Kids Lead the Way in Easthampton Fundraiser

(Several members of the Animal Rescue Team)

Two years ago, Kira, an Easthampton mother of two, started a conversation over dinner by asking her sons Mason and Brennan about people or groups who needed help in their community. She and the boys started some online research to learn more, and the kids invited their neighborhood friends to join in an organized effort to collect funds. Before long, the children decided that the proceeds would be directed to Dakin.

Kira and her neighbor Maegan became facilitators. “It was around the first week of December in 2021,” recalled Maegan. “The goal was to collect all funds by the end of the month, and we did it in three weeks.” More than $3,000 was raised for Dakin at that time, and two years later, the kids are back at work, engaging their community to offer donations to Dakin as well as purchase items like baked goods and homemade greeting cards the children have created to generate funds for Dakin. Their new goal is to raise $7,000.

The Animal Rescue Team (ART), as they named themselves, consists of about 10 neighborhood children, some of whom were part of the original team two years earlier. Most of them are now in fifth grade, and some are working alongside older siblings.

The ART has the support of school principals and several Easthampton businesses that are participating in the fundraising, and allowing the ART to display and sell their homemade goods at their locations. ART also has a website to facilitate online donations.

Their current drive will culminate with the Winter Fest on February 10 at Easthampton’s City Hall, where they will have a booth featuring goods for sale to benefit Dakin. Kira noted that the Winter Fest organizers have also been supportive of the kids’ endeavors.

Before then, there will be other Dakin fundraising efforts taking place in Easthampton, each created by the kids. “It’s really cool to see them brainstorming,” said Maegan. “If there are eight different kids with eight different ideas, they learn to work it out. They learn how to spitball ideas with a big group, then come to a consensus.”

Kira added, “The thing I enjoy most is seeing them realize that they have the power to do something for other people. When we dropped off the items from 2021 at Dakin, they could see what they did for the animals. It was amazing how good they felt, and how proud they were of themselves.”

Among the ART members are Eva and Evan, Maegan’s children. “I like being involved,” said Eva. “It’s for a really good cause, helping animals at Dakin. I have two cats and a dog, plus three chickens, and a fish!” Evan added, “I think it’s fun. I really like animals. They’re fun to be around, and they’re supportive all the time.”

Kira and Maegan still advise and assist the children, along with other parents, as the pair are strong believers in teaching kids about the importance of service in their community. Maegan stated, “We want to help kids understand that there are problems in the world that are big and overwhelming, but you can do something about it. Having that knowledge going forward is what it’s all about.” Kira agreed, adding “I want to give my kids a chance to create value for themselves in and around service to others.”

Helping local children become difference-makers has been rewarding for both women. “Because they’re kids,” stated Maegan, “they’re not skeptical at this point in their lives. They have the energy and the passion to see things through.”

And all of us at Dakin thank them very much for that dedication!

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