Local dog rescue benefits from 10-year-old’s love of animals
By Judy Reed
It’s amazing what someone can do with $2 in seed money. Just ask Lisa Falcinelli, a fourth-grade teacher at Cedar View.
In conjunction with Martin Luther King Day, Falcinelli gave the 28 children in her class $2 in seed money and challenged them to find something they were passionate about and make a difference, the way King did.
Falcinelli said the children thought both globally and locally. One child collected gently used teddy bears and sent them to children in Haiti, and used the $2 for postage. Another collected supplies for people in the military going overseas. Another shoveled driveways to raise money for a friend in need.
“It was amazing to see the things they did,” remarked Falcinelli, “especially McKenzie. The magnitude of what she was able to do with $2 was incredible.”
That student is McKenzie Noga, 10, daughter of Tim and Angie Noga of Cedar Springs. Being an animal lover, she knew she wanted to do something with animals. “We started asking around, and put it out there on Facebook,” explained Tim. “And someone suggested Bellowood. It turns out they are right down the road from us.”
Bellowood, owned by Kim Schreuder, is an organization dedicated to bettering the lives of abandoned, abused, and unwanted dogs from all over the country, with a focus on dogs in our own community. They provide medical care, training, evaluations, and rehabilitation to our canine friends who have suffered and been left homeless.
Knowing this would be a good organization to help, McKenzie began getting donations of food and other pet supplies from people and businesses around the area. And on Sunday, February 6, she and her parents and her teacher delivered $75 worth of supplies to Bellowood.
“It was amazing,” said Schreuder, who was touched by McKenzie’s thoughtfulness, and her initiative. “I’m so tickled by this experience!”
McKenzie was excited, too. “I got to help worm some of the puppies,” she explained. She also hopes to go back to help out.
At the end of the visit, McKenzie gave Schreuder an envelope with the original $2 in it and asked her to pay it forward.
“Bellowood plans to pay it forward in the same way by collecting things for—what better? A cat rescue!” remarked Schreuder. She said they chose Reuben’s Room in Grand Rapids as the one that is most in need.
McKenzie had a word of advice for those who might want to try paying it forward. “Try it once. You can make a difference in the world,” she said.