Animal Hero Kids Team
Susan Hargreaves, Animal Hero Kids Founder, Author, Humane Educator, 40 Year Veteran Animal Activist
Animal Hero Kids is an all-volunteer kindness education charity empowering youth to compassionate action via free school presentations highlighting stories of animal rescue and advocacy and action for other animals.
Susan travels the world celebrating, courageous and compassionate action by kids and teens. She infuses Animal Hero Kids with the passion, wisdom and determination acquired during a lifetime devoted to animal activism. By zeroing in on kindness education, Susan plays an essential role supporting, encouraging and empowering youth to build a more compassionate world for all animals.
Animal Hero Kids’ dynamic volunteer executive director, Susan creates and presents interactive humane education programs around the globe. Each exciting presentation concludes with cruelty-free vegan fare. Her programs, which often showcase stories of outstanding acts of kindness by youth, have been featured extensively in national and international media. Susan’s Background
Sean Russell – Media Director
Sean Russell is a seasoned media producer, marketing professional, and educator who believes in living cruelty-free. He currently serves as lead organizer and founder of SoFlo Vegans and manages a production company called Lesaruss Media.
After a chance encounter with Susan Hargreaves at a vegan expo, Sean agreed to play the role of Ronnie V. Cow. He would later jump at the opportunity to volunteer with Animal Hero Kids, allowing him to combine his passions for being an advocate for children, compassionate vegan and media producer.
Sangeeta Kumar – Animal Hero Kids Canada Director
Sangeeta has been a humane educator ever since her first encounter with Susan Hargreaves. She was 16 years old when the Animal Hero Kids founder presented a program in her high school. Sangeeta asked Susan’s organization to help her with a class project to learn more about the plight of animals. Sangeeta presented her presentation to her entire school. Susan inspired her to become vegan and an activist in her own high school.
She has her undergraduate degree in Environmental Leadership and her M. Ed. specializing in Humane Education. For 5 years she worked as the Education Coordinate for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals where she helped to create the first ever social justice curriculum which included animal rights.
Having spoken to thousands of youth in inner city schools to Ivy League schools such at Princeton and Stanford she is both eloquent and inspiring. Professors have this to say about her:
“Her confidence, connection with students, and ability to field students’ questions was remarkable, no mean feat.”
Robert C. Jones, Ph. D, Department of Philosophy, Stanford University
“…what distinguishes her from most is that she infects her audience with her enthusiasm, vision and compassion”
Prad Basu, adjunct faculty, Union University
Currently she runs her own photography company and is busy launching Animal Hero Kids in Canada.
Korin Sutton – Vegan Fitness Advisor
I believe in the saying,”You are what you eat.” I truly believe this too the core. I have been vegan for about 4 year and I love how I feel, think, look, and how I am giving back not just to the animals but to the planet. Living and eating with compassion has changed my life completely. I was in the military for about 8 years and have served in OIF III AND IV. With that said I have seen a lot of death, poverty, hate, destruction, captivity, and many horrible things and the dark side of war.I believe that it is time to shine a light of peace and upon this country and let us be aware of what’s important in this world. Peace, love, compassion, connection, and life. As Mahatma Gandi says,” Violence begins with the fork.”
“I volunteer with Animal Hero Kids to support young hearts and minds. Seeing compassion and love at such an early age is the most beautiful thing! I love to help Animal hero Kids, Inc to continue to influence others to see love can conquer hate no matter what age!”
Erin Fontes – Board Member & Project Development Director
Erin Fontes is the newest member of the Animal Hero Kids Team as Project Development Director. She brings with her technical, business and creative acumen from other projects such as her most recent role as Managing Director with the Broward County Film Society, as well as Volunteer and Special Events Coordinator with the Humane Society for Greater Savannah and others.
Erin is a writer currently working on her first novel; a comedic and heart-felt approach to helping children and young adults understand how to live with cancer, spoken through the voices of animals. She believe in the creative voice, especially those that embody personalities of animals and integrates its importance in all aspects of her life.
When she’s not working, you will find her advocating and volunteering to help the homeless, with hospice, and re-homing lost and found animals. Erin began volunteering at a very early age, values volunteerism as a way of life and is passionate about her newest endeavor with Animal Hero Kids and plant-based living.
Connie Heidbuechel, CIPS, Lic. Real Estate Broker – Board Member
Connie is multilingual (English-German-Greek) and the CEO/Broker at Florida Real Estate 24/7, LLC. She was born, raised and educated in Germany. Besides running her real estate business, Connie has a passion for helping animals. She became a Vegetarian in 1993 and over the years eliminated more and more dairy products from her diet. She joined the local SPCA’s Board of Directors in 1997, shortly after moving to the US, and she is affiliated with local animal rescue groups.
“I truly believe that Animal Hero Kids tackles the root of the problem – teaching children compassion and respect for all living beings early on, helping to prevent future animal abuse and cruelty and to generally making the world a better place for all living creatures”.
Connie’s hobbies include fitness, wake boarding and she overall believes in a healthy, cruelty-free lifestyle. “I am grateful for the opportunity to support such a wonderful cause”.
Robert Ruderman – Wildlife Coexistence Director
Robert has been working for the protection of animals since 2008 in various capacities including Humane Educator, Wildlife Rescuer, Captive Wildlife Specialist, and Undercover Cruelty Investigator. His goal as AHK’s Wildlife Coexistence Director is to educate kids of all ages and adults how to peacefully coexist with wildlife and to provide humane solutions for all human-wildlife conflicts.
Robert has responded to thousands of wildlife emergencies and conflicts in Florida. In his words: “Rescuing a sick, injured, or orphaned animal in the field is always a profound and emotional experience for me. It is also, of course, profound and emotional experience for the animal. It is very clear to me in these moments just how innocent, vulnerable, and helpless these animals are. These moments fuel and fortify my courage, my sense of urgency, and my commitment to protect and defend all animals.”
AHK’s wildlife presentations and workshops are designed and customized for schools, camps, residential communities, homeowners associations, facilities/maintenance/golf course management & staff, governmental agencies, police, firefighters, nonprofits, businesses, and many other groups. Robert also offers safe wild animal handling workshops. We use engaging, interactive, multimedia programs (including costumed characters for the young ones) to demonstrate the key components to wildlife coexistence, rescue, and protection.
If you are interested in a complimentary wildlife presentation or workshop, please contact us at SusanH@AnimalHeroKids.org. Because Animal Hero Kids is an all-volunteer 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, we request a donation which allows us to continue to reach approximately 30,000 students and adults each year with our humane education programs.
Mikaela Barnes – Board Member
Mikaela is a 20-something year old living and working in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She works as a vegan pastry chef by day, but is also a recipe developer, micro blogger and lover of ALL animals. Just a few years ago Mikaela was unhappily pushing papers at a law firm. In 2012, she decided to quit her job and pursue her passion for food. Mikaela attended the Living Cuisine Academy and received her Raw Food Chef Certification. It was there that Mikaela learned the importance of using wholesome, responsibly farmed, organic ingredients. Mikaela has been working as the Pastry Chef for Greenbar and Kitchen, a strictly plant-based restaurant located in Fort Lauderdale since September 2015. Mikaela’s intention is to make plant-based food as mind-blowing as possible. She believes that “all beings will benefit from humans incorporating more plants into their diets.”She is known as the “Non-dairy Fairy”. After being asked to participate in the 2016 Vegan Cookie Challenge, hosted by Animal Hero Kids, Mikaela knew she wanted to be a part of this charity. Hearing stories of children showing such compassion toward all living beings was such an inspiration to her.