The world has become a pretty non-compassionate place, and we were inspired to try to change that. Our philosophy is that children who treat animals well treat people well. ARC’s programs harness the natural affinity between children and animals to help children better understand the needs and feelings of all living things. In turn, children learn the tools they need to make the world a kinder place, and they gain valuable benefitssuch as higher self esteem and heightened social and emotional intelligence. Compassion, to us, is one of the most powerful strengths that we can teach our children.

Drawing on extensive research supporting humane education, ARC’s programs are designed to:

  • Teach children real-life skills, including compassion, resilience and empathy
  • Decrease bullying and improve academic achievement
  • Guide children to become better global citizens
  • Create an organized group of youth animal ambassadors empowered to effect change
  • Build a robust foster network throughout the tri-state area
  • Allocate money raised through programming to support local rescue groups

ARC provides after-school programming and on-site workshops throughout the tri-state area as well as support materials available to teachers everywhere. ARC also supports local rescue groups directly through its foster network and youth-oriented fundraising efforts.

The Founders

Molly Fahner Calhoun

At a young age, Molly’s parents taught her that if an animal is in trouble, you should do everything you can to help it. They demonstrated empathy by example, and how kindness makes a difference. Now, she instills those same lessons with her own children, and she’s seen first-hand the confidence and pride kids gain from caring for an animal and changing its life for the better. Molly believes that compassion is a life skill, that there is a tremendous amount of strength in sensitivity, and that kids develop character from purposefully living the words, “stand up for others, be kind, do good.”

Molly works as a writer and editor for print and digital media. Early during her freelance career, she spent three years managing client service for a New York City veterinary clinic. This experience taught her how inundated public city shelters are with homeless animals, and the resulting high euthanasia rates. Molly is passionate about raising awareness regarding pet homelessness, and she knows that educating the public, transforming mindsets and changing laws is critical to improving the outcome for these animals.

Molly volunteers for a variety of rescue groupsfostering, networking pets, and helping raise funds for veterinary care. She is also on the Advisory Committee for the Humane Society of the United States’ Humane Generation New York and is an Alliance Committee member for Finn2Finn Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to humane initiatives. She has a B.S. from the University of Michigan and a M.S. from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Raised in Chicago, Molly now lives in Connecticut with her husband, two young children and three mixed breed rescue dogs, Riley, Malcolm and Mabel.

Kerith Davies Knechtel

Like most kids, Kerith was born an animal lover. Blessed with tolerant parents, she turned her childhood NYC apartment into a veritable menagerie, growing up with pet dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, parrots, turtles, snails, fish, crayfish, frogs and even a snake. Also a nature lover, Kerith left the city for high school in New England and college in rural New Hampshire (where she and her roommate adopted a bunny named Tiger), before eventually returning to the New York City area.

While her childhood dreams of becoming a vet were supplanted somewhere along the way by a law degree, Kerith never lost her passion for animals. Kerith believes that animals experience a range of emotions and form social and family bonds similar to those of humans. She knows from personal experience and from watching her children grow up with dogs, that our relationship with animals can be a source of abundant confidence and comfort, offering an invaluable outlet from the stress of everyday life. Kerith is also passionate about the power of education, and believes it is our responsibility to teach empathy and character as we shape the next generation.

Kerith lives in Connecticut with her husband, five year old twins, three fish, and two dogsLuke, a black lab mix rescued from an Alabama shelter, and Jackson, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel she purchased before understanding the dark side of commercial pet breeding and the joy of adopting shelter pets. When not focused on family, friends and animals, Kerith works as in-house counsel at a travel company, focusing on employment, marketing and litigation. Kerith received her B.A. from Dartmouth College, and her J.D. from Columbia Law School.