Boy's book report leads to community project helping sheltered cats
Max Maniatis, a 10-year-old fourth grader at Bugbee Elementary School, was inspired to help cats in need after reading the book Gaby, Lost and Found, in Dahlia Cherny's class.
Maniatis' goal to help cats started when he and his mother, Janice Maniatis, were called upon to help a cat without a home in Hartford. They found the cat in December and it lived in Max’s room for a week before the Simon Foundation, a nonprofit located in Bloomfield, stepped in and helped the stray kitty find a home.
Maniatis didn't stop there, though. He's asking everyone to donate money or items that the Simon Foundation needs, such as paper towels, blankets, and other pet-related items.
He also wants to raise awareness for the many animals at places like the Simon Foundation need homes. He'd like to see between 50 and 60 cats and dogs adopted from the Simon Foundation because of this.
The Simon Foundation
"This is similar to the book because it's all about rescuing animals and helping," Maniatis said. "There are lots of animals in the world and I know that tons of them are being treated badly, abandoned, or killed. We had to find shelter for him or else we knew what was going to happen to him."
Maniatis has always had a soft spot for animals, especially cats. While living in Salem, Massachusetts, he used to build shelters and leave out blankets and food for cats in his neighborhood who didn't have a home. His family ended up giving one of those cats a home. They now have two cats, one dog, and a fish.
Items have already started coming in to both the school and the Maniatis' home in West Hartford.
"We posted a thing online and the entire neighborhood is donating," Maniatis said. "The entire school is donating."
"I love how a school project turned into such a collaborative community effort," his mom said. "His friends, his family, his sisters… everyone is on board helping out. It's the best way to raise awareness for this foundation."
Bugbee School Principal Kelly Brouse said it's always a goal to see a student turn a classroom project into a larger effort.
"It's the ultimate goal that you have for your students," Brouse said. "You try to teach them all the things you learn in math or reading and social studies, but the whole point of education is to take those things and really make an impact on others and the world around them."
Manitatis took charge and showed serious initiative.
"We're so impressed to see what they want to show us and how they interpret what they're going to share and think about," Brouse said.
"This is what leaders do," Cherny said. "I am so impressed with him. He's a very special guy."
Maniatis said he hopes that once he's able to help the Simon Foundation enough, he can move his focus toward another shelter in the area and help it the same way.
This kid is seriously awesome.
via the courant
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