Recently, Kouts Middle School students took part in a ‘Pass It On’ project in which students reached out to local and national companies and individuals for items to pass along to someone or some organization that needs them. Along with items for relief organizations and U.S. soldiers, many students worked to gather items for one local organization in particular, Lakeshore PAWS.
“So, the task was to simply write their persuasive paper as a letter to someone asking for something to give to someone else,” said Kouts Middle/High School English Teacher, Erin Robbins, in describing the Pass It On project. “We talked and brainstormed a lot about who would want to donate and what kind of stuff would be donated, and to whom. We talked about Lakeshore PAWS and the Porter County Animal Shelter, and then we sent our letters out in the beginning of May.”
Donations have been trickling in since Ms. Robbins had her students send out their letters to companies and organizations via email and paid postage.
“We’ve gotten nine donations,” Robbins said of items ranging from first aid supplies for relief organizations to playing cards for troops overseas. “Our animal related requests turned up a whole lot of treats! The same company owns Kibbles ’n Bits, Milkbone, and 9 Lives so they sent us the coupons for all of the items we were able to redeem. It’s been very cool!”
For Ms. Robbins’ students, there was a real excitement to not only get to meet a puppy but also to help contribute to Lakeshore PAWS, and all that they do to find homes for dogs.
“We decided to do a ‘Pass It On’ where we picked a place or people that we decided needed help,” said Reese Deyoung, a student in Ms. Robbins’ class. “Some picked Lakeshore PAWS so we asked the companies for types of food, toys and items that they could give us. The companies said, ‘Yes,’ and we’re passing them on!”
Cooper Schulte, a 6th grader at Kouts Middle School, requested dog treats in a letter to one national company. “The reason I want to help animals in this project is because I have two dogs,” Schulte said. “They (Lakeshore PAWS) are a helping and caring animal shelter. Helping these animals and Lakeshore PAWS means you help dogs who need to be treated well.”
To thank students for the toys, treats, and dog food that they collected, two Lakeshore PAWS representatives visited Kouts Middle School and brought one of their puppies along with them, which made the students’ day.
“It’s very rewarding to see the puppy react to the kids and the kids react to the puppy,” said Michelle Schaffer from Lakeshore PAWS. “The best part is that these kids go home and they tell their parents about Lakeshore PAWS. Maybe this dog doesn’t get adopted by their parents but others might!”
“Just getting the word out, they’ll say, ‘Lakeshore PAWS came and we’ve been wanting to get a puppy so let’s go see if we can adopt one!’” Schaffer added. “That’s really the best part. This isn’t the end. We’ll see one or two of these kids and their parents in our facility whether it’s weeks, months, or years, they’ll always remember Lakeshore PAWS. We live on donations so it’s huge that the kids thought of us, first of all, and then the companies responded!”
Through a simple persuasive letter rooted in helping an organization or an individual, the Pass It On project showed these middle schoolers how even one person can have an impact, and collectively, they all could really make a difference.
“They’ve really done a great job reaching out beyond themselves,” said Kouts Middle/High School Principal, Tom Stoner. “They’ve done really well and we’re really proud of the kids.”
To find out more about Lakeshore PAWS, go to: www.lakeshorepaws.org!