Bay Ridge

Visitation Academy students show how cupcakes can save dogs

March 12, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Everyone knows you’re not supposed to feed cupcakes to your dog, but a group of students in Bay Ridge fed cupcakes to people and saved the lives of animals at the same time.

Students at Visitation Academy, a Catholic school for girls, recently held a bake sale at the school at 8902 Ridge Boulevard to raise funds for Unwanted NYC Pets, a non-profit organization that rescues animals. The sale of cakes, cupcakes, brownies, cookies and other tasty treats raised more than $800 for the group, according to Arlene Figaro, the school’s principal. “I’m very proud of the girls. This is something they wanted to do and the leaders of our Student Council organized it themselves,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle.

“This one event probably saved six dogs,” said Ellen Montana, whose daughter is a student at Visitation Academy. Montana is a member of the board of directors at Unwanted NYC Pets.

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“We’re dedicated to the rescue and recovery of animals. We rescue stray dogs and dogs who are about to be put down because there’s no more room in animal shelters. We clean them up, get them back to health, and groom them. Sometimes, people drop dogs off to us when they can no longer take care of them,” Montana said.

Unwanted NYC Pets also works to place animals in new homes. The group’s website contains a page of photos of animals that are up for adoption, along with a description of the animal and its personality traits. Patches, a female pit bull is described as an “easy going” dog who “loves to lay one the sofa and give kisses.”

Rescuing abandoned animals is a cause the students were happy to get behind. “If you can save animals and place them in loving homes, it’s a great thing,” said Natalie Grasso, president of the Student Council.

”It’s really a great thing to help people who want to help animals,” Student Council Secretary Carina D’Urso said.

Student Council leaders, who are all eighth graders, got the word out about the bake sale by making up fliers and posting them in classroom. 

The bake sale created a great deal of excitement in the school.

On the day of the bake sale, students brought in homemade goodies and local bakeries donated sweets to be sold. Throughout the day, students and parents visited the room where the sale was held to make purchases. By the end of the day, $975 was raised.

“It’s important for those of us in leadership to do for others. It sets a good example for the younger students,” Adriana Kulusic-Ho, student council vice president, said.

This bake sale wasn’t the first time the girls at Visitation Academy have raised money for charity.

“We had a bake sale for breast cancer. We had a chip day. Our school is kind of one big family,” Natalie said.

“It’s good for us to help anybody we can,” Adriana said.

“We had another bake sale to raise funds for the family of a sixth grader whose brother was sick and was being cared for at Boston Children’s Hospital,” Figaro said. That event also raised $625 for the hospital.

Sonia Abi-Habib, president of the Mother’s Club at the school, said the parents and students are eager to reach out to the larger community. “We do hold events to raise money for the school, but the majority of our bake sales and fundraising is for outside charities,” she said.

The parents always put forth their best effort, Abi-Habib said. “The parents are baking. The parents are selling. Anything to help,” she said.

“Helping others in need is part of our mission as a Catholic community,” Figaro said. “I always tell the children that they need to be a part of the larger community and to give of themselves.”


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