Help support animals

Plumstead Neighbourhood Juniors (PNJ) has embarked on a drive to support vulnerable animals at the SPCA.

PNJ is a wing of Plumstead Neighbourhood Watch (PNW). It is made up of seven children between the ages of 12 and 14 who are involved in safety-related programmes run by the watch.

It was started in 2016 with the aim to teach the children teamwork and how to set goals and achieve them, while giving them insight into social and personal development­.

In the PNW, they are tasked with promoting and running educational programmes for children.

The drive is one of this year’s tasks and they say they decided to support the SPCA because they have witnessed how vulnerable animals suffer without the necessities, especially items to keep them warm during the cold weather.

It is also their way of acknowledging and appreciating the role of the SPCA in the community.

One of the members, Gabriella Mans, has been part of PNJ since its inception. She says it has taught her the importance of giving back and caring for the less fortunate and the SPCA shares this vision.

Talking about their drive, Gabriella says: “The animals don’t have a voice and many of them don’t have homes. People tend to move from homes and leave their dogs without even trying to get them a new home, or the animals escape and the owners do not bother looking for them. I would like to help all animals in finding a loving home where they will be protected and treated properly.”

She appeals to local residents to support the initiative. Among needed items are blankets, scatter cushions, old toys and pet food.

Melissa Wilson, another member, says their involvement in the neighbourhood watch gives them exposure to issues affecting their communities and prepares them to be better future leaders.

She advises young people to consider being activists of their communities from a young age, even if they start by making donations towards existing structures.

Aidan Dearham adds that the more young people are involved in community projects and become familiar with their surroundings, the better the chances of reducing high crime levels and preventing youth from getting involved in illegal activities.

The group has also started planning their next project, an educational trip for local learners.

One of the founders of PNJ, Kirsty Letch, says the idea to establish the group came about after their successful December 2016 event.

“We had a dream and it was the birth of Plumstead Neighbourhood Juniors. After the Christmas event I wanted to begin a junior team. The gift of giving back is something I feel all children should experience at a young age. It teaches them appreciation, compassion, dedication and, let’s be honest, the children have a blast,” says Letch. Limited time, lack of finances and finding and funding suitable venues are the team’s weaknesses.

V To support PNJ, or for more information, email Kirsty at ­secretary@­­­mypnw.­org.za.