BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ — A 10-week-old Australian Shepherd puppy named Everett was among those to greet the school bus that arrived at Home for Good Dog Rescue in Berkeley Heights on Dec. 23.
And thanks to the generosity of 17 Boonton High School students, he and other rescue dogs under the organization’s care may find permanent homes this holiday season.
Through a 10-week-course sponsored by non-profit organization Main Street Philanthropy, the students raised nearly $500 this year to present to a cause of their choice. And after meeting with several possible beneficiaries, they ultimately chose Home for Good Dog Rescue as their recipient.
“We’re so grateful to the students and to Main Street Philanthropy,” Home for Good Dog Rescue’s Foster Coordinator Susan Strell said. “It’s wonderful to see young people taking a real interest in making a difference in their community."
Main Street Philanthropy’s ambassadors, or teachers, enter schools and teach small groups of students the benefits of philanthropy. Through hands-on activities and exercises, they strive to inspire students to become lifelong passionate givers.
"The purpose of Main Street Philanthropy is to transform people from the inside out and society from the bottom up by helping youth and adults experience the joy of purposeful giving,” Yale Levey, Main Street Philanthropy's northeastern coordinator, said.
Students’ whose admissions essays qualified them for the elective program attended sessions during their lunch periods. They also used that time to sell “Candy Grams,” through which they partially funded the check they presented to Home for Good on Dec. 23
According to Levey, the program is a joint effort between the benefactors who help finance the classes, the school and students who accept the program into their curriculum, and Main Street Philanthropy, itself a 501(c)(3) charity.
"This program results in profound transformation for all involved: students, faculty, schools, charities, donors. Minds are opened, possibilities are explored, imaginations are ignited, help is given, hearts are touched and lives are changed – forever,” Levey continued.
“The students’ contribution makes a real, tangible difference. Their support could potentially fund necessary medications and vaccinations for as many as 15 rescue dogs,” Home for Good’s Donation Manager Abbe Fried remarked. “So many of our pups come from such dire situations, and these students will help them take the first step toward their second chance.”
Founded in 2010, Home for Good Rescue is dedicated to rescuing dogs from high-kill shelters throughout Georgia and South Carolina. As a 100-percent foster-based rescue, it then transports these dogs north and places them in its network of 75 foster homes until adoption.
The Boonton High School students arrived at the organization’s headquarters in Berkley Heights on Dec. 23 to tour the organization’s facilities and present their check. They also had the opportunity to meet several of the organization’s dogs, including the 10-week-old Everett.
“They asked wonderful questions and seemed genuinely interested in learning about what we do and why we do what we do,” Strell said. “Some even approached us to continue supporting us as volunteers. They have really played a hand in saving lives.”
And they are merely a sampling of the many with whom Main Street Philanthropy has worked.
"Boonton High School is one of five area high schools that has deployed the Main Street Philanthropy curriculum over the past two years,” Levey explained. “Other schools that have run the program include Millburn, West Morris Mendham, West Morris Central, and Franklin High School's. So far, Main Street Philanthropy has helped approximately 190 students to become ‘philanthropists in training’ and has issued grants to nearly 50 area charities. I say ‘so far’ because this is just the beginning"