Kids For Cats
We’d like to introduce you to a new feature section that we will bring to you occasionally. We’re proud to report that the compassion and drive to save the big cats is alive and well and really vibrant in the hearts and minds of our younger generation.
Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School
Philanthropy Project Benefits Big Cat Rescue
The Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School of Palo Alto, California has an inspiring program and some amazing students. Seventh graders presented $57,000 to 46 charities at their annual Avodah L’Olam (work for the world) ceremony. Students raised funds through a variety of activities and then voted to determine the final allocation to the various organizations.
Big Cat Rescue was truly fortunate to be chosen by Ms. Parker Levinson for this project. Through this year-long curriculum, Parker utilized interviewing, researching and critical thinking skills; analyzed financial statements, and communicated her findings through persuasive essay writing and presentations. Parker and her mom visited us on a whirlwind overnight trip from California as part of her research. Parker’s extensive efforts resulted in a gift of $1,116.46 to Big Cat Rescue and raised awareness of our sanctuary and our cause in her community. The allocations were announced at the Celebration of Tzedakah (Hebrew for performing acts of justice) on May 29th, 2008
In addition to her school project, this remarkable 13 year old asked friends and family to donate to Big Cat Rescue in lieu of personal gifts for her Bat Mitzvah. She and her mom again made the trip to Florida for Parker to attend Camp Big Cat 2008 for the week of June 23-26, as she is seen here delivering her school donation in person.
Thank you to Parker Levinson and family, and the Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School for this impressive gift to benefit Big Cat Rescue. We have been fortunate to receive not only a monetary gift, but the gift of a friendship with Parker and her community.
Friends for Florida Favors Big Cat Rescue
On June 7, 2008 the Ed Department enjoyed hosting a visit from the Friends for Florida. Emily, Nick, Jordan, Jeremy & Cameron requested a tour to see our cats, and present a donation. Todd Mark, the group advisor said that this group started when his son was asking important questions about the wrongs he would see around him and what he could do to help. So with Todd’s help Jordan gathered a group of friends and started doing fundraising while researching worthy recipients locally. These young people are learning firsthand how they can make a difference.
On the tour these kids had a lot of questions that reflected a high level of knowledge about wildlife and an exceptional understanding of many of the issues at hand. After the tour they presented us with a $200.00 donation, thank you very much!
Mr. Mark later reported that “The Friends for Florida members mentioned it as one of their favorite places to visit for this past school year.” The feeling was certainly mutual as it was truly our pleasure to have the Friends for Florida visit with us, and choose us a beneficiary of their efforts.
Kids have just been going wild for the cats!
We reached more than 700 students through the Great American Teach In and hosted guests from the Hope Children’s Home of Tampa, sponsored by the Tampa AFCEA. See the slideshow and find out more here: https://bigcatrescue.org/000News/0articlesbybcr/HopeChildrensHome.htm
Lindsay McCann is one of America’s younger philanthropists. When she turned eleven recently she asked that her friends donated to a Casper Project with her rather than give her gifts. Lindsay has been a sponsor of our cats before, but this time raised $200 so that the Sand Cats could have real sand in their cat-a-tats. The Sand Cats are reclusive little cats that you almost never see out during the day, but they love their new sand so much, they just can’t stay out of it. Says Lindsay of her gift, “I want them to live long, happy lives at Big Cat Rescue.”
Cash For Cats at Frost Elementary was the brain child of one of our donors, Betty Schino. Betty and her husband Carl had donated to Big Cat Rescue on several occasions and most recently to help rescue Joseph’s Pride and the 4 tigers from Savage Kingdom. Betty knows that there is no feeling on earth better than giving from your heart and even though most of her students have very little in the way of possessions, she helped them learn that there is no richer feeling than sharing what you have. The children collected spare change for the cats and will be collecting empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls for the cats’ enrichment program.
Corey Ciota’s Big Cat Rescue Project
In June, 2007 Corey Ciota, an 8 year old wildlife enthusiast from Trivoli, IL, presented an idea to the Hanna City-Farmington Area Kiwanis Club, of which his parents are members, to help raise funds for Big Cat Rescue. The Kiwanis Club serves children and communities and was eager to help support this youth project and encouraged Corey to take his idea to the next level and ask others for donations, as well. Corey proceeded to request donations from the Hanna City Fireman’s Corporation (a volunteer dept. his dad serves on) and with the help of his mom they created a pamphlet about us and incorporated a wish list found on our web site. He was again successful in receiving a contribution and continued his efforts by telling family and friends.
In all, Corey was able to donate $225.00 in monetary contributions and provided the Sanctuary with the following items purchased from the Kiwanis Club’s donation: shovel, rake, storage container, 25 ft. anti-kink hose, spray nozzle set, AA batteries, spices and some used perfumes. Corey’s family also purchased a “Wildlife Protector Membership” from which 100% of the proceeds go directly to the animals.
