Matsuyama’s Robotics Team collects pet food, toys for animal shelter

e-Connections Post Matsuyama

Ten students from Matsuyama Elementary School are teaming up to help animals in need.

The girls and boys are members of the Matsuyama Robotics Team, which participates in the First LEGO League, a worldwide organization that challenges future leaders and innovators to apply science, technology, engineering and math concepts (STEM) to solve real-world problems. The topic for the 2016 challenge is Animal Allies. Young people are encouraged to learn more about animal and human interactions, identify a problem and create and implement a solution.

After researching the challenge and speaking with several local veterinarians and animal shelter staff members, the Matsuyama Robotics Team will focus on the issue of the number of animals in our community shelters. The team’s goal is to help decrease this number while fostering an overall sense of compassion and responsibility among community members toward animals.

During the month of October, the team will conduct a pet food and toy drive to benefit animals at the Front Street Animal Shelter. By collecting food to be distributed by Front Street’s pet food pantry, the team can help keep animals in their homes and out of shelters. They’ll also share information with fellow students and community members about the importance of microchipping, spaying and neutering, and fostering to help reduce the number of animals in shelters. And for those animals who are at the shelter, toys will help relieve stress and keep them happier while they await adoption.

“What’s impressed me about this team is there is no problem they feel they can’t solve,” said Mike Mullen, Matsuyama Robotics Team’s long-time coach. “In fact, it was hard to focus on only one problem—they want to save all the animals.”

The team is comprised of Matsuyama Elementary School fifth and sixth graders Alexandra Dinh, Sora Ezzell, Christopher Fetros, Sean Fetros, Ella Fowler, Brooklyn Horst, Togo Kurosaki, Connor Lee, Kianna Nakaoka and Jonah Reynolds.

The team will collect pet food and toys during a month-long school-wide drive. Team members will also share information about Front Street and pet overpopulation while collecting donations at their booth during the annual Matsuyama Harvest Festival on October 21.

Through October 27, community members interested in supporting the drive may drop off donations during business hours at the Front Street Animal Shelter (2127 Front St.), Incredible Pets (392 Florin Road) and the Sacramento Cat Hospital (4115 Manzanita Ave., Carmichael).

The team plans to deliver all pet food and toy donations to Front Street after school adjourns on Friday, October 28.

For more information about how you can donate, please contact Irene Fujishima Nakaoka, the team’s assistant coach, at (916) 541-2908.