First Animal Rescue Club at Leesville

All of the officers pictured had their own personal motives for creating this awesome new club. From left to right (top row) Kyelar Lemons, Jordan Blankenship, Janie Chamberlin, Sarah Lasson, (second row) Jill Pretsch, and Emma Watson. Not pictured: Mackenna Brunick. (Photo courtesy by Chelsea Dinkenor)

Paws for Pride was introduced to Leesville during the 2017-2018 school year. Currently the club has over two hundred members signed up to join, generating a lot of discussion about the great idea behind it.

Paws for Pride embodies what it means to give back to the animals who have given us so much. This club promotes awareness for everyone about the hardships animals go through regularly.

Each of the seven girls that came together and began this club had their own separate motives behind beginning this club, each unique to who they are and what their story is.

“I had a dog who we ended up having to put down, and it was a really sad experience. Since my dog was a rescue, it got me thinking how I could help other people whose lives have been affected by a rescue animal, like I was,” said Sarah Lasson, sophomore at Leesville and president of Paws for Pride.

Before the Paws for Pride club took off, the founders realized there were no clubs at Leesville that had to do with helping animals– which was among one of the many reasons they got together to begin this new organization.

There are teacher-made clubs at Leesville, such as Key Club, SNAC Club, NHS, SNHS, and many more; however, if students have an idea of a club they would like to start at school, it doesn’t just happen. There are many measures one must go through to begin a new club.

Anyone who aspires to start a club has to start with a curiosity. From there, the first requirement to start the club is twenty signatures from people who are interested in your idea. However, when the founders put the idea out to here, over 200 people signed off agreeing to be a member of the club.

“We had a few setbacks early on when we tried to start the club at the end of freshman year. Over the summer, we had to get it approved by several teachers and we switched our sponsor teacher, who is someone to have meetings in their room, and help out with money, which was stressful, but we eventually got through,” said Lasson.

Despite many setbacks, “[i]t all worked out in the end and that’s all we could hope for and can’t wait to see how the club takes off from here,” said Jill Pretsch, a sophomore and secretary.

“You can’t just start a club on a whim, that’s not how it works. You have to be really committed to the idea and can’t give up easily,” said Janie Chamberlin, sophomore, co-vise president.

Every club needs a plan, a set of future goals that the club will meet and accomplish throughout the year, to get people interested, and keep members in the club for years to come. Paws for Pride is no exception

“We had a tennis ball drive where anyone can bring lightly used or new tennis balls that we will take to a shelter, and from there they will be given to the dogs in the shelters,” said Emma Watson, sophomore, event planner.

The event planners for Paws for Pride have several exciting events they hope to pull off this year. “To bring awareness and attention to this problem we are going to have a lot of speakers and all the guests that are coming in to help and donate their time, to thoroughly explain and contradict what people assume about this problem for animals,” said Lasson.

“There’s only so much we can do through a school club, so we hope to raise awareness for different organizations and animals that need as much help as they can get,” said Pretsch.

Some plans the club has in store for their members include taking the club to a shelter to clean up, help walk the dogs, and donate everything such as tennis balls and dog beds all at once.

“We would love to have an event where people can bring their dogs and do some sort of walk for a cause, and any donations of course would go to the animals, or some sort of fundraiser where people can all bring their dogs,” said Lasson.

“Doing anything of that sort is definitely difficult to organize, especially through the school with so many safety precautions and rules,” said Watson.

Getting involved with your community creates a long lasting experience that can be taken away from your highschool experience. Whether something you are passionate about, want to get better at, want to bring awareness to, there is always a way to get involved at Leesville.

“Who doesn’t love animals, and who doesn’t love giving back to the animals that give us so much? This club really does a good job of intertwining the two into a fun and beneficial thing for people at our school to become a part of,” said Kyelar Lemons, sophomore and secretary.

The interest meeting was last Tuesday, September 26, but you can still sign up . The next meeting date isn’t determined yet, however it will most likely be closer to the end of the month of October.


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