Tippecanoe student collects hundreds of donations for Miami County Animal Shelter


TIPP CITY — When her leadership advisor had brought up community service projects, Tippecanoe eighth grader Ava Hanrahan went above and beyond.

“I wanted to help the animal shelter because I know during COVID a bunch of dogs got adopted, but then once work started, they all got returned, and I wanted to help them out,” Ava said.

Jumping off the project with research, Ava then went to her principal, Diane Voress, to present her idea: she would place boxes around Tippecanoe Middle School, and students and staff could put pet food, toys, blankets and other items in the boxes to be donated to the Miami County Animal Shelter. Ava and her mother decorated 24 boxes wrapped in wrapping holiday paper and set them up around the school on Nov. 28.

“My teachers have sent me emails about how proud they are of me, but I’m mainly proud of the staff and students because they were the ones that were able to accomplish this,” Ava said.

Word about the donation process spread from flyers and the morning announcements, and several classes had friendly competitions to see who could donate the most items, with the winning classes getting to pick a Christmas movie to watch before winter break. In total, 707 items were donated to the Miami County Animal Shelter, and the donations were delivered on Dec. 10.

“I feel proud of everybody who pitched in, and proud of myself, as well. I love animals, and I just want to help them, and I’m trying to volunteer this March at a horse place. I want to help as any animals I can,” Ava said.

Ava had also written a letter to Robert Craft, who manages the Miami County Animal Shelter, about her service project and how she could help. Craft said that he responded to it letting her know what items the shelter was in need of, and said he had thought they would get a few things they needed off of that list.

“Ava took it upon herself to organize a supply drive, and she was able to collect over 700 items that she donated to the shelter,” Craft said. “It’s huge, it helps us to make things a little bit better for the animals.”

Because of her efforts with organizing the supply drive and accumulating donations to the shelter, Craft presented Ava with a certificate on Wednesday, signed by Miami County Commissioners Gregroy Simmons, Ted Mercer and Wade Westfall.

TMS Assistant Principal Jason Wattercutter said the supply drive has shown the generosity of the staff, students, their families and community in Tipp City, and that all of it started with a student is nothing short of impressive.

“It’s always a great thing to see that positive stuff get put out there to show how great our kids are, and just the leadership qualities that they have. When they want to do something, they go out and do it, and they go above and beyond all those expectations that they not just set for themselves, but what everyone else sets for them, as well,” Watercutter said.

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