Meadow Lane students reach out to help Diamonds in the Ruff
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 6, 2010 1:50 AM
Rylee Bamburger, a kindergarten student, holds his stuffed toy dog, which he was allowed to bring to school Friday, along with the rest of his class, after they helped raised money and items to donate to local canine rescue group Diamonds in the Ruff.
Diana Cullipher and Rebecca Rodriguez happily clung to their stuffed animals as they walked down the hallway at Meadow Lane Elementary School on Friday.
Diana brought in a light brown horse a friend bought for her during a trip to New York recently, while Rebecca's black and white bear, Pandora, was acquired from a cousin "because we both like pandas."
It was a rare treat for the fourth-graders in Erica Colick's class -- deemed "Bring a Friend to School: Stuffed Animal Day" as a reward for a successful project their class helped orchestrate.
It started during the school's career/hobby fair in April when a staff member at the school, who also volunteers with Diamonds in the Ruff canine rescue, paid a visit to the class with one of the animals.
The visit struck a chord with students, many of whom are animal lovers with pets of their own.
Timothy Fenderson said he has a dog, while classmate Kaiden Morales has three cats.
Diana said she has five dogs and two cats, and Rebecca's pets include a dog and a fish.
The fourth-grade class decided to organize its own effort to provide needed items for the charity.
"The whole school participated, but our class started it," Kaiden explained.
They made posters and handed out flyers for the campaign to garner donations for rescue animals.
It was a very successful venture, Timothy said. "We got a lot of dog treats, a lot of canned dog food and a lot of collars," he said.
"A lot of people brought dog food, bones for the dogs to play with and, like, dog treats," added Kaiden.
The overwhelming response was a pleasant surprise for the boys and girls, they said.
"It made us happy," said Diana.
"I kind of felt really happy because everybody cared so much about these dogs and they didn't say, 'That's just a dog, who cares?'" said Rebecca.
Mostly, they noted, they had a sense of pride in the realization that a group of elementary school children could make such a difference.
"Maybe other people in the world will start doing it," said Kaiden.
As a reward for those who participated in the donation drive, students at the school were allowed to bring in their favorite stuffed animal on Friday.
In Mrs. Colick's class, about half of them took advantage of the opportunity, Rebecca estimated.
"Mostly girls," explained Kaiden.
He and Timothy didn't seem bothered by not having brought in a toy from home.
They said they already had their reward.
"Helping dogs," said Kaiden.
"Helping them get food and stuff they needed, like water and dog bones," added Timothy.