At our May 2016 Member Event, we met a lot of PRC donors, but one really stuck out from the bunch. Shawn Kayley Sullivan, a bright and chatty 10 year old, donated the proceeds from her lemonade stand and was able to support the annual medical, nutritional and enrichment needs of chimpanzee Noelle through our Primate Pals adoption program!
Let’s learn a little bit more about this determined young lady…
Q: Shawn Kayley, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am 10 years old. I live in Florence, Kentucky. I just finished 5th grade at Goodridge Elementary and will be attending 6th grade at Conner Middle School next year. Activities I enjoy other than fund-raising are acting, dancing (Hip-Hop), hanging out with my friends, and protesting (in a positive, reinforcing way.) I like to support my opinions by marching down the street with a sign on a stick. The main cause that I support is to stop animal abuse.
Q: Have you always been interested in primates?
I actually have not always been interested in primates. My favorite animal used to be a meerkat until I read a National Geographic book featuring a story about the Primate Rescue Center. This book completely changed my option on these awesome creatures.
Q: How did you first learn of the Primate Rescue Center?
I first learned about the PRC from reading a National Geographic book titled Tiger In Trouble. The PRC was featured in one of the three stories within this book. Tiger In Trouble was my required summer reading book.
Q: Do you have a favorite species of primate?
My favorite primate species are the chimpanzees. I favor this species of primates over the others because they are so much like humans. The minor differences between humans and chimpanzees makes the chimps incredible and really funny.
Q: What gave you the idea to fundraise for the Primate Rescue Center?
I got the idea to fundraise for the PRC from the “How to Help” page from the story “Suzie, Caleb, & Bob: The Three Monkeyteers” [in Tiger In Trouble.] It gave me the idea to create a care package for the primates, so I decided to do that. After a few days of my family members and I gathering supplies my mom suggested that I involve my friends. So, I decided that I wanted to have my 9th birthday at the Boone County Public Library because [PRC Sanctuary Manager] Eileen Dunnington was giving a presentation about the PRC that day. My friends and I brought food, toys, and other wish list items for the primates. After the presentation, we all got to meet Eileen and present our donations. Since then, I have been inspired to do more to help the PRC support the primates. I host a lemonade stand every year, take donations to the Member Event, and I am currently sponsoring the amazing chimpanzee Noelle.
Q: What tips do you have for other kids who might want to follow in your footsteps and help primates?
The tips I have for other kids who want to follow in my footsteps are four simple things: do your best, never give up, work hard, and definitely do your research!
Q: What do you think is most important for kids to learn about monkeys and apes?
I think it is most important for kids to learn that even though primates are fascinating and really awesome, they are NOT pets! They need to live free and in their natural habitat.
Q: What career do you think you'll pursue as you get older?
When I am older and in college, I plan on graduating with a degree in animal sciences and becoming a primatologist. Then I will apply at the PRC!