Kenan Thompson has been an iconic voice in the comedy world for decades. Now, on Nov. 10, the “Saturday Night Live” star is taking his talent to the big screen. Thompson plays a veterinarian in Paramount’s new CGI/live-action feature “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”
The role is a special one for Thompson because he is using this platform — alongside Banfield Pet Hospital, an international pet healthcare company — to encourage more diversity in the veterinary field.
Research from Banfield Pet Hospital shows that nearly 90% of veterinarians identify as white. To help combat this lack of diversity, Banfield has formed a partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to encourage kids from underrepresented communities to learn more about veterinary medicine.
“There’s a serious gap in the diversity range, and Banfield is trying to spread that word, but also trying to get people involved,” Thompson told People. “You know, that perked up my ears immediately. The fact that they’re actually taking steps to kind of help people get through their education to get down that road is pretty amazing to me. So, whatever I can do to kind of help.”
In promoting his new movie, “Clifford the Big Red Dog,” Thompson is also promoting Banfield’s NextVet program, which offers paid internships for high school students to spark an interest in the pet healthcare industry.
“They really care about what they do. And it’s showing in the fact that they’re taking the initiative to bring people into the field,” Thompson said of Banfield. “They could just, you know, keep their hospitals running and keep things the way they are, but they want to spread wings and be more inclusive, and I’m all about that.”
The NextVet paid internship for high school students is currently being offered by Banfield Pet Hospital in eight major cities, including Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Portland-Vancouver and Washington D.C.
Interested students can apply on Oct. 27, which is National Mentoring Day. The internship will take place over six to 10 weeks during the summer of 2022.
Visit the NextVet site here to learn more about how to apply.
Watch Kenan Thompson working with the Banfield Pet Hospital and the Boys & Girls Club in this YouTube video: