When it came time for Odyssey Middle School seventh-grade students Aleah Anderson and Grace Duffey to prepare ideas for a project titled, “What Would you Fight for,” they immediately decided to work together on a mission to fight against dog abuse.
The two 13-year-old girls created an action plan for their project and eventually teamed up with Wigglin Home Boxer Rescue, an all-volunteer nonprofit, to organize an event for the Camas community where attendees could speak with Wigglin Home volunteers, donate, take a walk around the park and win raffle prizes.
The fundraising event attracted about 30 people of all ages and their pets, who came together on June 9, at Camas’ Goot Park, to raise a total of $326 for the Wigglin Home Boxer Rescue.
“For me, (the rescue of dogs) just sounds like something worth fighting for,” Anderson said. “And (dog abuse) is a real thing that’s happening in the world.”
Duffy said she was motivated to take this on this project because she’s always loved dogs and how loyal they can be.
DeAnn King, president of the boxer rescue organization, first came in contact with Duffey during a downtown Camas event earlier this year, where the partnership for the fundraiser began to develop.
The organization was created two years ago and has since rescued more than 300 dogs, King said.
Wigglin Homes provides mandatory spaying/neutering of rescued animals, education on boxer personality and care, overpopulation in shelters and the dangers of backyard breeding.
Markayla King, a Wigglin Homes volunteer and DeeAnn King’s daughter, spends time screening adoptive applicants, doing home visits and writing detailed profiles for dogs available for adoption.
The Wigglin Home Boxer Rescue is made up of boxer owners and lovers in Washington, Oregon, and parts of Idaho and Montana. The group works to re-home boxers that are neglected, homeless, owner-surrendered due to illness, death or, sometimes, because an active military family is unable to keep their dog.
The fundraiser was well thought-out and organized, DeeAnn King said, adding she was impressed by the work of the two seventh graders.
Odyssey Middle School teachers Tiffany Morrisey and Lisa Wilderman attended the fundraiser.
The teachers said they are impressed by the students and their ability to take their “pie in the sky” project idea and carry it out step by step.
“They just kept taking feedback, pivoting away from challenges and just kept going and going,” Morrisey said.
The students handed out flyers they made at Camas events, such as the Dog Days of Summer themed First Friday and CamTown, to get the community interested, Wilderman said.
“They didn’t sit back and wait for the world to come to them, they went out and said this is what we believe in and this is what we want to fight for — and they did it,” Morrisey said.
A big aspect of this project was that students were able to get out into the community and make a difference, whether big or small, Wilderman said.
“This is definitely one of the bigger ones,” Wilderman added. “We really wanted them to take action, not just talk about what they would do, but get out and take action, and clearly they have. We’re just super proud of them.”
The teachers said Anderson and Duffey kept their excitement about their project up every day, and were enthusiastic as each element of their project came together.
“Their energy is contagious,” Morrisey said. “The other kids are excited about what they’re doing and the other teachers are excited. It’s just a really positive, happy environment to be a part of.”
Anderson and Duffey are now working on the final piece of their project — a documentary video about their event.
For information on adoption, fostering or volunteer opportunities, visit wigglinhomeboxerrescue.org.