If a student wants to help shelter dogs, what's she to do? She sets up a shop in her school and sells merchandise to raise funds

DAVID F. ASHTON - Ready to open their store on June 14, to raise money for a no-kill dog shelter for the last time this school year, were St. Agatha Catholic School fourth grade students, from left, Justine Pashley, Josie Maitland, and Genevieve Westerback. For more than ten years, St. Agatha Catholic School first grade teacher Brandi Harris has helped to support the "no-kill" Family Dogs New Life Shelter, located off S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard.

"Two of our students heard about it earlier this year, and started bringing me their 'tooth fairy' money, their chore money, their birthday money – and wanting to raise even more funds for the shelter; so I suggested a small 'school store'," Harris said.

The fourth-grade students created a simple business plan, pitched the idea to the school's principal, and opened their store in March.

Just before opening for business for the last time this school year on Wednesday, June 14, the students talked with THE BEE about their charitable enterprise.

"We started our student store to raise money for the no-kill dog shelter," confirmed co-manager Justine Pashley. "We want to help them, because dogs go to the shelter if they need a new or a better home, and people can adopt dogs; the shelter helps them, instead of killing them.

"In our store we sell pencils, sharpeners, snacks, and school trinkets; you know, we have stuff that our students like!" added Pashley.

Co-manager Josie Maitland explained they call their store the 'Storm Store', named after the school's mascot, 'Storm'.

It's worth the effort, Maitland said, because "we wanted to help them; they don't get funding from government agencies or other organizations, making it hard for them to operate the shelter. Ms. Harris, our first grade teacher, helped us make the store; we couldn't have done this without her help."

Joining the effort was Genevieve Westerback, who remarked, "I was new to the school just this year, and it was so great to come to a new school and find something so helpful and interesting like this. I thought this would be a fun thing to do, so I asked if I could help, and they agreed – so I started doing it every week with them."

Before the little store closed for the summer, the girls had already raised a total of $605, close to their goal of $700 – a noteworthy feat for a trio of remarkable young ladies.

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