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Tag Archive | "Pay it forward"

Little people can do BIG things


Connor Schaffer (right) and his brother Spencer are excited about the celebration at Howard Christensen Nature Center.

Student’s donation provides inspiration to Nature Center

On June 28, Connor Schaffer presented a check to the Lily’s Frog Pad Inc. Board of Advisors for $150. Although this donation may not be the biggest received by the new non-profit that is now managing the Howard Christensen Nature Center, its significance is huge. Connor is 10 years old!
His mother, Jennifer Schaffer, is proud of her son. “It is important for kids to know that they can make a difference; it doesn’t have to always be the grown-ups,” she said. The Lily’s Frog Pad Inc. Board members agreed whole-heartedly and celebrated Connor’s inspirational efforts with a framed certificate of appreciation and a special cake. Connor was also recognized by Fox17 News as their “Pay It Forward” Person of the Week on June 24.

Connor’s involvement with the nature center started when all of the third grade classes at Chandler Woods Charter Academy visited Howard Christensen Nature Center (HCNC) for a field trip in the fall. Connor was very disappointed when he heard that the nature center was closing this past winter due to a funding shortage and he wanted to take action.

Connor made donation boxes and signs and talked to his entire school about the nature center’s plight. The students did extra chores around the house to earn money to donate. Their teacher, Mrs. Lopez, even put out a challenge to match dollar for dollar what the kids turned in for the day! When Connor and his class heard the news that Lily’s Frog Pad was going to re-open and manage HCNC, they were happy to know that the nature center will be around for other kids to come and enjoy.

Day camp programs are scheduled this summer and field trips will resume in the fall. More information about Howard Christensen Nature Center programs can be found at www.lilysfrogpad.com.

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Paying it forward


McKenzie Noga and the supplies she raised for Bellowood dog rescue in the “pay it forward” challenge.

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.

McKenzie Noga and Kim Schreuder of Bellowood Dog Rescue.

“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.

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