The best part was being able to present the contributions in person while visiting his grandparents in the Tampa area. Corey, along with his sister, Mallorey; his parents, Amy and Joe; and his grandparents, Bill and Anita arrived at the Sanctuary on Saturday, July 21st for the Kids’ Tour. The staff made sure Corey’s efforts were recognized by presenting him with a t-shirt and certificate of appreciation prior to the tour. Corey’s grandma was inspired by his volunteerism and will be placing an article in their local community paper, hopefully causing a ripple effect to continue support of Big Cat Rescue. When asked about his day, Corey had this to say:
“The tour and everything was awesome and I was proud of how much money was earned to care for the big cats.” We thank Corey and his family for their big-hearted efforts. They are very appreciated. Keep up the passion and concern for all.
Here is a photo of a supporter’s daughter, Rowan, raising money for the cats offering refreshments and big cat coloring sheets. She tells us, “We are going to go out a couple of more times, then bring the money up to you in Tampa. It is for her “I Care” project at school and she is very excited about doing this!” Karen L. (mother) We thank you Rowan for your “big cat” heart!
On January 22nd our education directors had the pleasure of teaching 37 first graders and 7 adults about the amazing cats that reside at our sanctuary. In addition to the free tour, the sanctuary paid for the children’s bus transportation with grant money. The children were wonderful and really appreciated the experience. The best compliment we can imagine was given by one of the teachers. She said “this field trip was better than other local venues because we provide a guide for the tour who actually educates the visitors.” We appreciate the kind words.
This is yet another example of the eager zeal found in the youngest of supporters. It’s a thank you sent from a Berkeley Prep third grader who toured with us on 1-12-07. Read it HERE
Max Jenkins: Julie Jenkins and her husband, Dan, have 2 sons, Max and Sam, who they have raised to be extremely philanthropic from an early age. From the time they were little, they have sent out birthday party invitations to all their classmates that include an appeal for donations and support for an organization of their choice in lieu of gifts. They don’t feel the children need all those gifts, but prefer that they learn to give instead. So far, this parenting theory hasn’t backfired. The boys still look forward to their birthday every year and they excitedly look into causes that they want to support. Last year was big brother Sam’s birthday. He chose to support the Red Cross Hurricane Katrina victims with the $400 in birthday donations he received. This year, Max turned 8 and he sent out his invitations along with a blurb about Big Cat Rescue that he pulled from our website. He was happy to be able to hand deliver $350 in donations to us. He was extra excited to get to spend an hour and a half with his family touring the sanctuary and meeting all the cats up close and personal. You can tell by the giant smile on his face what a great time he had and how it’s a day he’ll always remember. Julie, his mom, mentioned a cute comment that Max mentioned to his brother. He said how neat it was that his brother Sam “covered” people and Max “covered” animals (in donations), kind of like they were covering all the bases. We sure feel covered, and are big fans of both boys, and thank Max especially for his heart-felt giving!
The Earth Force Club of Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg is advised by Mr. Michael Andrusis . His students are dedicated to helping preserve the natural surroundings we all enjoy. Since his class attended a field trip here in October they decided we would be a good choice for their donation. The students raised funds by each raising twenty dollars to purchase a concrete block for a “Memory Lane” walking path. They would then paint their favorite memory of the school year with the school colors on their block. This is Mr. Andrusis and class as they set the first stepping stone in the fundraiser for Big Cat Rescue. His Lower Division students raised $732.53 for the cats. Mr. Denny Mitchell attended their assembly to accept the donation.
Independent Day School of Tampa has a tradition of donating to Big Cat Rescue for several years now. They chose BCR because their class is called the “Cool Cats”. Many classes at IDS choose a charity to be involved with as a way to give back to the community. After they heard about our organization, it was a natural fit!
The students started by learning all about big cats. They then began a business called the “Cool Cats Safari Store”. The children took out a loan from the school to buy supplies for the store. Next, they advertised by performing commercials and making posters for other classes. Finally they staffed the store as sales clerks and cashiers. They accounted for their revenue, paid back their loan and realized a terrific profit! It’s a real life learning experience that the students love. This year ten percent of the profits were donated to the Hurricane Relief Fund. Big Cat Rescue received a donation of $1125.78, plus some smaller change given to the Cougar Cubs Donation bucket! Wow, those Cool Cats are really cool!
We have two supporters we’d like you to know about. They’ve inspired us by their generous spirits.
Dana Clements, a 3rd grade teacher at Westchase Elementary created a fundraiser with her class and Mrs. West’s AGP classes participated. They sold freezer pops. They made over $400.00. The students each made a poster to be displayed around the school. A group of students were responsible for one color freeze pop. They had to tally each pop sold to determine the most popular color sold. Blue one! Way to go kids and thank you teachers!
Sara, a student at Berkeley Preparatory School decided that in lieu of birthday presents, she would collect donations for Big Cat Rescue. She visited our sanctuary with her class and loved it. She told us “I wanted to try and help the big cats who were abused or mistreated.” She spread the word by putting her desire on her invitations to take donations instead of gifts. She raised $500. Her supportive dad also contributed ($250) to help her raise the total $775 total. Thank you for your generous gift. Good job Sara! The cats thank you.
L to R Makenzie Kent, Sara Varsames, Makayla Kent, and Grace Varsames.