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Goat movement goes on

'Goat Lady' Rosalind Russell inspires teen to start club at high school to raise money for goats for Nepalese villages.

December 29, 2011|By Joanna Clay
  • Some of the many goat-shaped holiday sugar cookies sold for the fundraiser.
Some of the many goat-shaped holiday sugar cookies sold…

A goat might not seem like an important asset. Most don't own one and never will. However, in Nepalese villages, the introduction of a goat can completely change their economy.

Lagunan Rosalind Russell, founder of the R Star Foundation and the "Women Helping Women and Children ... Therefore the World" campaign, learned this when she first brought a goat to Nepal as a gift and watched the village transform. Russell buys goats in the mountains of Nepal and gives them to village women through a lottery system.

Most commonly referred to as the "Goat Lady" in town, Russell has now inspired a younger soul to champion her cause.

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Teens form Goat Club

Alia Manetta, 16, first learned about Russell when she was trying to find a community service project. She began by helping Russell with social media over the summer. When the school year started, she wanted to do more to contribute to the R Star Foundation's cause and decided to start the Goat Club at Laguna Beach High School.

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She's raised nearly $500 for the nonprofit since the academic year started.

About $200 will buy a goat, so Alia can have the pleasure of knowing that two more families will get a gift they might not have otherwise.

The club held its first fundraiser on Dec. 17, selling dozens of handmade goat-shaped cookies in creative packaging. With more than 40 dozen sold, Alia called the first event a success.

She also designed whimsical T-shirts featuring a goat and a bright illustration for her members. The Facebook group has 74 members and counting.

"I am so fortunate to have what I have living in Laguna," the high school junior said. "To know that I could help someone else that wasn't born with these opportunities ... it's just great."

The goats offer Nepalese families more opportunities, she said. They not only provide milk and cheese, but also a chance for families to breed or sell them.

Alia plans to do more fundraisers in the future.

Russell said she couldn't be more proud of Alia's initiative.

"I was so surprised," she said. "It's the wonderful thing about working with young people — they have ideas."

Russell pointed out that Alia took time out of her busy schedule — which includes sports, jazz ensemble and maintaining a 4.6 GPA — to start this club.

"They're compassionate about people so far away that they haven't met," she said. "Who would think that these young kids would think that way? I'm impressed."

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First goats, then education

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