Young FOTAS Volunteers Making a Difference at County Animal Shelter

By Bob Gordon, FOTAS Communications Director and Volunteer

On Diana Haltiwanger‘s tenth birthday, she did something unusual to celebrate the big day. She took her birthday money as well as food, leashes, toys and other treats to the Aiken County Animal Shelter and personally delivered the generous donation to FOTAS.

“I just love animals,” Diana said, “and I thought it might help make a difference in their lives.”

Diana’s selfless gesture is just one example of children steadily becoming a force in fulfilling the altruistic goals of FOTAS and the County Shelter.

Although the majority of community members who support the shelter are retirees and other adults, more kids are getting involved in assisting the orphaned dogs and cats at 333 Wire Road. Some children donate their time by participating in FOTAS events like the Dog Ears Reading Program, Dog Day Crafternoons, Woofstock, and other fundraisers. Others get involved through clubs, Scouts, and their schools (prime examples are the South Aiken High School Chapter of the Serteen Club and the Aiken High NJROTC). And some kids just decide to become FOTAS volunteers on their own.

Volunteer Holly Heiens became a volunteer after she did a report on shelter animals for school last year. Ever since learning more about their hardships, the driven 10-year-old has donated her time to animals in need.

“When Holly wants something, she goes after it,” said her mother, Kari, who volunteers with her daughter every Saturday. Kari said that even though there are lots of social events and parties on Saturdays, they work around them so she and her daughter can meet their weekly commitment to the shelter animals.