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South middle schoolers have a pet cause
Fundraiser aids Humane Society
WEBPaws for a cause 1
Seventh- grader Nate Schmall counts out change as he donates to Paws for a Cause. - photo by Jim Dean
For more information about the Humane Society of Forsyth County, go online at
One young Forsyth County student has channeled her passion for pets through a fundraising drive for the local humane society.

Beverly Tessmer, president of the Junior Beta Club at South Forsyth Middle, heads the Paws for a Cause program. Twice a week, she and fellow club members gather outside the school’s media center to collect donations.

Contributors may memorialize the life of their former pets by buying a piece of construction paper in the shape of a paw.

Each paw costs $1 and proceeds go to the Humane Society of Forsyth County, a no kill shelter.

Tessmer, 13, said she felt inspired to help the animal shelter.

“We really like how they don’t just give up on the animals there,” she said.

Tessmer said she and fellow Junior Beta Club members volunteer at the animal shelter on the weekends, but “wanted to do something more to help them.”

Those who buy a paw can write the name of a deceased pet on it, Tessmer said. The paw will then join the more than 200 hundred others the club has sold on display in the media center.

They’re approaching $300 in donations, though Tessmer said there isn’t a set goal “because we’re just going to do as much as possible.”

Students and club members also have been pitching in with cans of dog and cat food as well as chew toys for animals at the shelter.

Becky Hitch, South’s Junior Beta Club adviser, said the shelter drive runs through May. It is one of many projects the extracurricular group handles.

“These kids are very community-oriented, and they like to do service projects,” Hitch said. “With this one, they’re honoring the memory of their pets. Kids are all touched by that, the plight of homeless animals.”

Tessmer owns a miniature beagle named Sunshine. The Paws for a Cause program began last year, she said, before it
“just kind of blew up and it’s a bigger deal now.”

Hitch said the Humane Society of Forsyth County has helped promote children’s efforts and recently helped at a school function.

“The kids like that the one here in Forsyth is a no-kill shelter,” he said. “They hate the idea of animals being euthanized.”

E-mail Frank Reddy at