Shyla Clayton, 12, of Morristown, Vermont, a sixth-grader at Peoples Academy Middle Level, helps make her community a better place in a number of ways, including working at a thrift shop to benefit a local hospital, cheering up a sick neighbor, picking up roadside trash and assisting an animal shelter. Shyla started volunteering in 2014, motivated first by the trash she saw on the sides of roads and in the woods. “It bothered me that there were messes of garbage everywhere,” she said. Then she saw news stories about animals that needed homes. “The stories inspired me because I realized I could make a difference by picking up trash and donating pet food for the animals,” said Shyla.
In addition to donating homemade toys and treats to a local animal shelter, Shyla volunteered to read books after school to dogs and cats at the shelter. Every Saturday, she helps organize donations for resale at the Second Chance thrift shop, which raises money for Copley Hospital in Morristown. As a member of a service club at her school, Shyla also helps with janitorial tasks around the building. In addition, she placed two brightly painted signs outside the kitchen window of a neighbor with cancer, so she would know people cared about her well-being. “It feels good to make others happy,” said Shyla.