Bonnie Cleaver

5:48 AM, Feb 26, 2008   |    comments
  • 2008 9Kid Who Cares Bonnie Cleaver
  • Bonnie helps an injured owl
  • Bonnie handles a hawk at the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program in Fort Collins
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Bonnie has been lending a helping hand at the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program in Fort Collins for almost five years.

The program specializes in rehabilitating injured birds of prey.

When the Poudre High School senior started there, she didn't know if she could handle it.

"I used to be very squeamish around everything," she remembers.

Bonnie stuck it out, though, and has since moved from preparing food and cleaning cages to bandaging wings and providing physical therapy. The whole time Bonnie has kept her energy soaring.

"She always has a smile on her face when she comes in and that, in and of itself, is always really enjoyable for a program," says Carin Avila, Director of Education for the raptor program.

Volunteering has paid off for Bonnie.

"It has made me realize what I want to do with my life," she says, "I want to be an exotic animal trainer when I grow up."

In the summer, she follows that passion at the Denver Zoo as a Volunteen. Among her many tasks, Bonnie prepares for wildlife shows and teaches kids about animals.

In all, Bonnie's volunteering has allowed her to stretch her wings.

"Volunteering should not be about how many hours you get or recognition you get from it," she says, "It's about finding something you're passionate about and it's like having a job where it doesn't matter about money because it's a lot of fun and it's something that you want to do with your life."

Please join 9NEWS and College In Colorado in congratulating Bonnie Cleaver, a 2008 9Kid Who Cares.

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