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Little Falls boy's dream leads to Saturday zoo fundraiser

Eleven-year-old Gage VanRisseghem has a dream to see a zebra at Pine Grove Zoo.

Recently VanRisseghem attended a member’s day event at the Pine Grove Zoo in Little Falls and he saw a layout for future zoo plans. In the short term plan, he saw that the zoo wanted to obtain a zebra and already had an area for it to live.

He was so excited to see a zebra in the plan, at his favorite zoo; he decided to come up with his own plan for raising the money necessary to purchase it.

With the support of family members and friends, he went to the Pine Grove Zoo director and asked if he could do a fundraiser. Marnita Van Hoecke, zoo director, saw VanRisseghem’s vision and she met with her board of directors. They agreed to let VanRisseghem pursue his dream and the “Sponsor a Stripe” campaign was born.

VanRisseghem was able to easily recruit all 10 of his cousins, from ages 3 months to 11 years, to be on the “Sponsor a Stripe Committee.”

At the first committee meeting several neighborhood children heard about it and asked to join and help. Since that time, more and more children and adults have caught the dream and have asked to be a part of it.

The “Sponsor a Stripe” committee is having a “Zebra Garage Sale Fundraiser” with face painting, finger nail painting and more from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Pine Grove Park Zoo Shelter Building.

Those who want to make a monetary donation, may send it to Pine Grove Zoo, 1200 W. Broadway, Little Falls, MN 56345 attention: “Sponsor a Stripe.” Donations Are Tax Deductible.

VanRisseghem has created several pictures for marketing his event – one of them is being used for an “I Sponsored a Stripe” T-shirt. He is taking orders for shirts now. All proceeds will go towards purchasing a zebra for Pine Grove Zoo.

For more information, please call Cathy at (320) 630-9843.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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