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Glen Ellyn teens work together to change lives of local animals

Published: Monday, July 1, 2013 6:00 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Photo provided)
Bailey Benes (left) and Emma Klimala attend Woofin and Hoofin's annual 5K run with Klimala's dog, Chuckles.

GLEN ELLYN – While some Glen Ellyn teens may enjoy the summer by relaxing or hanging out with friends, others have been hard at work, raising money to support local animals in need.

The student-led nonprofit Woofin and Hoofin raised more than $2,000 this year for DuPage County Animal Care and Control (DCACC) by organizing and hosting multiple fundraisers, including a 5K run Sunday at Glen Ellyn’s Newton Park and surrounding area.

The money raised helps DCACC increase its space to serve the animals that come to the shelter, without having to euthanize any because of facility constraints.

“That’s where we come in; we help them with that,” Senior board President Danny Motz said. “I guess you’d say we’re saving puppies.”

Woofin and Hoofin is made up of junior and senior students at Glenbard West High School who are dedicated to eradicating animal cruelty. It was founded by Adin Lykken in 2007, and its work has continued since then, as each new senior class takes over leadership duties when members graduate.

“I think that keeps the momentum up, and you always have new people with new ideas,” said Motz, who recently graduated from Glenbard West.

Every year, juniors apply to be part of the nonprofit’s junior board and are chosen by senior board members. After the 5K in the summer, the juniors move up to the senior ranks, and the process starts all over again.

“The juniors see what the seniors have done, and they want to get involved themselves,” said junior board member Mary Ladesic, who, with her sister, Hannah, took the lead in contacting local businesses to act as sponsors for this year’s 5K.

About 40 people participated in the race. Several businesses supported the event, as well, including Yogurtland, which provided frozen yogurt at the fundraiser.

Community support has increased over the years, but Woofin and Hoofin always is looking to do more for DCACC, Ladesic said.

Although Woofin and Hoofin’s 5K fundraiser has featured a “Doggie Dash” race for residents’ canine companions in the past, the dash was canceled this summer due to space issues. Instead, 5K participants were invited to run with a special partner: their dog.

Woofin and Hoofin’s other major fundraiser is Puppy Palooza, a concert featuring local bands during the winter.

Although it sometimes is hard to manage school and extracurricular activities while running a nonprofit, group members say it’s worth it.

“This has just made me even more of an animal lover because I’ve seen how high school students are able to come together and just make a really big difference for the lives of animals,” Ladesic said.

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