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Member Spotlight

Kylie Wiest

The vision of APHE and the driving force behind the promotion of humane education is a more compassionate world for future generations.  To achieve this goal, individuals must be able to recognize the role they play, feel a responsibility to our planet, and be dedicated to practicing compassionate actions.  Often, we find ourselves discussing how we can develop and acknowledge these prosocial behaviors in youth but often neglect to mention adults. Today we are excited to spotlight an adult that is actively helping us achieve our vision! Join us in celebrating this month’s APHE member spotlight, Kylie Wiest.  She is a leader in the field, sharing thousands of compassion lessons each year to children within her community, while also supporting colleagues in the field through the development of an upcoming Maddie's Fund Apprenticeship. Additionally, she serves as a volunteer on the APHE marketing committee.  Kylie is always eager to help and never turns down any request that comes her way.  I don't know what we would do without her!  Thank you Kylie for your unwavering willingness to make our community stronger and brighter!

APHE: How long have you been a member of APHE?  Why did you join?

I have been a member of APHE for about four years now.  When I first started as a Humane Education Coordinator at Charleston Animal Society, my co-workers recommended that I join APHE for all of the amazing resources and networking opportunities.  It has been instrumental in my development as a humane educator, and I am so impressed by how the organization has grown and developed over the few years I have been a member.  I have especially been loving the new Groupsite platform and the Coffee and Connect sessions.  I also cannot wait for the day when we are all able to meet in person again for a conference!

APHE: Please tell us about yourself and your job.

I have loved animals my whole life, but growing up I was never allowed to have a pet.  The moment I secured my first apartment as a college student, I began the search for a pet.  A few months later, I adopted a kitten named Leon, and my life completely changed.  My goal up until that point was to become an ESL teacher, but my love for Leon propelled me towards the field of animal welfare.  Shortly after graduating school, I enrolled in HSUS’s Certified Humane Education Specialist program and got a job as a Community Outreach and Adoptions Coordinator at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria in Alexandria, VA.  My passion for animals has only grown since then, and I was so excited to accept a position in the humane education department at Charleston Animal Society when I moved to Charleston, SC in 2017.  I am currently in the position of the Humane Education Manager where I coordinate and facilitate programs such as birthday parties, the scout program, the reading program, school visits, volunteer days, and more.

APHE: What do you love most about your organization?

I am very fortunate to work for an organization that whole-heartedly supports humane education.  From our Board of Directors, to our CEO, to my fellow employees, it is made clear that humane education is an initiative that is key to the success of our organization and that it is a critical component of our lifesaving mission.  In a field that is often undervalued and unrecognized, it is so nice to know that we have support.

APHE:  What do you love most about the field of HE?

Humane Education is my dream field because it allows me to combine the two things in life that bring me the most happiness: children and animals.  Working within the field, it is also so wonderful to connect with like-minded individuals who share the same passions as you.  

In today’s world, it is so evident that nothing is more needed than compassion and empathy.  I think this need has shone a light on compassion education, social and emotional learning, mental health, and all of the components that encompass humane education.  I am so proud to work in a field that is furthering the mission of making the world a kinder, brighter place, and I cannot wait to see how humane education grows and develops over the next few years.

About APHE’s Member Spotlight: 

Each month, APHE seeks to spotlight members of the organization that has done one of the following: 

  1. Demonstrated leadership and commitment to the field of humane education
  2. Created a program or activities that have created accessibility and/or inclusion for others
  3. Expanded learning opportunities 
  4. Used creative approaches to education and learning
Have a member you would like to recommend?  Submit your recommendation to members@apphe.org.  
Past Member Spotlights
  1. Nicole Green, Animal Learn
  2. Robin O'Brien, Wisconsin Humane Society
  3. Maddie Krasno, Farm Sanctuary
  4. Adora Negron, Humane Society of Puerto Rico
  5. Shawna Weaver, Walter Munk Foundation 

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