STOCKTON (CBS13) — Being involved with animals is a way of life for 16-year-old Olivia Mock.
“I’ve grown up in the animal government shelter. And every single spring and summer, I do see thousands of kittens that come in,” Mock said.READ MORE: UPDATE: Only 2 Drowned In Tuolumne County Swimming Hole
Seeing that many kittens over the years gave the teen an idea for the nonprofit she works for right in the middle of the pandemic. With plenty of high school students looking for community service hours and plenty of kittens needing care, Mock wanted to make a fostering program to serve both needs.
“We’re not allowed to have volunteers in the building. And, that’s kind of where it struck. A bunch of kids were so sad when we had to turn them down,” Mock said. “Not only did they want the community service hours, they wanted to help the animals. So, it was a win-win situation.”
That win-win situation is starting to be implemented by the Animal Protection League at the Stockton Animal Shelter. The goal is to get plenty of kids signed up with hopes involving major school districts like Lodi, Lincoln and Stockton Unified.
“This is just kicking off so we’re just some initial stuff,” Jolene Medeiros, the executive director of Animal Protection League, said. “We’re going to start grounded here in San Joaquin County. We’ll work California and then it’s always up from there.”
The students, who they hope eventually to bring in from all over the county, can earn three service hours a day for fostering the animals. But there’s a bigger picture they hope comes from helping these four-legged friends in need.READ MORE: Shooting Puts Roseville Target On Lockdown
“And, children who are having a rougher time staying at home and it’s creating a lot of tension amongst the family, this can be that love that they’re searching for,” Jill Antonini, Director of Development & Marketing for Animal Protection League, said.
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“This experience needs to happen in every high school student; not just the ones in Stockton,” Mock said.
The experience has been getting a decent amount of attention from students looking to take part, according to Antonini.
“There have been so many students that have reached out to me just from my sharing her post; asking for more information, how can we do it, how much it would mean to them to help save an animal’s life,” Antonini said.
It’s also about serving the big picture in a time where we’re all looking for some bright spots.MORE NEWS: Teen Reported Missing On American River In Rancho Cordova
“I also believe the animal-human bond is stronger than any pandemic. So it’s not only helping the kitten but it’s helping the high school students,” Mock said.