Avery Benton: 7th grade philanthropist
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Pomfret - posted Mon., Feb. 21, 2011
Michelle Benton’s family has fostered several dogs for a shelter in Massachusetts until homes could be found for them. “We’ve had dogs for a few weeks to a few months,” she said. “It’s kind of a learning tool for our kids, though it was a heartbreaking one, I must admit.” When the Benton’s let the last foster dog they were caring for go to its new home, Michelle’s daughter, Avery, had a tough time saying goodbye.
“How do you not fall in love with a dog?” Benton asked.
Avery turned that heartache into something positive when she tried to figure out how to help more than one dog at a time, her mother said.
“She wanted to take it to a grander scale” Michelle said. But even Benton was surprised at how her daughter’s loneliness turned into such a generous bundle of money.
Avery talked with her mother and her principal, Jane Dion. Then she and her friend Jewelia Aubin got together, and with 15 to 20 children, formed an after school club. They sponsored a Pajama Day at Pomfret Community School and charged students one dollar to wear pajamas to school. More than 300 students paid for the privilege.
The money they raised is being donated to the Northeast Regional Animal Control, a shelter that serves the towns of Brooklyn, Canterbury, Dayville, Killingly, Pomfret, Sterling, and Woodstock.
Avery and Jewelia are now turning their organizational and fund raising skills to another cause: the Montville Animal Shelter. An emergency plea came out recently from Montville, according to Michelle Benton. When her daughter heard of it, she knew there was something she could do to help.
There are so many animals on the streets, Avery said, and they can be living better lives. She seemed nonplussed about the amount of money raised for the shelter. “All you need is a goal,” Avery said. “You just have to stick with it and accomplish it.”