By Elizabeth Varville, Correspondent
Dog lovers of all ages gathered at Belton’s Yettie Polk Park on April 23 to raise funds for the Association for a Pet Adoption Center (APAC) by attending the Paws for Love Fest. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., attendees of the fest were entertained with games to include Balloon Darts, Boat Races, and Toilet Paper Football. Sounds of music playing and dogs barking could be heard in areas surrounding the park. The smell of cooked hamburgers and hot dogs beckoned residents of nearby neighborhoods to come experience in all the fun. Supporters of the fest were thanked appropriately for their donation with a warm, fuzzy, slobber-drenched kiss at the kissing booth from the ones that were the most appreciative, the dogs.
Seniors Cheyenne Drake and Madison Madden of Belton’s New Tech High @ Waskow organized the event by donating approximately 200 volunteer hours over four months.
“Our school gives students the option to organize a community service project solely created by one or two people. We gather volunteers, build the booths, and we do everything required to complete the event. We do not actually receive grades but what are called ‘extra measures’ which include being put on the Disguised Plan for graduation. We promoted it with posters, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Family members supplied the money to make 300 flyers. We (Madison Madden) are both huge dog lovers and I adopted a dog through APAC so the organization is close to my heart. I thought it would be best to help them since they help with the community,” said Drake. “We are required to present the finished project to the Belton Community.”
According to myhappytail.org, APAC is a nonprofit group of concerned volunteers who are working toward a time when homeless, unwanted animals are no longer being destroyed in our shelters, and when every dog and cat can be guaranteed a good life in a caring environment. All adoption fees and donations go to caring for the animals in the foster program by paying for vaccinations, heartworm tests, and any other medical care needed.
“My role is to be their mentor through the process. I think the girls did a great job. They worked very hard on this project and put in much of their hours on the weekends. I answered all the questions that they had; we met once a week to brainstorm on what they were actually going to be doing. We discussed issues to include a one-time entrance fee to whether each event would be paid for separately. Cheyenne suggested a just donate what you can concept, as well. We do have dogs here that are available for adoption. The foster parents will be attending with their dogs as well. There are so many dogs that are put to sleep just in Bell County that it is so important to adopt from the shelters. Adopting a dog is a lifetime commitment and not for everybody. We foster over 250 animals a year from all surrounding shelters,” said APAC Fundraising Chair Laverna McWhorter.
According to bisd.net, Belton New Tech is a public high school that focuses on engaging students through the use of Project-Based Learning. The school’s goal is to graduate students who are confident, knowledgeable, and responsible collaborators who are ready for whatever path they choose. Whether they go to college, start their own business, or enter the workforce directly after high school, they will do so with a strong set of skills to help them be successful. Students at Belton New Tech are expected to take bold academic and social risks while learning the same core content taught at any other school in the state of Texas.