A Georgia teenager, with a love of both animals and running, has managed to combine her passions to raise thousands of dollars for an animal shelter in Atlanta. When 16-year-old Haley Hooper was just nine years of age, she did something that few kids her age would even consider attempting – she founded a fun run to benefit the Atlanta Humane Society. Back in 2009, while still in elementary school, Haley established the Kingswood Fun Run.
The website for Hooper’s fun run explains the goal of the run:
Our fun run is made to help young children of all ages and adults, too enjoy running!! There is a medal for every finisher and a gift/ prize for the top 3 in every race for each gender. We support the Atlanta Humane Society and ALL registration money goes the The Atlanta Humane Society. We realize it is important to help the animals in need and donations are accepted too if you are not the running type or you’re busy. This is a once a year race and we hope to see you soon!
The fun run has been a resounding success – to date, a whopping $43,000 has been raised for the animal shelter, reports WFTV News. Haley told the news agency how the run has evolved over the years, “My fun run started out really small, when I was 9 and there were only 12 runners.” She added, “Now I’m up to a couple hundred runners and I’ve raised over $43,000, which I never thought would be possible. If you really want to do something in your community and make a change, just set a goal and try your best.”
Haley’s hard work has been recognized – in 2016 she was recognized as a Kids Who Care winner, and recently, she was honored by the Crayons and Collars Pawsitive Impact Kid program which recognizes the efforts of children (K-12) who make “extraordinary efforts” to help animals.
Haley intends to keep up her work on behalf of the homeless animals – according to 11 Alive News she wants to raise $100,000 for the shelter before she graduates from high school. Haley shared inspiring, albeit simple, words of advice for others who would like to make a difference, “Believe in yourself and take action.”
Find the Kingswood Fun Run website here.
Atlanta Humane Society website here.
Find the Atlanta Humane Society’s link to the fun run fundraiser here.
Crayons and Collars website here.
(Images via Kingswood Fun Run/Atlanta Humane Society Facebook page and screenshots via 11 Alive News and WFTV News)