“Animal rescue and fostering is so rewarding because it allows you to directly impact and shape the lives of animals in the community.”
Sara Kate Durkee grew up in Macon, GA. She and her family have been involved with animal rescue for the past eight years. During this time, they have been an active foster family for various rescue groups. They have had over sixty foster dogs and cats, all of which have been adopted. Her family has three dogs and one cat of their own, all of which they adopted. Sara Kate is very passionate about animal rescue, and she believes that rescuing even one dog or cat makes a difference. With fostering dogs and cats, it allows more space to open at the shelter or with the rescue groups and allows them to be able to save more animals. She volunteers with local rescue groups and her local animal shelter to help walk dogs and clean kennels. Sara Kate thinks it is very rewarding to give back and help make a difference in the lives of local dogs and cats.
Sara Kate is very active and loves running. Combining her passion for dogs and running, she created the “Doggie Dash.” The Doggie Dash is a 5K trail run that benefits local animal rescue groups, such as Critical Care for Animal Angels and Reid Rescue.
Implementation of the Project
To kick off her 5K, Sara Kate assembled an action committee to help out through the process of organizing the race. She assembled nine kids from different high schools in the area, and each person was assigned a job. The jobs ranged from website designer to T-shirt organizer to sponsor coordinator. On the committee were people who showed interest and seemed very passionate about the race. She met with Larry Carpenter, who has organized many races in the past, and he helped her create a registration and sponsorship form. After setting up an online registration for runners to sign up and designing the t-shirt and logo, the Doggie Dash was in the works. Sara Kate reached out to two local animal rescue groups, Critical Care for Animal Angels and Reid Rescue, and told them about her idea. They were so excited!
As she advanced closer to raceday, Sara Kate and her action team were able to gather eleven sponsors and raise $5,000. The logos for the sponsors went on the back of the shirts as advertising, and this encouraged many businesses to donate and sponsor the event. About a week out from race day, Sara Kate picked up the medals for awards and the tshirts. She bought food for race day, and she was able to get Kroger to donate a $20 gift card, which helped cut the cost of race day drinks and snacks. Sara Kate and her action team were able to get the word out about her race by going on the local news, getting a story published in the local newspaper, and using social media. All of this increased not only the publicity for the race, but raised awareness for the rescue groups and their available animals.
The day before the race, Sara Kate’s action committee gathered at her house to stuff race packets with runners’ numbers, sponsor advertising, and shirts. During this time, they also made signs for registration, packet pick up, and sponsors. Before the race, they also borrowed water coolers, mile signs, and a megaphone from her school, Stratford Academy.
“Although the Doggie Dash required a lot of work, it was so rewarding to see the effect the money and donated food had on my community. I am so glad that I carried out my CLP. It has shown me that I can make a positive change in my community, and that I can do anything I set my mind to.”
– Sara Kate Durkee
Results of the Project
The Doggie Dash was a great success. Overall, the Doggie Dash had one hundred and thirteen runners sign up for the race and had seventy three runners actually show up and run on race day. Through registration fees, Sara Kate raised over $2,500. This combined with the sponsorship money and donations allowed her to raise around $8,000. After paying for tshirts, race day timing, and other expenses, $6,750 to be split between the two rescue groups. Also, on race day runners were encouraged to bring a bag of dog or cat food to be donated to the local community food bank, Central GA Cares, who uses these donations to help community members in need. Through these donations, Sara Kate collected around forty-five bags of dog and cat food. This provided help to many community members in need.
“I hope the Doggie Dash not only helped provide needed funds for vetting local animals, but also raised awareness for the issue of stray animals in the Macon-Bibb County area.”
– Sara Kate Durkee
Sara Kate will graduate from Stratford Academy in 2020. She hopes to continue the Doggie Dash for the next two years and hopefully pass it on to someone in the grade below her when she graduates.