Helping P.A.W.S.

By Alley Faulkner, Sydney Anderson, and Yvan Polynice
NOV. 25, 2019

Calling all St. Thomas Aquinas High School (STA) animal lovers! The new P.A.W.S. club has officially started. This newly created club, also known as the Pet and Animal Welfare Squad (P.A.W.S.), aims to “…do as many service projects as we can to help animals in our community,” says Mrs. Christina Balsman, the club moderator. 

The P.A.W.S. club is not only a wonderful way for students to learn how to help animals, it is also a great way to earn service hours. This club teamed up with 100 Plus Abandoned Dogs of Everglades Florida, Saving Sage, and the South Florida Wildlife Refuge organizations. Mrs. Balsman plans to reach out to more animal-oriented organizations to help in as many ways as possible. 

Sophomore Lauren Huntley, approached Mrs. Balsman with the idea to organize students to help the local animal population. She explained that she, … got the idea from [her] sisters who were president and vice president of the Friends of St. Francis.”  Since this club is no longer running, Lauren was inspired to start “something fresh”. Lauren immediately went to Mrs. Balsman because she knew of her love for animals since Mrs. Balsman teaches a Zoology Honors course. She happily agreed to become the club’s moderator and together they contacted local animal shelters to find out how STA could help. 

“Our main goal is to get students involved in helping the animal community while raising money and awareness for no-kill shelters and rescue centers.”says Lauren. No-Kill shelters are shelters that save all healthy animals and pets able to be nursed back to health. To be defined as a No-Kill shelter, the organization must “…save more than 90% of its animals,” according to

The P.A.W.S. club members are very proactive. They researched healthy homemade pet recipes, then baked pet-friendly treats and delivered them to Saving Sage and 100+ Abandoned Dogs of Everglades Florida. 

Each container of treats included a list of ingredients to insure that the organizations would know what they are feeding the animals. P.A.W.S. club is a great addition to STA. If you would like to take part in this movement, then contact Mrs. Balsman in room 205. Yet again, the Raiders have another way to help the community around them.