When Jayme Robinson and Zoe Pickard, sixth-graders at Kitty Hawk Middle School, raised more than $200 through a lemonade stand on Pickard's front lawn, they knew exactly what they would do with it.
They didn't buy a Wii, a new I-Pod or blow it on new clothes for school. Instead, they donated all the funds to the Live Oak Animal Control facility … and they're not done yet.
“We love helping animals,” Robinson said. Pickard agreed, adding, “It's fun to help out. At first, we were just asking for donations.”
“Then one of our friends said, why not sell lemonade too?” Robinson finished.
Robinson, who has two cats, and Pickard, who has three dogs and two cats, are self-professed animal lovers. Pickard wants to attend New York University and study to be a veterinarian, while Robinson hopes to peruse the same goal at a local university.
“It's a family thing,” said Jodi Behrens, of her daughter, Pickard. “We've always taken in rescue animals and tried to find homes for them. I got that from my mom. I remember one time, (our third dog) was hanging around the driveway and Zoe begged me to let her in, and I wouldn't. When I went out the next morning, they were sleeping on the driveway with the dog. I gave her some food and that was it.”
However, while most kids would be plastering their accomplishments all over the Internet, Robinson and Pickard are focusing on plans to hold another lemonade stand fundraiser.
“I was totally surprised (by their initiative),” said Behrens. “Normally, I think kids need to be urged to do things. I came home one night and saw the table on the lawn. They said, ‘We're raising money for the animal shelter.'
“I'm inspired by it. I think they can both do whatever they set out to do in life. And they'll have a compassion most kids their age don't have,” Pickard's mother said.
Patrick Russell, animal control supervisor, said he has never seen children as generous as the two sixth-graders.
“It's a blessing, especially during a tough economic time like this. Every donation helps,” Russell said. “It's so refreshing to know there are still kids out there with an attitude so giving.”
For Pickard's next birthday party, she plans to ask for donations for the animal control facility rather than gifts. When her mother reminded her that donations meant she wouldn't get any clothes or games, she grinned.
“That's what Christmas is for,” Pickard replied.