Carmel Valley students raise funds for Helen Woodward Animal Center


By Karen Billing

Staff Writer

Through selling baked goods and creating their own read-a-thon fundraiser, 11-year-olds Gaby Harrison and Caitlin Campbell were able to raise $322 for the Helen Woodward Animal Center this summer.

“It felt really good to think ‘I just helped an animal center,’” said Gaby. “I thought, ‘I can do quite a bit if I can do this.’”

“I feel proud and good inside to help animals that needed it — it probably helped them find good homes or get better toys, softer beds or good food,” said Caitlin.

In addition to their cash donations, they also donated blankets for the animals.

The Sage Canyon sixth-graders were inspired after Gaby attended a “Believe In She” camp where she learned about being a leader and helping others.

“I really love animals so I wanted to help the Helen Woodward Animal Center,” Gaby said.

When Gaby discovered she had to be 14 to volunteer at the center, she started thinking of another way she could help, recruiting her friend Caitlin.

“I come over to play a lot, I live just down the street, so we talked about it and decided what we wanted to do,” Caitlin said.

“We wanted to do too many things, according to our parents,” Gaby said of their ideas for selling baked goods door to door, the read-a-thon and maybe walking dogs.

Dad Philip Harrison admits that the parents were skeptical and a bit discouraging. They were unsure about the girls going door to door and worried that their goals were maybe too high.

“I was very impressed,” said Harrison. “They just ignored us and plowed forward.”

Caitlin, a good little baker, had some tasty recipes for blueberry muffins, chocolate chip cookies and “really gooey” marshmallow and butterscotch brownies. They whipped them up and sold them at a Harrison house garage sale in addition to going door to door.

“Most people knew us and they said ‘Oh that’s so cool,’” Gaby said of their door-to-door salesman career.

People were generous, while the treats were only 10-25 cents, some dropped in $5 and only took one cookie.

For three weeks they also got busy reading — the read-a-thon had people pledge money for every 100 pages read or a book about animals.

Each girl was awarded leaves on the Helen Woodward’s donor tree, which they can use to honor family pets. After their first successful fundraiser, the pair are already thinking about what they can do next summer.