Windermere Elementary School Student Help SPCA Animals Find New Homes

June 7, 2022 — What happens when elementary school students take on the task of creating posters, newscasts, and essays helping animals find new love? ANIMALS FIND NEW LOVE! Thanks to the third-grade students of Amy Fakterowtiz, Shannon DeMarco, and Sue Strefeler at Windermere Elementary School in Amherst, new people in the community are taking notice of the need to adopt or foster animals from the SPCA Serving Erie County!

The students took part in a persuasive writing project in an effort to find more families to adopt or foster SPCA animals. A June 6 ceremony at the SPCA to celebrate the students’ work included a check presentation (the children did a coin drive and collected more than $400 for SPCA animals!) and some Tale for Two reading to the animals.  In fact, this program sparked the creativity of the SPCA’s Humane Education team members, who plan to expand on this concept and bring it to more schools in Erie County during the ’22-’23 school year! Below, find links to photos of the fun, student newscasts, stories that aired on local stations, and an article from the Amherst Bee!

PHOTOS: See our Windermere student celebration >>

VIDEO: Windermere Student Newscast, Animal Adoptions

VIDEO: Windermere Student Newscast, Animal Fostering

See this story in the Amherst Bee >>

See this story on WGRZ-TV >>

See this story on WIVB-TV >>

See this story on WKBW-TV >>


Students Team Up with SPCA for Special Writing Project
June 01, 2022
Amherst Bee


Two third grade classes at Windermere Elementary School have teamed up with the SPCA Serving Erie Country for a special project. The classes of Amy Fakterowtiz, Shannon DeMarco and Sue Strefeler, along with their students, organized a persuasive writing pilot program to help animals at the SPCA find their fur-ever homes.

Fakterowitz said she was inspired by an article in the Washington Post about a class project to help shelter animals get adopted. “A class in Virginia wrote letters from the perspective of the animals that were not getting adopted, and they were hung on the cages at a shelter and I thought that was a great idea.”

Fakterowitz said she proposed the project when the students started their persuasive writing unit. “This is the first time we’ve done this and we’re hoping for a really long relationship with the SPCA because they do outstanding work and have been so wonderful with us and easy to work with.”

Persuasive writing is a type of writing in which the author tries to convince the reader of their viewpoint. “Our project is about the SPCA and how to adopt and to foster animals,” said student Shruthi Kannan.

Fakterowitz said the project came to life after several meetings and discussions with the SPCA and putting their own “spin” on the project to meet their needs. “I reached out to the SPCA and they got back to us in one hour; they were so excited to do this [with us].” As part of the project, students were asked to write about why people should adopt one of the animals at the SPCA, why people should foster animals and how the animals need to be cared for.

Student Natalie Sheaks said that they were able to pick which animal to write about and learn how to take care of them for the project. “There’s so many animals at the SPCA because they’re not taken care of [by owners], and they’re just not getting adopted.”

Fakterowitz said the students were given the option of which of five animals to write about.

The SPCA invited all the students and their families to an open house celebration when their writings will be displayed on the adoptable animals’ cages.

The open house will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 6, at the SPCA, 300 Harlem Road, West Seneca.

Students and attendees “will be able to read to the dogs that are there,” said Fakterowitz. “They can tour the facility and, who knows, even walk out with a best friend.”

While this is the first year for the project, Fakterowitz is hoping to hold it again.

“All year, these kids have been learning how to be community activists and how they can make a difference,” said Fakterowitz. “Even though they are children, this [project] is helping them to learn that with hands-on experiences.”

For more information on the SPCA Serving Erie County, visit

Student Josie Yates said the project is important because the SPCA has a lot of animals. “It’s helping animals get adopted,” she said.

Natalie pointed out that the project “is important because people need to know how to take care of animals and that you’re not just saving the lives of the animals you’re adopting, you’re leaving room for an empty cage for another animal that needs help.” EMILY MILLER, Reporter

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer