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Girl dedicates bat mitzvah service project to saving animals

CORNING, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - A young local girl is dedicating her bat mitzvah service project to rehabilitating and rescuing animals calling it 'Neila's Pet Promise.'

Neila Goldwyn was originally going to ask guests to just bring donations for local animal shelters and the Kramer Foundation - a nonprofit dedicated to rehabilitating and re-homing dogs that would otherwise end up euthanized for health or behavioral issues, but she realized she didn't want to stop there. 

With the help of the Southern Tier Running Club, the 7th grader at Corning-Painted Post Middle School created a one-mile charity race with all proceeds going to the foundation. 

Her love for animals is undeniable.

"They should be treated like humans," Goldwyn said. "They are living animals too. I always felt like they're not always treated fairly, so I loved taking in pets and everything."

The race at Corning Community College will take place before the school's Red Baron Half Marathon. Attendees can run or walk Neila's race also called the "Smile Mile" either before as a warm up or do it solely. 

The Kramer Foundation is grateful for her efforts.

"When you see young kids stepping up like this and doing community service like this and getting involved, it really gives hope that we're in pretty good shape in future generations," Kramer Foundation Founder Juli Lathrop said. 

Coincidentally, Neila's torah reading portion at her bat mitzvah was Noah's Ark. 

When the race is over, the 12-year-old is committed to extending her service project into professional plans. 

"I'm starting a nonprofit organization," Goldwyn said. "We're going to make dog treats and sell them at local places and all the profits will go to maybe further away places since this is going to be, I'm hoping, for a really long time, you know, like a business of mine."

Pre-registration expired but same-day registration is available. The race begins at 12:00 P.M. on Sunday, November 5 at Corning Community College located at 1 Academic Drive. 

Pet food, money, or other animal-related items will be accepted for donations. 

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