Giraffes are discovered in Perry risking necks for others

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Giraffes of helpfulness are rewarded with edible kitties at the PACES summer school program in Perry.

Giraffes are stalking the streets of Perry, Iowa.

This surprising discovery was recently made by first graders in the PACES after school and summer school program. The giraffes in question are not the spotted variety found in Africa, however. They are the people who stick their necks out to help others.

The first graders worked through a service-learning curriculum called Giraffe Heroes. They started the year by learning about ordinary people who do extraordinary things and ended the year by designing their own service project.

They called their project “Love Dogs and Cats.” They were inspired by the example of Dorothea Peterson, a foster-grandmother in the PACES program who also volunteers with the Humane Society of Perry.

The students’ project had three steps. First, they made dog and cat toys for the residents of the shelter. Second, they posted pictures around town and on the PACES Facebook page, trying to find homes for some of the many cats at the cat shelter.

The third step in the project involved receiving donations of cat and dog food and holding a bake sale to raise money for food and supplies for the Humane Society. The PACES first graders have raised $221. 08, and 14 cats have been adopted to date.

“This is evidence that you are never too young to make a difference,” said PACES instructor Liz Elliott.

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PACES first graders on the Giraffe Heroes project were, from left, Sandra Banales, Andy Truong, Alexander Siepker, Christopher Carrillo and Charlie Jones.
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PACES first graders on the Giraffe Heroes project included, front row from left, Genesis Gonzalez, Bryceton Richardson, Destiny Gonzalez and Rosa Pineda; back row from left, Fatima Andrade, Shelby Burg and Adamaris Rivas.

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