Students in the Transitions Program have started a new initiative dedicated to making dog toys for local animal shelters in South Jersey. “For the Love of Pets” was created by a senior in the program who loves giving back and has a creative talent for repurposing old t-shirts to give them a second life. She shared the idea with fellow classmates during a student council meeting and from there students got to work.  

“We were brainstorming how we could spread kindness to our community during the month of February,” says Margaret Chaput, Supervisor of Transitions. “One of our senior students shared that she knows how to make dog toys that could be donated to local animal shelters. We decided to make the campaign ongoing until we had a bunch of toys created to locally donate!”  

The student brought in used t-shirts and demonstrated how to make the toys with her peers. With supervision, students cut the shirts in a way where almost every inch was used, and several long strands of material were created with a few knots. They then weaved the material together to form an oblong chain that resembled a dog rope toy. 

“It was not difficult to create the toys and the supplies necessary were all donated articles of clothing intended to be repurposed,” comments Chaput.  

In addition to the toys, students are collecting used towels, blankets, white gym socks and new items like pet food and treats. When they have enough supplies collected, they’ll be donating all the items, along with the handmade toys to local animal shelters around Cherry Hill.  

“Our goal is to foster a sense of community responsibly in our students,” comments Chaput. “In doing so, students are learning leadership skills, working collaboratively for a common goal and developing social skills.”   

Although the student who started this initiative is graduating this school year, program staff believe this is just the beginning of a wonderful campaign that’ll last for years to come. 

For the Love of Pets” is a wonderful initiative developed from one student’s talent and know-how along with her love for dogs,” says Chaput. “It may be premature, but I foresee this campaign being a reoccurring event for years to come at Transitions!”