April 6, 2022

“Stepping Up To Serve” – Brandon High School ‘Paws For a Cause’ Club Advocates for Animal Population

Nicole McCardle

Senior members of Paws for A Cause

“STEPPING UP TO SERVE”: IS A MISSISIPPI-BASED INITIATIVE TO SHOWCASE PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY WHO ARE GOING THE EXTRA MILE TO GIVE BACK. THIS SEGMENT IS MADE POSSIBLE BY:

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“Stepping Up To Serve” – Brandon High School ‘Paws For a Cause’ Club Advocates for Animal Population

(Video can be found at end of this article.)

The administration at Brandon High School works hard to make sure that there are ample opportunities for any student that walks through the BHS halls.

There are courses available for law and public safety, manufacturing, agriculture, child development, and more; and if a there is not a class that matches a special interest, there’s definitely a club that does.

BHS Paws for A Cause is a club where students who are passionate about the health, protection, and overall wellness of the animal population can come together to make a difference.

Club sponsor and BHS teacher, Ms. Jennifer O’Neal, works alongside the students to help spark the change.

“BHS Paws for A Cause is a need in the community, in our state, in our world, to bring awareness for pets,” says Ms. O’Neal. “Not only for medical purposes, for health benefits – but also for love, companionship, and to adopt instead of shop.”

Students purchase animal products after raising over $1,000 for Rankin County Animal Shelter

The main goal of Paws for A Cause is to educate people on the basic needs of animals in our community in order to better the health and protection of the pet population. They promote the wellness of animals in shelters and vet offices through collecting donations,  encouraging adoptions, and hosting events.

Some of their efforts include: aiding in Hurricane Ida relief efforts for animal shelters in Houma, LA; hosting the 1st Annual ‘Treat and Tail Wags’ event where they raised over $1,000 in supplies for The Rankin County Animal Shelter; participating in a blanket drive for CARA and The “Wiggle Waggle” 5K for MARL; and are in partnership with CARA’s Dog Days of Summer on Saturday, April 30 (see flyer below).

The Senior members of the club were noted as the ones who have taken the initiative to make the club successful.

We spoke with Olivia Sharpe, Maddie Penick, and Bre Myrick – all Seniors – about the why this club is important to them, the public, and the animals.

CARA Dog Days of Summer Poster

Sharpe credits the community for their participation in the club’s success: “Different members of the community, different animal shelters, everybody just kind of reached in and was able to help us in any way we needed to. Whether it be treats, donations, anything like that – everyone was more than welcome to help us,” she says.

Ms. O’Neal says that the students are the ones who deserve the credit: “This group of eclectic, beautiful, smart children, who have a heart at big as this room, who want to give back mean the world – they are the ones who facilitate.”

While he club is only a year old, the students have used the year to build up a firm foundation for the club.

As with any endeavor, there were challenges and speedbumps – but the students know that the cause is worth the effort.

“I love just being there with the animals, making a connection,” says Myrick. “Because animals are angels. They can help anybody. I just feel like…. animals, we need them in our lives.”

Paws for A Cause has a Facebook Page and an Instagram where people can follow along with events, fundraisers, and donation opportunities.

CARA’s 13th Annual Dog Days of Summer event will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at Pelahatchie Shore Park by The Reservoir.

Admission will cost you a donation of dry and/or canned dog food. (See the above flyer for more details.) 

VIDEO: Paws for A Cause – Brandon High School

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