Custom pet portraits by the student led Animal Aid and Welfare Club at Westview Secondary School. (Special to The News)

Custom pet portraits by the student led Animal Aid and Welfare Club at Westview Secondary School. (Special to The News)

Maple Ridge student group using artistic talents to raise money for ARMS

Original holiday cards for sale and custom portraits by commission

The student led Animal Aid and Welfare Club at Westview Secondary School is showcasing their artistic talents to raise money for the Alouette River Management Society .

There are five members of the club – all talented painters – who have designed holiday cards featuring wildlife like bees and flowers, local frogs and birds, and are selling them with the goal of raising $500 for the local environmental society. They are also offering their skills for commissioned portraits – both pet and human.

Founding member Lily Wang said the group wants to help animals in need, to help protect and improve their quality of life. In the past, she said, the group focused on domestic animals, donating money to the local branch of the BC SPCA and Katie’s Place, a shelter for cats.

This year the group wanted to shine some attention on the importance of helping local wildlife.

“Many wild animals are faced with more threats because of constant pressures from the community such as irresponsible development and habitat destruction, over exploitation, and the introduction of invasive species and diseases to the local population,” explained Wang.

“We believe that it is important for us, as young local citizens, to protect and preserve our local ecosystem including the native species that depend on the

land. This is why we chose to donate to ARMS,” she said.

However, added Wang, the group does this out of passion and on their free time.

Wang had wanted to adopt a dog but she wasn’t in a position to do so. So her mother prompted her to try to make a positive change in the world in a different way. So Wang and her friends started the club in 2017 when they were in Grades 6 and 7.

From January 2020- August 2021 they raised close to $5,000. They donated $1,000 to International Animal Rescue, and split the rest of the money to other charities including, but not limited to: VOKRA, Katie’s Place, RAPS, OWL,West Coast Environmental Law, Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society, and ARMS.

“Since we split our funds across so many charities, we were only able to donate $500 to the ARMS,” said Wang. “This season we hope to raise at least another $500 for them.”

The holiday cards are being sold in packs of three with the same design for $10, packs of three with mixed designs for $12, and packs of six with mixed designs for $15.

Custom portraits are usually done in watercolour, graphite pencils, charcoal, or acrylic. But the group also enjoys experimenting with different styles and mediums like pyrography, digital art, gouache, cartoon style, illustration style, and pixel art style.

READ MORE: Westview students painting pet portraits for animal rescue

ALSO: Westview animal club makes generous donation to ARMS

However, they have taken as many as they can complete for Christmas and are now taking orders for 2022.

Or, Wang suggested, clients can purchase their cards to let recipients know that their gift is being custom made and will be ready soon.

The group will be donating 50 per cent of total money collected and the other 50 per cent will be going to the artists to cover the cost of materials and time.

“This supports young artists in the group – such as myself – so we can reinvest the money in things like higher quality material to complement our improving skills,” noted Wang.

Wang wants to thank everyone who have helped the club achieve their fundraising goals, including Coach Mac and other adults who provided them with guidance.

To purchase cards or to commission a custom portrait contact the club by email: aawc753@gmail.com or Instagram: @animalaidandwelfareclub. Cards can either mailed directly to the customer or picked up at Westview Secondary School at 20905 Wicklund Ave., Maple Ridge.


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Custom holiday cards by the student led Animal Aid and Welfare Club at Westview Secondary School. (Special to The News)

Custom holiday cards by the student led Animal Aid and Welfare Club at Westview Secondary School. (Special to The News)