By Chelsea Martin
In order to pursue a better tomorrow in our
communities, educators say, there must be
increased focus on educating the eager, resilient
children of today.
That’s the philosophy of Scales Technology
Academy, which is partnering with a new
community-based program of graduate students at
ASU aimed at just that goal.
A group of six fifth graders in an English
learners and special education class under the
guidance of two ASU graduate students, Mollie
Flanagan and Haley Honneman, have come together
to solve a serious problem they struggle with in their
community: hungry, homeless dogs and cats. In
order to resolve the problem, the kids decided to host
a food, toy and litter drive at their school. Proceeds
will benefit the food pantry of Lost Our Home Pet
“The kids identified a local nearby organization
that would benefit from their project, and Lost Our
Home fit perfectly,” Flanagan said.
“It’s a pretty unique operation. It’s not only
a shelter but it specializes in pets that have been
left behind in foreclosures (and other economic
hardships). They have a generous food pantry to
assist animal owners who are struggling to afford
expensive pet food and other supplies.”
The kids are invested in helping their
community, Flanagan says. What’s more, it’s quite
Flanagan and Honneman are able to meet with
the group only once a week, on Wednesdays, for an
hour. Time is of the essence, and the kids work hard
to use it efficiently.
“They are a pretty awesome bunch,” Flanagan
said. “We have been guiding them along, but this is
really their project.”
The fifth grade members include Syeda
Akter, Marvin Celis Munoz, Maryna Delgado,
Mormon Dickson, Giselle Galvan and Aliyis Warren.
“The whole idea of this project is to help kids
realize they have the power and the voice to create
positive change in their neighborhood.
“The best part about this is watching the kids
realize they are actually doing something and making
a difference,” Flanagan said.
Targets were set before the initiative was
“Their initial goal was to raise 25 pounds. It was
sad. We encouraged the kids to dream bigger and
they decided on 100 pounds. None of them thought
they would meet their goal, yet they exceeded it on
April 2. It has been an amazing process.”
While others helped support the project, the
students are especially passionate about helping out
the animals, according to Flanagan.
Said Ethan Matus, one of the fifth graders:
Kids partner to
“We wanted to work on raising food for animals
because the homeless dogs looked sad and alone with
Another student, Giselle Galvan, expressed her
belief in the capabilities of her fellow classmates to
help their community despite their youth.
“We’re not just fifth graders—we’re human
Food, cat litter or pet toys donations are
accepted at Scales Technology Academy, 1115 W.
Fifth St., via a donation box in the front office.
Additionally, Lost Our Home Foundation,
323 S. Hardy Drive, is always seeking donations.
Information: Scales Technology Academy,
480-929-9909 or Lost Our Home Pet Foundation,
Photos by Billy Hardiman