Pandemic doesn’t reduce Mustangs’ volunteer spirit

 Mackenzie Sisson – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – With all the changes around LRHS due to COVID-19, Mustangs have been finding creative ways to conduct community service for the 2020-2021 school year while following social distancing protocols.

Lakewood Loves Animals (LLA) is a club at LRHS devoted to assisting animal-related facilities across Manatee County.

To kick off the year, the club’s officers met with Southwest Florida Therapy Animals (SWFTA) to give Mustangs an opportunity to earn volunteer hours.

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SWFTA is a local farm just outside of Lakewood Ranch dedicated to raising animals and allowing people with special needs a chance to work with animals. Some of the animals on-site include goats, cats, chickens, pigs and horses.

The owner of SWFTA spoke with LLA’s adviser Catherine Franek about the guidelines and expectations for students interested in helping around the farm.

“They’re in desperate need of volunteers,” said Franek, “It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it because there’s few opportunities like this with the virus. Volunteers will oversee feeding all the animals and cleaning all their cages, pens and stables. The most important aspect is socializing with them and making them feel more comfortable around people.”

SWFTA is not limited to members of LLA and are accepting any high school students willing to put the best foot forward, make a difference and reach a goal.

For more information about SWFTA or Lakewood Loves Animals, contact Franek, ext. 2117.