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Program aids humane society
Mentoring pic 2
Seventh grade students and mentoring program participants at Dawson County Middle School help load items collected through their community service project to take to the humane society. From left, Kaitlin Clark, Destiny Fichner, Alexis Morgan and Ashley Rawlings. - photo by Photo/Submitted

“My SUV was stacked to the roof,” said Jane Graves of the items that were donated during a community service project last week.


Graves volunteers as a mentor to middle school students in the Dawson County Mentoring Program.


From Feb. 16-25, middle school students in the mentoring program that represent both middle schools in the county, held a community service project within each school collecting items to be donated to the Dawson County Humane Society.


“We received two truckloads of items,” said Kay Harris, director of the Dawson County Humane Society.


Daniel Bettis, sixth grade student at Riverview Middle School, said he believes the humane society project was very important to the community.


“Not only does it benefit the needy animals, it also benefits the youth of Dawson County,” Bettis said. “This project taught students to be generous with their time and money so that we can all be happy together.”


During the nine-day duration of the project, each homeroom in each school collected items such as dry cat and dog food, grooming supplies, cedar bedding, chew sticks, newspaper, litter, leashes and many other things that the humane society uses on a daily basis.


“It was a wonderful thing for the kids to pitch in and collect those items for us. They did a great job,” Harris added.


Harris said the humane society was very appreciative of the donations, and they like involving the kids with caring for the animals and teaching them how to best take care of the animals.

“It’s [the humane society] such an important service in this community,” said Barbara Ress, mentor and co-chair of the event.


“This project was a good way for the kids to get involved in their community and give back,” said Ress.


Bringing in the most items at Dawson County Middle School was Chris Morse’s sixth grade homeroom class. Pat Harris’ sixth grade class was the largest contributing homeroom from Riverview.


Unsure of the exact count of items raised, Graves said that the donations of the two winning classes were the most significant.


“I have been truly blessed with a wonderful, giving homeroom this year,” said Pat Harris of her students. “These students have gone over and beyond with all of the projects that Riverview has taken on this year.”


As a reward for donating the most items for one homeroom, Harris’ and  Morse’s classes will each enjoy a pizza party this Friday.


Students in the mentoring program also participated in a poster contest for the event.


Blair Mills was named the poster winner from Riverview, and Katie Hall, Tiffany McLemore and Morgan Grindle were named the winners at Dawson County Middle School for the poster they made together.


Tabitha Atkinson, seventh grade student at Dawson County Middle School and mentoring program participant, was named the winner of the slogan contest at the beginning of the project. Atkinson devised the slogan, “Dogs Cats and Kids, Everyone Should Be Loved.”


Graves described the project as “a lesson to us all.”


“The students are fantastic and through this project, I know they enjoyed giving back to the community,” said Graves. “This was a great leadership experience for them, and we are all most certainly proud of them.”


E-mail Elizabeth Hamilton at