Haley Hooper loves animals and loves to run, and her two passions have combined to provide funds and supplies for Atlanta pets who need a forever home. The Lovett School sophomore organized the first Kingswood Fun Run at age 9, with the support of her parents Tim and Christy Hooper, and it's raised thousands over the years.
"I fell in love with the sport of running and I wanted it to benefit my favorite charity, which is the Atlanta Humane Society, " said Haley, now 16. "Animals have always been in my life. I know there are thousands of animals out there that need help and are homeless, and that's the Atlanta Humane Society's mission: to go out and rescue these animals and put them in forever homes."
This week, her efforts were honored by Crayons and Collars' Pawsitive Impact Kid program. Sponsored by Petco, the Petco Foundation and World's Best Cat Litter, it recognizes youths in grades K-12 who make extraordinary efforts to help animals. The salute comes with a $1,000 grant to the Atlanta Humane Society from the Petco Foundation and a donation of 300 pounds of cat litter from World's Best Cat Litter.
"Haley is professional beyond her years, poised, focused and determined. She has a great attitude and a huge heart, " said Stacy Guidice, director of direct marketing at the Atlanta Humane Society. "AHS is using Haley's Kingswood Fun Run as the model fundraising example for our new Fundraise for AHS supporter platform."
The eighth annual run is Aug. 12. See kingswoodfunrun.weebly.com for details.
"My fun run started out really small, when I was 9 and there were only 12 runners, " Haley said. "Now I'm up to a couple hundred runners and I've raised over $43,000, which I never thought would be possible. If you really want to do something in your community and make a change, just set a goal and try your best."
By the way the cats you see behind Haley are up for adoption via Furkids ( remember their viral YouTube video ?), which maintains adoption space at area Petco locations. Here's info on Furkids' recent fundraiser!