Brighton School students working to assist animal rescue organization

Brighton School students Sierra Noble, from Edmonds, and Anna Whitaker, from Richmond Beach, with Ringo from Pasado's Safe Haven.

On Sunday, Jan. 8, middle school students at Lynnwood-based Brighton School will wield brushes, drop cloths and paint to help Pasado’s Safe Haven, an animal rescue organization in Sultan, spruce up “Kitty City” and “Dog Towne” cabins in need of some TLC.

Brighton School forms teams each year to participate in Destination ImagiNation, a non-profit organization that provides educational programs for students  to learn and experience creativity, teamwork and problem solving.

Brighton’s middle school team took on a unique challenge called projectOUTREACH in which students had to study community needs, select one and carry out a volunteer project.

The 12- and 13-year-olds researched a variety of community issues, with the goal of selecting one to which they could dedicate their time and make a lasting difference. Sixth-grader Anna Whitaker agreed to learn more about an animal rescue organization called Pasado’s Safe Haven and was deeply moved by what she read.  She told her peers about Pasado, a beloved petting zoo donkey at Kelsey Creek Farm in Bellevue that was tortured and killed in the middle of the night by three area teens in April 1992. The senseless death moved a small group of dedicated individuals to write the “Pasado Bill,” making intentional animal cruelty a felony.

Today, Pasado’s Safe Haven is located on 85 pastoral acres and provides the 24-hour rescue and rehabilitation of dogs, cats and farm animals. The registered 501(c)3 non-profit also matches animal lovers with room in their hearts with dogs, cats or farm animals looking for a place to call “home.”

Although Pasado’s Safe Haven got national attention in 2000 when Oprah Winfrey aired a segment featuring Pasado’s story, Anna and the other students talked it over and were convinced they didn’t need to be superstars to have an impact.  So, their seven-person team created a plan to make a difference by raising money, volunteering their time and increasing public awareness.

In addition to painting, the students are holding multiple school bake sales featuring animal-themed baked goods. The students have also distributed donation jars at local area businesses and plan to make a recorded public service announcement to air at a school assembly.

For more information about how you can help Pasado’s Safe Haven by donating, volunteering or adopting a special pet, visit

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