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Puppies Make Vista Charter Walk-A-Thon More Awesome

Vista Charter Academy recently held its first event welcoming families back to the school. The staff could not have picked a better day to hold a Walk-A-Thon as there was sunshine and temperatures hit the 80s.
“It was an hour and a half of just awesomeness and adorableness for the first event back at school since COVID hit,” co-event organizer and kindergarten-eighth grade art teacher Amanda Blair said. “This event was also a great way for Vista to show support and compassion for the community around them.”
 Adults holding puppies.
Hearts of Hope Dog Rescue foster moms hold their puppies at the Vista Charter Walk-A-Thon.

Vista’s Walk-A-Thon was held in partnership with Hearts of Hope Dog Rescue, which had eight adoptable puppies and an adult dog at the April 23 morning event. It was a way to empower the staff, students, and their families to work with the community and help to raise money for Hearts of Hope Dog Rescue and for playground equipment at Vista.
Families and staff donated $5 to participate in the Walk-A-Thon, and if you wanted to give one of the dogs a walk, people donated an additional dollar. The total raised by the Walk-A-Thon was $424. Forty-two families and 23 staff members attended or donated funds to the cause.
Children holding puppies. These two Vista Scholars are going to take this puppy for a walk for a $1 donation.
“What was nice with this event is that all school-age levels could participate, and they did,” Blair said. “We also had Kentwood Parks & Recreation staff here with information about summer programs.”
The committee had coffee, water, and healthy snacks. They held a raffle, and those who attended were able to win all sorts of gift cards.

People holding a puppy.
Good weather, exercise, and doggy snuggles, it just doesn't get any better than that.

“The Moral Focus and Wellness Committees organized this event for Vista. We wanted to do something that was health focused and community based,” Blair said. “I chair the Moral Focus Committee and Stefanie Gillett, physical education teacher, chairs the wellness committee. Hosting a healthy community activity helped us meet a grant requirement as well.”
Other committee members besides Blair and Gillett were Bruce Boman and Emily Zamudio.
Students walking a puppy outside.These kids enjoy helping this puppy get some exercise.
An additional benefit is that a few families completed dog adoption applications at the event. Hearts of Hope Dog Rescue does not have a building. Its dogs are fostered by volunteers until an adoption is made. A few people were also considering fostering, as well.
 Two children holding a puppy.

The organization has 216 volunteers, has adopted 2,400 dogs, and changed the lives of 11,647 people. Blair, who has taught at Vista for 19 years, adopted a dog six years ago, Cory Robinson, music teacher, has adopted a dog, and Gillett adopted a dog three weeks ago!
What a passionate group of students, families, and staff who took an opportunity to get some exercise, raise some money, and a few may even adopt or foster a new pet. Great job Vista Team!

Vista Charter Academy is a free public charter school in Grand Rapids, Mich., serving students in Young 5s through eighth grade. National Heritage Academies (NHA), a charter school management company in Grand Rapids, Mich. has over 95 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, visit