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Local teen opts out of birthday presents

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-20 18:34:19-05

On your birthday, I’m sure one thing you look forward to is getting presents, but one local teenager doesn't want gifts at all this year. Instead. she wants to help out a few of her four-legged friends.

Ever since she was 6 years old, Karlie Smick has opted out of birthday presents.

“She told me that Santa Claus brought her enough presents that she did not need presents for her birthday,” said her mom, Kelly Smick. She added, “I said well maybe we can do a fundraiser for a local rescue, and it took off from there.”

And now the 14-year old has spent her last eight birthdays raising money and collecting items for the local animal shelter.

She said, “I’ve always had a love for animals and I just felt like helping the animals that really didn’t get all that much help.”

Last year she collected more than a ton of items for the shelter and raised over $15,000 for the spay and neuter fund.

He mom said, “it has grown a lot over the years…she has raised probably over $6,000 in cash and the amount of supplies grows every year.”

And from doggie treats to leashes and toys, Karlie has collected over 100 different items this year to donate to the shelter—and it's still not over yet.

She’s put the word out to her community for help and every year they’ve responded.

“At Schild’s IGA we have a big bin set up for people when they go in and go shopping and when they exit the store they can go ahead and place it in the bin” said Kelly Smick.

Kevin Schild, Store Manager at Schild’s IGA, describes Karlie’s efforts as an inspiration.

He said, “This is really great for her and her future and the community also.”

Even her school is pitching in.

“At the school we’re having a little competition between the grades,” she tells us, "and whatever grade brings in the most donations gets a pizza party.”

And while she only does this once a year for her birthday… she said when she grows up caring for animals is what she wants to do forever.

“One of the major things I wanted to do that did involve animals was be a veterinarian just so that I can keep helping them as much as I can.”

And her mom continues to be amazed.

“I choke up, I mean I’m very proud of her…most of them want gifts, birthday cakes, parties. Mine, all she wanted to do was help someone else.”

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