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Chase Utley and Jennifer Utley promote proper care and treatment of animals at Anna B. Pratt Elementary School

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When Chase Utley and his wife Jennifer arrived at Philadelphia’s Anna B. Pratt Chase Utley and Jennifer Utley promote proper care and treatment of animals at Anna B. Pratt Elementary School. Photo: Joe Vallee Sr.Elementary School to help promote the proper treatment of animals Thursday morning, the young students did what any young, respectful boy or girl would do when an All-Star second baseman from the Phillies comes to visit them.

They went absolutely crazy!

Don’t worry. Every single child (100 children ranging from kindergarten to second grade) was extremely well behaved and beyond courteous to all of the guests in attendance.

In addition to helping the kids in regards to animal care, the Utleys were also on hand to help the kids paint the “Kindness to Animals” mural. The mural, created by artist Willis Humphrey, will be permenantly displayed at 22nd and Dauphin Street on June 7th.

The Utleys recently started The Utley Foundation to educate the community about the proper treatment of animals and fund non-profit organizations that are active in the fight against animal neglect, pain, and suffering. The Utley Foundation and the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program invited the students to participate in poster, essay, and photo contests. The students were asked to express feelings and share personal stories about family pets or animals in their community. Chase Utley and Jennifer Utley promote proper care and treatment of animals at Anna B. Pratt Elementary School. Photo: Joe Vallee Sr.Winners from each contest were awarded a personal portrait on the mural.

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The assembly featured remarks from Jane Golden, Executive Director of the Mural Arts Program.  Chase followed Golden’s remarks by stressing to the kids the importance of being kind to animals. After he spoke, Jen Utley addressed the students about what inspired her and her husband to start their foundation.

 

Mrs Utley, who was clearly moved at the response of the students as they walked down the school hallway, also showed them a video on the importance of being kind to animals, as well as what to do when you come across a dog you might be unfamiliar with. After the two spoke, Meow, Cupid, and Arrow, three felines from the Philadelphia SPCA who are just about ready for adoption, were brought out from behind the auditorium curtain, much to the delight of the children.  

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After the assembly, the Utleys both discussed the importance of sending a positive message to kids about animal treatment at this early stage in their lives.

“Cruelty is starting at a much younger age, so that was one of the inspirations behind Jane and I teaming up on this project,” said Mrs Utley. “We really need to get to these kids when they’re young because that’s when they are learning right from wrong. If they are seeing things in their community and nobody is telling them (right from wrong), they will think (certain things) are ok behavior.”

“So by getting them at this young age and teaching them about inhumane treatment of animals, Mockup of the “Kindness to Animals” mural. The mural, created by artist Willis Humphrey, will be permenantly displayed at 22nd and Dauphin Street on June 7th.we’re hoping that they will teach their friends when they get older that this is not acceptable. We’re seeing a lot of youth gang behavior being directed at animal cruelty right now, so we have to stop that before it starts.”

“I think at this age is when kids are most impressionable,” said Chase. “They could pass this on to their friends throughout the community or maybe their family members or their parents.”

Prior to joining the kids along with his wife to paint the mural, the five-time all-star was quite candid when asked about his artistic ability.

“I’m not a very good painter,” warned the five-time All-Star. “Luckily these kids are good painters. There’s a great artist working on it, so it’s gonna turn out great, it’s gonna be great for the community, I’m excited about it. Today is a special day for these kids, for our foundation, and the Pennsylvania SPCA, so it’s all good.”   

Very special thanks to Kaitlyn McCrea and Alexandra Gort from Cashman & Associates

For more information, visit  www.theutleyfoundation.com

For further information on Mural Arts in Philadelphia, call 215.685.0750 or visit www.muralarts.org

For more info on the Philadelphia SPCA, go to http://www.pspca.org/

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com 

Awesome photos by Joe Vallee Sr. (JosephV985@aol.com)

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