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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of November 6 - 12, 2002


Volunteers help 
make a difference

Getting message out one dog at a time

"It’s nothing but positive. The kids enjoyed the day and it was our first time connecting with other groups."

— TERRY TISCHER, Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley board member

Express Staff Writer

The 12th Annual "Make a Difference Day," held in October around the nation, had a presence in Ketchum recently. A coalition of the Education Committee of the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, the Blaine County Teen Advisory Council and the Environmental Resource Center made a difference focusing on "helping others and the animals we live with," Terry Tischer said.

During the Make A Difference Day program in Ketchum recently, Tim Garza, 17 of Bellevue and Andrew Stark, 17, of Elkhorn, teen volunteers dressed in dog costumes, and Dana Christensen, 14, of Hailey pet Mabel a Wood River Animal Shelter pooch available for adoption. Express photo by David N. Seelig

Tischer, Jennifer Younger and Mary Gervase, who joined the board of the shelter this fall, have started the Education Committee of the Animal Shelter. Gervase is the assistant superintendent of the Blaine County School District.

"We thought we can make a difference by educating the youth. We wanted to connect with the kids. Then Mary Gervase met with the Teen Advisory Committee and they suggested we do something for ‘Make a Difference a Day,’" Tischer said.

After the TAC toured the shelter, the valley’s AmeriCorps Volunteers also joined the project. These volunteers are required to do a project each year for "Make a Difference Day."

Two of the AmeriCorps volunteers, Janelle Grider and Joe Brown, are with St. Luke’s Center for Community Health. Tanya Knight is with Head Start. Vanessa Crossgrove, who is with the Environmental Resource Center, registered the event as an official "Make A Difference Day" program. Everyone who participates in this day is eligible for an award and the opportunity to specify a charitable cause that will receive a $10,000 donation. Sponsored by USA Weekend magazine and in partnership with the Points of Light Foundation, "Make A Difference Day" supporter Paul Newman donates 100 percent of the after-tax income from Newman's Own products to educational and charitable causes.

"Our environmental angle was the problem with people not picking up dog waste," Crossgrove said. "There are lots of bacteria and parasites, which can cause health issues. And it can seep into the ground water, which is our drinking water."

They suggested that people always take some kind of bag with them on hikes and walks to collect and remove dog waste. The ERC handed out biodegradable dog bags and brochures on pet waste disposal.

The event took place on the grassy knoll next to Irving’s Red-Hots in Ketchum. Hurley Hamilton, owner of Thunderpaws Express, donated prizes as did Atkinsons’ Market, Bigwood Bread, Jane’s Paper Place and Williams Market.

"I loved that we were working with other non-profits, instead of with our blinders on," Tischer said. "And we got the teens involved. The idea to work together is part of our outreach program from the newly formed Education Committee of the Animal Shelter. We want to become more visible in the community, to cross-over and join with other non-profits in a community effort."

This was the committee’s second public endeavor, she said. The first was this past summer at the Sun Valley Center Arts & Crafts Festival. "Our goal is to stress that dogs should be spayed and neutered, and that adopting a pet is adding a family member and not a toy for the moment."

Tischer added, "The U.S. Humane Society said, only eight out of every 100 dogs will stay in a single home for their entire lives."

Several shelter dogs available to adopt were walked by teens, some of whom were dressed in dog outfits. Among the other activities were face painting, the hands-on art project "Make-a-Mutt," informational tables on the ERC and the Animal Shelter, training information, free dog registration and volunteer information.

Crossgrove, who helped coordinate the event, said," It was definitely a collaborative event."

Hamilton agreed. "It was a really good thing to have a cross awareness between various groups. It’s fun to do those things. And you’re helping when you do it."

Thunderpaws also hosted "Santa Paws" last weekend. Professional Christmas card photos of pets were sold to support the Animal Shelter.

"It’s nothing but positive. The kids enjoyed the day and it was our first time connecting with other groups," Tischer said.



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