Meet Kate and Kassidy and find out how your kids can help these two young Monmouth County girls raise awareness for animal rights starting Saturday!

Kate DeFilippis (13 years old) is from Tinton Falls and Kassidy Torchia (10 years old) is from Oceanport. These two girls wanted to find a way to improve the lives of animals. So they got together with Isa Fowler from the Monmouth County SPCA for guidance, and, with Isa's mentoring, wrote a proposal and received a Disney grant to start their new non-profit!

From the time she was ten years old, Kate found herself disheartened by the stories of animal neglect, dog fighting in Asbury Park, and the animal hoarding case in Howell. She wanted a way to help and then last summer she learned about the Disney Summer Service Grant where kids are encouraged to help their communities. Disney partners with Youth Services America to provide those grant.

Kate has a tremendous love for the MCSPCA. She likes that they provide a safe and clean shelter for animals who have been neglected and that the shelter works so hard to find new homes for those animals. Kate likes to visit the MCSPCA because the staff is so friendly, the dogs have big open spaces and the cats have large rooms. That's why they asked the MCSPCA to sponsor their organization.

Now YOU are invited to the kickoff party to support the girls and their Anti Cruelty Crew, a non-profit humane education peer to peer group. Kids ages 5 - 16 years old are encouraged to join the Anti- Cruelty Crew to help educate their communities about how to respect animals.

The event itself will be a chance for kids to learn about the importance of animal rights. In addition, there will be fun games including Barnyard Bingo, Guess How Many and Bean Bag Toss, snacks, and prizes including a basket from The Hungry Puppy. Kate and Kassidy will be there to meet everyone who attends, and to spread their message of compassion and empathy through kindness and education.

So bring your kids to the Community Room of the MCSPCA, 260 Wall Street in Eatontown, this Saturday, Feb. 18th, from 1 - 4 pm. They'd like to organize street teams, complete with literature, lanyards, ID tags and PowerPoints to bring to schools, events, and church groups.

Kids will learn how to spread the word from school to school and town to town until the whole country knows how to respect animals and how to respect life, as well as provide information on pet adoptions. Isa says there has been verifiable research showing that children who understand and practice empathy toward animals are more successful in adulthood and more compassionate. Conversely, research has shown that children who abuse animals are more likely to commit crimes as adults.

The Anti Cruelty Crew is just getting off the ground and already has 20 members. The grant program runs until the end of the summer, but the girls have plans to fundraise and continue the organization.

For more info, contact Isa via email: Isa@monmouthcountyspca.org or just show up to the event this Saturday for all the info!