While many teens are posting selfies and updating their status, one eighth-grader used the power of Facebook to help protect some furry friends.

After hearing the need for the Antioch police dogs to have protective vests, Hailey Hartrick decided to raise the money. With the help of her dad, Tom, the Park Middle School student jumped into action asking for donations and even hosting an event to get the much-needed funds.

Her goal was $4,800 but she ended up collecting more than $6,400.

"I was surprised," she said of the generosity of the community. "It's unbelievable."

Her father said she's helped him with Rotary Club of the Delta projects before, and invited her to a meeting when a K-9 dog and an officer would be guests.

"She admires police and thought she'd enjoy meeting (them)," he said.

That evening, she and her father talked about ways to raise money.

She worked on a speech with her mother, and in a short time pleaded her case to the two Antioch Rotary groups.

The two clubs pitched in, and then Hailey led a fundraising event at Tailgaters, where $700 was donated by the Antioch restaurant. A donation bucket at Hailey's table whipped up another $2,000.

Help was also received from Lori Cook, who drummed up about $1,500 from her neighborhood watch area, and another $1,600 came from an anonymous donor.


Advertisement

"Hailey Hartrick has done an outstanding job of raising funds to buy ballistic vests for our canines," said Allan Cantando, chief of police. "This community should applaud Hailey for her efforts and hopefully emulate her mission of giving back to our community. I am very impressed by this young lady."

Naturally, her father is proud. "She has always had a soft spot for police, firemen and EMTs ... her getting the opportunity to meet one of our K9 officers was a joy.

"When (she heard) the dogs had no protection, Hailey wanted to get the money. I was very pleased she wanted to give back."

Park Principal John Jimno is another fan of Hailey. "I think it is great that a student is helping out our police department. Connecting our youth to positive experiences with police is very important," he said. "We are all very proud of Haley. She is a very special young lady and, like many of our students, has a heart of gold.

"I hope to create a platform at Park where students have the opportunity to give back to the community. Most kids have the natural instinct to help out a cause."

Naturally, Hailey has applied to be in the Leadership and Public Service academy at Antioch High. For now, she and her father will be working with the K9 department to "start a campaign for citizens to be able to continue to support this branch of the police," Hartrick said. "There is a lot of expense for the animals and the burden falls on the officers. It is very eye-opening what these dogs mean to a city and how they also help surrounding communities."

To help, visit http://www.ci.antioch.ca.us/CityGov/Police/donation-opportunities.htm, or call 925-779-6963

Reach Trine Gallegos at TrineG@att.net