Paws for Change

Brianna Randazzo, Contributor

Do you love animals? Do you have a passion for helping animals? Do you want to help animals in shelters? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then Paws for Change is the club for you!

My name is Brianna Randazzo and I’m a senior here at STAC. Last year in November 2020, I decided to create a club to help animals in shelters. I decided to name the club Paws for Change, just like the club I ran in high school. I knew that this club had to be brought to STAC because the students and faculty are so kind, passionate, helpful, and caring that I knew it would be the perfect place for it.

When starting this club, I had to have a strong foundation and a purpose. I already had the purpose of helping animals in shelters, so I looked for a foundation who had the same passion.

I decided to ask friends of mine to join and we had about 20 or so members. Some of these friends were elected as part of the E-board, which was quickly established, and they have helped me so much with all that this club has accomplished! Fast forward to now, we have 52 members and I couldn’t be happier!

You may be asking yourself, “What have you accomplished thus far?”. Last year, we ran a supply drive for Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge (RBARI) and that same supply drive ran again this year until October 22nd, 2021. Last year, we were able to raise about two boxes of all different supplies for RBARI.

In addition to the supply drive, we were able to raise money with the assistance of social media. We created donation boards, like sororities and fraternities do in other schools, and posted them on our social media profiles. Through this method, we raised $250 that we donated to the West Milford Animal Shelter! This was an amazing success for the beginning of this club.

I was, and still am, so excited for what amazing things can be accomplished in the future with this club! Last year as a club, we received the club community service award and the Ryan Maher award!

As an individual, I received the St. Thomas Aquinas Mission Award. The description of this award states that it’s, “Presented to the student who best embodies the college mission statement, by exemplifying the principles of service, mutual respect, and individual responsibility”.

All of these awards and accomplishments were an honor to receive and to say that I’m grateful for them would be an understatement. Last year had been a very rough year due to COVID, but just to know that I was able to make some sort of positive impact during that time means everything to me.

This year though, we plan to accomplish even more than we did last year. At this year’s Oktoberfest, we were able to set up a table and acted as ambassadors for RBARI.

Additionally, we raised donations and were able to give away two cute dog themed blankets in a raffle! Some of our upcoming events include a T-shirt fundraiser where the proceeds will be donated to Bloomingdale Animal Shelter Society (BASS), where one of our Paws for Change members volunteers!

We also plan to collect pet pictures from students and faculty to include in a calendar that we will then sell. The proceeds raised from the calendar fundraiser will be donated to a different animal shelter! 

We are so thankful for the amount of members we’ve gained this year, for the accomplishments that we’ve made thus far and, of course, for all of the people who have decided to donate. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be in charge of a club that is so successful and has accomplished such great things for the surrounding community!

There is so much bad in the world that we often hear about, that adding some good just seems necessary.

I would like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes by John Bunyan, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you”. This quote speaks volumes and truly conveys the importance of helping both people and animals!

I’m so happy to have seen this club grow, ignite a spark in people, and bring together those who share a love and passion for helping animals in need!

I hope that this article has ignited a spark inside of you to make a positive impact on the community and world around you, whatever that may mean to you.