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Puppy love: Students work to help dogs in need


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In two local classrooms, the kids are all for canines.

Elementary school students at North Star Montessori School recently raised $500 for Red Sky Rescue in Medora, and first-graders at Columbus Signature Academy Fodrea Campus raised $1,000 to build an outdoor dog run at the Bartholomew County Humane Society.

The students took a love for animals and turned it into a community project, which taught students a lot — from event organizing to arts and crafts skills. But all students took a single lesson from the fundraising.

“We learned respecting animals is a good thing to do,” Emily Haines said.

CSA Fodrea Campus

Instruction in Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. is guided by project-based learning, a method that allows students to explore real-world problems and challenges.

Teachers Stephany Kiel and Jodi Koor allow their students to give input on a project.

“We wanted to work on rescuing animals,” Cayden Handley said.

The class took a vote on what animal to focus on, and dogs won.

So they started with a question: “How can we, as first-graders, make a difference in rescuing dogs?”

The classes opted to make and sell toys using fleece, water bottles, rope and dried fruit. The “Squidalicious” was a tennis ball wrapped in fleece, and the “Super Crinkle” was a water bottle wrapped in a T-shirt. Students also made toys named “Cuddle Ball,” “Super Bed,” “Chew Nugget” and “Fruit Mega.”

The students learned about the adoption process at the animal shelter, how to make dog toys and basic business principles. They learned how to price the toys — which ranged from $2 to $10 — and how to track their fundraising progress.

Paige Chapman said she had fun making the toys and naming them.

And now the class will have the chance to name the dog run when it is built.

Suggestions included “The Outside Dog Competition,” “The Kiel and Koors Class Dog Run” and “Bob.”

Koors said the class will probably name the dog run “CSA Fodrea First-Grade Dog Run,” with some combination of adjectives like “super” and “awesome.”

The class has now moved on to its next project and is working on the scientific method, but the first-graders have plenty of ideas for future donations: raising money for the poor, donating to the Columbus Love Chapel and helping nursing homes.

North Star Montessori School

Joe Beach, a 10-year-old at North Star Montessori School, and his mother came up with the idea of raising money for Red Sky Rescue, a nonprofit private dog rescue.

“We have a whole bunch of dogs, and we just love them like crazy,” Joe said. “If any one is in need, I’ll try to do something for it.”

Mark van Dyk, the elementary teacher at the school, was looking for an in-service project, so he was immediately on board.

The four elementary students started out by placing cans at nearby businesses.

Van Dyk said there were pictures of very sad dogs on the cans, which were left out for a month or two, but they were only mildly successful.

Adam Gearries, 8, said his can was empty — until he told a passing woman, and she donated $10.

The bulk of the $500 was raised at an art auction the students organized.

Other North Star classes pitched in their own creations, and the students had fun bidding on the work.

Van Dyk sold copies of his self-published book, “Harold.”

Parents donated chili, drinks and cookies to sell at the auction.

The donation has provided much-needed medicine, vaccines and other supplies to the pets awaiting adoption at the shelter, said Ruth Riley, Red Sky Rescue shelter manager.

“We are so grateful for the support of people like those caring students who support our mission and make it possible for us to continue helping other pets in need,” she said.

And the four students are proud of their work.

“Four guys can make a little bit of a difference in the community,” Joe said.

“I just wish we could have made $7,000,” Adam added.

How to help

Bartholomew County Humane Society

Mission: Provide humane support, care, shelter and medical attention to abandoned and homeless animals, to place animals in permanent homes and to promote education for responsible pet ownership.

Phone: 812-372-6063

Address: 4110 E. County Road 200S.

Online: www.bartholomewhumane.org

Red Sky Rescue

Mission: Help rescue, rehabilitate and re-home the abandoned dogs in our community while working to educate the public about the importance of early spay/neuter of family pets as a way to reduce the number of homeless pets.

Phone: 812-216-6310

Address: 8505 W. County Road 150N in Medora

Online: www.redskyrescue.org

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