To fulfill her Bat Mitzvah project, animal-loving, 11-year old Jackie Benjes co-founded the Paw Power Pet Jamboree, a 5K race/walk with your pet in Lexington, MA. Now 14, Jackie has organized this completely kid-run event for the past three years, successfully bringing together businesses, vendors, and even a veterinary clinic in support of furry four-legged friends in the Massachusetts area. The most recent race brought in over 100 individual donations, an air-brush t-shirt station, a free pet nail clipping station, dog portraits, homemade ceramic dog bowls, and pets from around the area joined in on the fun.
Jackie started the race due to her love of dogs; she currently has two golden retrievers of her own. She is also passionate about the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA, where she donates the funds raised from the race. When reflecting on her own volunteer experience at the shelter, Jackie shared that, ‘You see them [the animals] and when they get adopted, it’s the best part. Sometimes it’s too quickly though and you miss them, but you get to see the happy families and a good home.”
In a Q and A about the Paw Power Pet Jamboree, Jackie shared some thoughts and advice about her experience organizing this type of event:
Why did you choose to organize a 5K race?
“I wanted to do something and not just ask people for money, but have it be fun and create memories for them, incorporating their pets.”
What is your favorite thing about helping with the race?
“Every part is so much fun and you get to see how nice the businesses are – helping out – the community really comes together and the race has grown every year.”
What does it mean to be a #GivingKid?
“Being a giving kid means that you want to help others and not do it for a reward, but just do it to do it and feel good about it.”