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FishHawk Kids Form Community Service Team

Five FishHawk Ranch girls are determined to perform good works in their community.

They don't do it for community service hours or because it's a requirement to be eligible for scholarships.

Instead, these five FishHawk Ranch girls, age 10 and 11, perform works of charity simply for the love of helping.

Led by Elizabeth Aber, the FishHawk Area Service Team (FAST) was formed last October to perform community service works.

"I just like to help people and decided to start a group," said Elizabeth, who recruited four other girls from to be a part of the group. "I love seeing how I can help people and how happy it makes them."

The girls' first project was collecting food and supplies for the homeless dogs and cats at Heidi's Legacy Dog Rescue in Lithia.

"We took a vote and, since we all love animals, we decided we wanted to do something to help animals," Elizabeth said.

"I made up a flier explaining what we were doing, and then each of the members passed out the flier in their neighborhoods," she explained.

In all, the girls collected 50 pounds of cat litter, five large and seven small bags of dog food, dog treats, 50 cans of cat food, collars, beds, blankets and shampoos.

"I even had one neighbor who donated an automatic dog dispenser," said FAST member Rachel Rozet.

The girls then dropped off the items to the grateful volunteers at Heidi's Legacy who introduced the girls to the dogs and gave them a tour of the facility.

"We got to meet a lot of the dogs, including this cute little chihauhau named Chi-Chi," said Elizabeth. "The lady who runs Heidi's Legacy was so grateful. It really made us feel good."

Their next project was on Feb. 11. The girls spent hours making 80 heart-shaped cards and tissue paper flowers to distribute to Alzheimer's patients at Superior Residences in Brandon.

"The people there were so happy," said Rachel. "They gave us lots of hugs. And one lady played the piano while I sang 'Happy Valentine's Day.'"

Their current project involves collecting diapers for the FishHawk Ranch-based charity Blessed Bottoms, which donates the diapers to A Kid's Place in Brandon, Life Care of Brandon and a food bank based at Lamb of God Lutheran Church in Lithia.

"We've gotten a little over $60 in donations, but we want to collect a lot more diapers by April 1," said Elizabeth.

In the meantime, Fast has joined up with the international community service organization, Do Something. Through its website, dosomething.org, the group encourages young people to get involved in community service and social justice projects. Members are required to conduct three projects a year.

Elizabeth plans to do four or five projects a year.

"The more we do, the more we want to help," said FAST member Maddie Eisenberg. "We just like doing community service."

"I just really like to help people," added member Ainsley Basham. "And doing it with friends makes it even more fun."

"It's been a great experience," said member Katie Dunn. "It makes you feel good to know you're helping people."

The girls meet at Elizabeth's house every two weeks to work on current projects and plan future ones. They are currently seeking more members so they can make an even bigger impact on their community.

In the meantime, anyone who would like to donate to the diaper drive can contact Elizabeth at eaber502@gmail.com.

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