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Most sixth-graders save their money for things like candy, movies or maybe, if they're really motivated, a new bike. Clearly, Kam Gottlieb of Wilmette, Ill., is not your typical sixth-grader. The 12-year-old recently raised money to donate a dogPACER treadmill to Chicago's Anti-Cruelty Society and will donate a second one to the Humane Society of Southwest Michigan this month. When we heard about Gottlieb's generosity, we couldn't help but wonder two things: What would motivate a girl her age to do so much fundraising, and why dog treadmills? To get the answers, we went straight to the source.
Gottlieb told us she was inspired to make a difference by a friend's mom who has helped out in Haiti. "When she got back, she showed me some photos, and I was really interested. I knew I wanted to help, and there are a lot of things that need help," Gottlieb said. "I've always loved animals and decided I wanted to do something with shelter dogs."
Still, Gottlieb was aware that many, many organizations work to help shelter pets, and Gottlieb "wanted to be special and different." She'd heard that it was difficult for dogs in shelters to get the appropriate exercise, especially in the winter in areas like Chicago. Her mother had heard that dog treadmills were gaining popularity. And with that, Gottlieb had her cause.
She decided to begin raising money at the end of third grade. The following school year, she created a Powerpoint presentation to show her class. Her mom had glow-in-the-dark rubber bracelets made, which they sold to raise money and awareness. Gottlieb also held events, such as a tiki party where people were asked to bring $5. "Everybody was really generous," said Gottlieb, who noted that many people gave more than the suggested donation, enabling her to raise more than $150 at that event alone.
Initially, Gottlieb had been working toward a treadmill that was $1,000, and she raised nearly enough money for that. But when she found dogPACER and realized she had enough money already to purchase a treadmill from them, she was thrilled.
Even more thrilling? The company gave her $100 plus free shipping and then called her back to let her know that they were so inspired by her hard work and dedication that they were going to match her donation and give her a second treadmill to give to the shelter of her choice.
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