Choffin students aim to provide holiday cheer for homeless pets

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By Denise Dick


Choffin Career AND Technical Center students want to make the holidays a little brighter for some Mahoning County residents who can’t speak for themselves.

The students in the center’s biotechnology tech prep and health magnet programs are collecting items for homeless pets at Animal Charity, West Side Cats and the Mahoning County Dog Pound.

A Christmas tree in the Choffin lobby is decorated with laminated paper dog bones and photos of dogs and cats at the rescues.

“I’m sensitive to animals,” said Charidan Hilson, 16, a junior in the biotechnology tech prep program. “If no one is going to help them, then I think we should help them.”

Charidan, who plans to be a veterinarian, has a dog at home who just had puppies. She points to Dexter, a black and white pitbull, as her favorite animal featured on the tree.

“He’s so cute,” Charidan said.

Calisa Jackson, 16, and also a junior in biotechnology, said she feels bad for the dogs without homes she sees running in neighborhoods. She wants to help organizations that help the dogs.

Juniors Sarina Chatman, 16, who’s in the biotechnology program, and Jamaiza Bates, 16, a student in the health magnet program, said they worry about homeless pets too, especially as the weather turns colder.

The idea for the community service project came from the girls’ teachers Holly Welch, Stella Camuso and Brenda Barton.

Renee English, Choffin spokeswoman, said both programs are highly selective in picking students and each has a waiting list. Students earn college credit.

Items such as large blankets, bleach, dry dog and puppy food, dry or canned cat and kitten food, copy paper, sheets, towels, toilet paper, tissue, hand or dish soap, newspapers, small plastic bags, cat litter, rawhides, dog treats, rubbing alcohol, disinfectant spray and plastic totes with lids may be dropped off at the school on Wood Street during school hours.

Tax-deductible monetary donations may be made by check or money order to the charity.

“One of the units they study is veterinary medicine, so this fit right in,” English said.

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