LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For the first time ever, 20 students in the "Future Healers Got Zoo Buddies" program met at the Louisville Zoo to launch the new program.
The initiative was created to "explore the healing and therapeutic power of animals with young kids in our community who have experienced secondary trauma from violence," a Louisville Zoo press release said.
"Future Healers Got Zoo Buddies" is a partnership between the Louisville Zoo and Christopher 2X's Game Changers organization.
The Zoo said the partnership aims to highlight how everyone is interconnected to each other, the animals and our planet.
"And how empathy is at the foundation of that connection," the release said.
The students will meet each year for educational programs, camps and behind-the-scenes opportunities with a focus on a "One Health, One Planet" concept.
The program is divided into two age groups.
For younger students, their studies will focus on activities on empathy, for each other and the animals. While older students will work on conservation action projects, focusing on reliance on each other and the planet for "maximum health and well-being."
"The umbrella concept is that we have one mind, one body, one life and one planet," Zoo officials said in the release.
The release said that all 90 Future Healers will get to visit the Zoo.