By Ivy Lam
On February 8, the National Honor Society (NHS) of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School assembled dog toys out of old and used t-shirts. With over 60 members helping, a total of 230 toys were made.
“Animals have always had a special place in my heart. I have a dog of my own, and seeing him play with his toys makes me realize that there are many dogs out there who do not even have a ball to play with,” said Lisa Navarro, NHS parliamentarian. “Playing is essential for a dog, and I know that with these toys we’ve made, many of them will get the chance to have fun and enjoy the time they wait to be adopted.”
Each year, NHS has to complete specific chapter projects outlined by the Broward County NHS chapter. One of the seven required projects was Cassie’s Cause, an organization that helps raise funds and supplies for the Broward Humane Society. The idea for the dog toy assembly event arose from their need for homemade dog toys.
“I believe it’s very important to give back to animal shelters because they need a lot of support for them to keep doing what they’re doing,” said Navarro. “Animals require a lot of attention and resources, and because shelters have so many of them, it can be difficult to have enough food, toys, and water to take care of each animal. If they receive help from others, they can do their job and give these animals a safe and healthy environment.”
The event was split into two rooms hosted by NHS advisor Lisa Hitchcock and social sciences teacher Dawn Tavares. Members followed a YouTube tutorial to cut strips from t-shirts and braid them into usable dog toys. The remaining scraps, not cut into individual strips, were used to create bigger dog toys.
“The dog toy assembly was fantastic. All of the members were extremely friendly in demonstrating how to create a dog toy and continued to help other members complete their toys when they had finished their own,” said Gabrielle Hoffman, junior. “It seemed that everyone was super productive and walked away from the event feeling good about their contribution.”
NHS members actively exhibit four pillars: scholarship, service, leadership, and character. Besides the dog toy assembly, members have made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless, made blankets for pediatric cancer patients and collected trash at Deerfield Beach. Members are constantly engaged with their communities, exhibiting their character and leadership in and outside of the classroom.
Additionally, service projects are created in response to member interests. For February, the chapter also helped Lady Luck Animal Rescue through donations of puppy food and kitten toys. Several members empathize with the goals of local animal shelters and have expressed great interest in giving back to the animal community.
“I have always loved animals and wanted to find a way to have an impact on animal welfare. By taking in animals, nursing them to health, and socializing them, animal shelters are able to completely turn around the lives of tomorrow’s companions,” said Hoffman. “Animals mean a lot to me. I have been fostering kittens since the summer before my freshman year.”
In the upcoming month, MSD NHS plans to host a Junior-Senior Mentorship in which current seniors give advice on the college admissions process to rising seniors. The chapter also plans to provide personalized bracelets for faculty during Teacher Appreciation Week and partake in local fundraising events, like Run 4 Beigel and Relay for Life.
- Ivy Lam is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This school year, she is the National Honor Society President, Eagle Eye Newspaper Editor, and Senior Class Senator. Her interests include writing, research, and public policy, all of which she will pursue further in college.
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