Philadelphia resident Lizzie Penna is a normal 10-year-old girl. She goes to elementary school. She draws, writes, reads, and listens to music. But what’s different about Lizzie is that at the mere age of 7, she started her own nonprofit animal organization, Peace for Puppies. The irony? Lizzie’s allergic to animals.
After watching Oprah Winfrey’s famous puppy mill episode, Lizzie was on a mission. “Once I saw how animals were being treated, I had to do something about it,” she said. Unable to volunteer at a shelter due to her age, she sought other ways to help animals and thus Peace for Puppies was born.
Peace for Puppies’ main goal is to provide supplies and donations to local Pennsylvania animal shelters and rescue organizations. Lizzie’s mom, Ali, helps her with networking and finances, but leaves the major decisions, such as where to make donations for each fundraiser, up to Lizzie. Over the past few years, Peace for Puppies has made some valuable connections.
“We have connected with people from different shelters and rescues who have been great to our organization, and we really make an effort to donate to these places,” Lizzie said. “But we try to evenly spread out our donations.”
Lizzie has organized bake sales, car washes, and lemonade stands, among other efforts, to raise funds for animal shelters and rescue organizations. In fact, according to an article about her in the Ardmore-Merion-Wynnewood Patch, Lizzie’s first bake sale amassed nearly $500. When she’s not in school or brainstorming ideas for Peace for Puppies’ next fundraiser, Lizzie can be found speaking to children at local schools about humane animal treatment and ways that children can help the cause. She encourages her peers to visit local shelters, to collect shelter supplies through their schools and communities, and to hold fundraisers.
“I talk a lot about puppy mills, dogfighting, and animal cruelty, because that’s what I’m interested in, but I encourage kids to pursue whatever it is they believe in,” said Lizzie. “If you follow your dreams, anything can happen for you.”
When asked about her future plans for Peace for Puppies, Lizzie was certain. “I want to make it a bigger organization and do this for the rest of my life. I want to pass it on to my kids. After all, they are the next generation and we need to keep this going until everything’s right in the world.”
Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 2, when Peace for Puppies is holding a bowling benefit for the Humane Society’s Philadelphia End Dogfighting Campaign. At Wynnewood Lanes from 6-9 pm, $20 will get you unlimited bowling and drinks, two slices of pizza, and games — and Peace for Puppies has even secured a DJ to turn this event into a dance party! Attendees are encouraged to bring shelter supplies in the form of towels, blankets, food, treats, toys, cleaning supplies, leashes, collars, etc. to provide to needy shelter animals. One stipulation: no pets are allowed at this fundraiser.
Donations to Peace for Puppies can be made here. To join the Peace for Puppies Facebook fan page, click here. You can also contact the organization via email.
A special thank you to Lizzie for taking part in this interview. She has changed the lives of not only many shelter animals, but also the people she reaches with her inspirational words and actions. Lizzie, you are a true star and a role model for people everywhere — of ALL ages! Keep up the good work!