Superintendent’s Spotlight: Teddy Gower, C.J. Dumas and Maya Dumas


Superintendent’s Spotlight: Teddy Gower, C.J. Dumas and Maya Dumas

October 28, 2019

Two Sanfordville Elementary third-graders and a Warwick Valley Middle School fifth-grader are “rocking it” with their efforts to support the Warwick Valley Humane Society through the sale of…. rocks!

Third-graders Teddy Gower and C.J. Dumas and fifth-grader Maya Dumas recently came up with the idea of selling painted and natural-colored rocks to raise money for the humane society to use to buy food and/or other useful supplies for the animals living there.

The idea germinated while the three were hanging out in a sandbox one afternoon and found some rocks among the sand. 

‘The Clean Up Kids’

Teddy Gower and C.J. Dumas and  Maya DumasAs part of their sandbox chat, they realized a business opportunity possibly existed for them and eventually decided to name their grassroots business “The Clean Up Kids.”  In addition to helping neighbors with garbage and recycling collection, they were hopeful to also collect some rocks from those neighbors’ properties, presumably because they needed to build a rock inventory.    

“I said we should paint the rocks and sell them,” said Teddy.  “We decided we would give the money to the animal shelter (humane society). We thought it would be good so the animals wouldn’t die.” 

C.J. agreed, adding: “Maya is ‘into’ animals. She told us that if we raise money for the animal shelter, it would be good. We took my sister’s advice. We found rocks of different sizes and colored and decorated them.”

Maya was glad her brother and his friend listened to her suggestion.

“I know sometimes they (humane society staff) have hard times getting food for the animals,” she said. “I’ve always liked doing good things for animals.” 

Painting rocks is a trend popping up nationwide. While some people paint rocks and hide them for others to find via clues, others paint rocks with special inspirational words or messages that people keep.

The trio clearly were aware of the trend, hopeful that people would buy their natural and colored minerals to support their efforts.

They priced their rocks to be attractive to prospective buyers: 25 cents and 50 cents, with the larger rocks for sale at $1 each.

Their marketing efforts and pricing strategy proved to be successful, with the trio raising $31.44 (the extra change came from donations) for their initial sales period. The funds were presented to the humane society in early October, with the group keeping a very small amount as additional seed money to purchase future supplies.

Taking an active role in the welfare of animals

Teddy Dumas at humane shelterIn a thank you note, the humane society told the students that it always appreciates when “young people share our love for our animal companions and take an active role in their welfare.”

Additionally, the note said the funds would be used as a “safe haven and the best of care and comfort for all our homeless shelter pets.”

The trio felt so good about their efforts that they are now planning to continue their rock painting/decorating efforts and raise more money for the humane society.  Look for their newest “rock products” in November.  

Equally important, C.J., Teddy and Maya also felt rock buyers understood the importance of their work.

“This is good for the community too,” added C.J., “because they can also help the animals.” 

Teddy noted by helping the humane society, the organization becomes a stronger place in the community.

The added takeaway for Maya was the importance of the group’s customers.

“I’m grateful to the people who supported us,” she said. “I figured if we supported the animal shelter, they would appreciate that we were trying to help the animals. And, they did. It’s okay to help others and not keep anything for yourself.”    

Each week, Warwick Valley Central School District Superintendent Dr. David Leach shines his “Superintendent’s Spotlight” on one of Warwick Valley’s amazing students. This week, it’s a group of students. “Superintendent’s Spotlight” features students who reach goals, achieve accomplishments, face challenges and/or are role models to their peers.






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