Riverview students team up to help Pet Refuge

A few weeks ago, Riverview Elementary third graders, headed by third-grade teacher Kerry Mullet, took a field trip the local pet care and adoption center Pet Refuge where students toured the facilities, learned more about the animal shelters, and ultimately were inspired to begin a school-wide fundraising initiative.

“It started with all of our third graders learning about our local city and community here in Elkhart and helping them to understand their roles as citizens here, even though they may be young,” said Mullet.

This project-based learning evolved into full-blown participation. Students designed their own flyers, promoting donations such as food and toys for animals in the shelter and visited classrooms throughout the school to promote their fundraiser. Split into four groups (black, gray, red, and blue), students competed against each other to see who could collect the most donations, the winning team getting the chance to return to the shelter to deliver their raised donations.

“We’ve written ‘Dear Neighbor’ letters to the surrounding community asking them to donate as well. Because it started as a project to better understand their community, we wanted to give the community a chance to help as well,” said Mullett.

Pet Refuge is a local pet adoption and care center. Their mission: “To protect the health and welfare, and provide the best possible placement for every animal placed in the care of our organization, to recognize the value of each animal life, and therefore, no euthanasia of any animal unless determined by a veterinarian to be the most merciful treatment, spaying and neutering of every animal to help control pet overpopulation, and to educate the public as to pet care and welfare,” according to their website, http://www.petrefuge.com/.

Participation by students has been outstanding, with kids deeply interested and devoted to their cause.

“My favorite part was when we went inside and saw all of the cats and then we made [tie] blankets for them,” said third-grader, Paige VanNevel.

Fellow third-grader Oliver Sager said, “I like that we made things ourselves. We got our first donations, we researched all of the animals that we might see at the shelters, and we made all of the posters.”

On December 20, the students rounded up their collection, with the top contributors making a return trip to Pet Refuge to deliver the items.

“We have 566 items,” VanNevel announced proudly as they loaded the items into Pet Refuge. “We learned that they have twice as many cats here as dogs, but that most of their donations are for dogs. Our classes worked really hard with collecting things for cats.”

girl carrying pet supplies students loading bus girl playing with cat girls playing with cats pet supplies