WATERVILLE — The Humane Society Waterville Area was considering canceling its annual open house this year because of lack of volunteers.

But then a group of local teenagers stepped in to help in honor of fellow Mount Merici Academy graduate Cassidy Charette who died in a hayride accident in October.

About 25 members of the Mount Merici Young Alums, made up of eighth through 12th graders who have graduated from the Waterville Catholic school, will be work at the open house noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Many of them are working in memory Charette.

Charette was a volunteer dog-walker at the shelter.

Many of the students who are participating this weekend attended Mount Merici when Charette was a student. Others followed her, but knew her.

“It’s something we wanted to do in honor of her,” said 13-year-old Molly Calkins, who lives in the same neighborhood in Oakland that Charette did and also attended Mount Merici with her.

On Friday, Calkins, her mother, Stephanie Calkins, and a friend, Ella Moore, were busy setting up for the open house, which will include raffles with proceeds to go to the animal shelter, nail painting and face painting and visits with Santa Claus. The humane society is also offering discounted adoption rates for pets.

Visitors are asked to bring a present for the shelter, such as dog food or cat litter, and to decorate the presents with blue ribbons representing Charette’s favorite color.

The goal of the open house is mostly to thank supporters of the humane society for all they do, but last year donations received during the open house also supplied the humane society with most of the dog food it needs for the year, said Margi Hayes, outreach coordinator for the Waterville Area Humane Society. The humane society is also in need of office supplies like paper and light bulbs, copy paper and paper towels, she said.

“It costs a lot of money to care for animals. We have a small endowment, but we also rely heavily on donations,” Hayes said. “Funding is always an issue.”

The event is one of several on-going communities activities in which the member of the Messalonskee High School junior class is being remembered.

Members of the public are invited to the event and Hayes said she especially encourages people who are interested in becoming volunteers to attend. A lack of volunteers is one reason the shelter was considering not having an open house this year. Hayes said she remembers Charette during her training and said that she loved animals.

“I think it’s really wonderful that a lot of people are stepping up after a tragedy like this. Cassidy really inspired all her friends. She was such a light,” said Stephanie Calkins.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm


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