Jasmine White, 14, of Beaverton, Oregon, a member of Washington County 4-H and an eighth-grader at International School of Beaverton, conducted 14 training sessions in her community to teach more than 360 pet owners how to make toys for their animals with recycled materials. As a Girl Scout, Jasmine had volunteered with her troop at a clinic that provides free veterinarian care for homeless people’s pets, and came away from the experience wanting to do more to help animals. She attended a pet ambassador workshop conducted by Oregon 4-H Youth Development, and then decided she wanted to teach people “the importance of playing with their pets to keep them happy and healthy,” she said.
Jasmine began soliciting donations of used T-shirts and tennis balls to use in making pet toys by advertising on social media, placing a collection bin at her school and approaching a local tennis center. She eventually collected more than 1,000 shirts and balls. Then she planned her toy training sessions and advertised them with fliers around town, articles in Girl Scout and 4-H newsletters, and school presentations. Enough interest was generated for Jasmine to hold 14 training sessions at a local barn, a night market, a pet store, a library, two schools and Girl Scout meetings. To keep her project going after her sessions were over, she created three starter kits with enough materials to make 260 pet toys, along with a video demonstrating the process, then donated them to county 4-H offices for scout troops, camps, students and transitional living facilities to borrow. She has continued to solicit donations for restocking when supplies run low. In addition to her pet toy project, Jasmine has volunteered to watch over farm animals at a local dairy event and helped foster kittens for a cat shelter.