SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- Many elementary school students struggle with the fear of reading in public or aloud.
Animals in local shelters struggle getting the human interaction that they need.
The two issues can be resolved by a program in the South Bay called Kiddies2Kitties. It's a purr-fect match.
For the past three years, the Palo Alto Humane Society (PAHS) and Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority (SVACA) host this bi-monthly event to help socialize adoptable cats and rabbits with children of all ages.
The program is held the first and third Wednesday each month from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the SVACA in Santa Clara.
Kids in the area come to the shelter and meet with the animals in private rooms as they read their favorite books aloud.
"They were really cute and adorable," eight-year-old participant Nathan Tonel said. "I think it's less hard reading to my classmates because they can speak my language."
It is a way to socialize the children and the animals, this helps make the kittens happier adoptable pets.
Parents, or even scoutmasters, can bring their children to help with this cause.
For the kids, it helps them ease their anxiety of reading with an audience that won't judge.
"I feel like the animals won't laugh at you if you make mess-ups," 11-year-old participant Jazmine Friedline said. "The animals just say 'okay, read to me',"
The animals get used to meeting new people by being read to softly.
"It introduces cats to people from other cultures who might never have had a cat at home," PAHS Education Manager Leonor Delgado said. "They can learn to see that the cats can become family members."
This makes the cats accustomed to human voices and encourages them to approach people.
"This is a way for childern to learn to relate to animals," PAHS Executive Director Carole Hyde said. "That teaches them empathy for other living beings. I think that's very important. Children will be the next generation of pet owners and the next generation of custodians of the earth. They need to become aware of empathy and kindness."
Kiddies2Kitties is also just a great way to spend the afternoon.