June 14, 2024
Annapolis, US 84 F

Severna Park Students Join Forces with Local Animal Shelter 

In an effort to benefit the Friends of Anne Arundel County Animal Care & Control organization, Severna Park High School seniors Nicole Schroeder and Jillian Zukley organized and led a booth with a group of six other students at the annual Severna Park Earth Day Festival at Earleigh Heights Fire Department on April 29. As part of their Leadership Institute Capstone project, Nicole and Jillian have been working diligently for the past five months to guide a group of nearly a dozen students with the same interest: helping out local animals in need.

Along with participating in the Earth Day event, ‘Operation Helping Paws’ goals included raising money to donate to the shelter and collecting frequently needed items to donate, such as food, toys, beds, etc. Exceeding their original goal of raising $250, the pair raised over $1,000 to go towards helping the shelter. They also beat their original goal of 40 items by bringing over 60 items.

Nicole and Jillian’s love for animals drove their passion for this project. A culmination of their efforts, the Earth Day event was successful in helping out the shelter. Over 20 items were raised that day alone, along with a large amount of awareness brought to the cause by the group passing out flyers to event attendees.

After seeing how hard volunteers work to keep the shelter running, the girls chose to work with the Friends organization. As the daughter of a volunteer who has been with the shelter for over ten years, Nicole could see firsthand the sacrifices and effort that go into keeping the animals comfortable during their stay and getting them adopted. While the shelter staff does a fantastic job, they cannot be everywhere at once. This is where the volunteers come in. The volunteers can walk and socialize with the animals, which frees the staff to attend to matters requiring more specialization. Without the volunteers (who give around 1500+ hours every month), the shelter would not be able to function at its current capacity.

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