, but worldwide. FANTASTIC!

Freya The Wanderer
Freya H7 years ago

What an excellent idea! Kids need to learn the value of volunteering.

Michelle Hesse
Michelle Hesse7 years ago

I agree with the others here, why just have girls? In our local cat shelter we have a teen boy who comes and helps out with his mom to clean cages and socialize the scared cats. He sometimes has better luck then us ladies in getting the scared ones to come out!