What started as a homeschool community service project has changed the lives of one young girl and many animals in need in Sumter County!
In early January 2010 Lisa Ratliff suggested to her daughter Addie (then 8 years old) that they find a community service project that could supplement their homeschool efforts by offering Addie opportunities to learn about record keeping, practice public speaking and use math skills. Addie knew she wanted to work with animals so she and her mom contacted the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County. They told Addie she was too young to be a volunteer with animals due to insurance reasons, but they suggested she might be able to help by collecting empty ink cartridges and old cell phones on her own. These recycling efforts help the Humane Society/SPCA by supplementing the funds for office supplies — the cell phones are recycled in return for cash and the ink cartridges are recycled for office supply credit.
Addie took this idea and quickly got to work. She began by contacting the local businesses in her area. She asked them to save their business cell phones and empty ink cartridges and some even let her put a box in their store so the public could deposit items for recycling. Now the local government offices are also participating, resulting in a total of 20 businesses Addie currently visits every month for recycling pick-ups. In 2010, 342 ink cartridges and 48 cell phones were collected as well as $303.75 in cash. In 2011, 507 ink cartridges and 44 cell phones were collected as well as $625.00 in cash.
Addie’s mom Lisa wanted her daughter to learn about responsibility and this project has exceeded her expectations as Addie’s efforts to contribute to the animals has grown so much over the past two years. In 2010 her family held a yard sale and Addie and her sister sold their stuffed animals and donated the profit to the Humane Society/SPCA. For Addie’s birthday, she asked for dog food, cat food or money, all of which went directly to the Humane Society/SPCA. In January 2011, Addie won $250 through a national contest at FreeKibble.com, an organization that recognizes one child a month for their help with animals, and she donated the money to the Human Society/SPAC (check out her winning video) . Addie has also participated in the “Walk for Animals” for the past 2 years, for which she finds sponsors who help her raise money to benefit the Humane Society/SPCA. Addie raised $50 for a dog named Marley who woke up paralyzed in foster care and needed special care. Thankfully, Marley is doing well today and is healthy! She was also asked to speak at the VFW about how to help animals. During her talk they passed a hat and raised $50. She also made a big presentation which the VFW displayed for a time afterwards to raise awareness among their patrons of ways to help animals.
The Humane Society/SPCA recognizes Addie’s need and intense desire to help the animals so they try to involve her in efforts that are appropriate for her. They now call to ask if Addie can volunteer her time for events like parades and fundraisers. There was a recent animal hoarding case in Sumter County where 20 dogs and 20 cats were seized and needed homes. Sumter County does not have a shelter facility and is totally comprised of volunteers fostering animals in their homes. Addie helped make a temporary shelter for them and one day a week, until the animals found homes, her family went to help take care of the extra animals. At Christmas Addie and her family helped wrap presents at Barnes & Noble with other volunteers from the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County for donations. In the four hours they volunteered they raised $300! In 2010 the Humane Society/SPCA asked Addie to attend their annual Christmas party where they recognized her for her work with them.
Addie definitely makes a difference! If your child is interested in getting involved with volunteering Lisa, Addie’s mom, suggests finding something that interests your child; something that they can build on and keep up with. Lisa said that if she had picked the type of volunteer work or organization for Addie to work with, she doesn’t think it would have lasted this long or had the same positive results. Since this project was initiated by Addie, she has learned how to be comfortable with and talk to adults as she was the one who asked the businesses to save the items for recycling. Not only has she learned how to help the animals, but she is also more confident with public speaking as she can speak well in front of an audience of all ages.
For more information contact:
Addie’s Project – Contact Lisa Ratliff at firstname.lastname@example.org
Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County- http://www.hsspca.org/
By Tina Cash, FPEA Internal News Ambassador. Tina is a life schooling mom of 1 middle school and 2 preschool children, who used to be in the workplace struggling to find purpose. With purpose found in supplying my children with education and love and my family with my support, my life has changed forever. I thank the Lord Jesus every day for making the impossible task of me not earning an income, possible, because “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” Matt 19:26.