GLOUCESTER , MASS. (WHDH) - A 14-year-old from Gloucester recently lent a helping hand to clean up a local animal shelter, giving back as part of a project to earn the highest award a girl scout cadette can receive. 

Speaking with 7NEWS, cadette Jocelyn Maddalena said she hopes the dogs staying at the shelter will have a fun place to play while they wait for their forever homes. 

“My dogs love rolling around in the grass,” Maddalena said. “And I know all dogs do. And to have that instead of rocks must feel much better on their feet, so they would be happier.” 

Maddalena said she wanted to give back to Cape Ann Animal Aid. Last year, as a result, she spoke with administrators at the facility to find out how she could help. 

“When I saw the play yards, I knew right away that I wanted to do that,” Maddalena said. 

She continued, saying she was told the yards weren’t being used much and that replacing an existing bed of rocks with grass would help. 

Maddalena wasted no time, reaching out to eight different landscaping companies and finding volunteers to help her give back. 

Local landscapers helped her dig up the rocks that littered the play yards, transplanting them along a nearby path and donating supplies. 

Maddalena also held a toy drive for the dogs at a local pet store, raising $600 in donations and toys. 

Her mother said it was impressive to see Maddalena take on such a big project. 

“I mean, she started this project when she was 13,” Christine Maddalena said. 

“She’s learned a lot of skills through doing this project, so I’m very proud,” Christine continued.

Beyond bringing joy to dogs waiting for their new homes, Maddalena’s project has earned her the Silver Award. 

Speaking this week, Christine Maddalena said she knows this is just the beginning for her daughter. 

“She’s very ambitious,” Christine said. “She has big dreams. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The Cape Ann Animal Aid shelter will have a ribbon cutting on the new play yard on June 5 where Maddalena will be presented with her cadette Silver Award. 

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