KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Five University of Tennessee students have partnered with Young-Williams Animal Center to raise money for the shelter.

The students have created a crowdfunding campaign called Acclaimed Animal Association to raise money for the Animal Compassion fund. This fund provides resources needed to treat animals with medical conditions or behavioral problems that would otherwise render them unadoptable.

Carmen Shepheard, the Volunteer Coordinator at Young Williams, said the animal compassion fund is for “all types of surgeries…and to ensure [the animals] get the medical care that they need, and our vets are happy to do it.” The fund aims to give every animal the chance to find a forever home.

Maddie Allen, Ryleigh Penree, Gracie Adamson, Caroline Patterson, and Quentin Tay created the campaign together for their English 225 Public Writing Course as a way to give back to the Knoxville community. They have worked closely with Young-Williams over the past three months to create the campaign and are eager to reach their $1500 goal. So far, they have raised $355 on their GoFundMe.

“Every time I think about the animals we are raising money for, I think about my cat who was a stray before I rescued her when I was about 10 years old. I gave her a completely different life and I want to help Young Williams give that chance to other animals as well,” said Allen, a sophomore majoring in Retail and Merchandising Management.

“When we found Young Williams and met with them I knew they were the right organization to partner with,” said Penree, a sophomore majoring in Sociology with a concentration in Criminology.

All five of the students share a desire to help animals. Adamson, a sophomore majoring in Business Analytics, grew up rescuing dogs with her family, this taught her that one person can make a huge difference in an animal’s life. Patterson, a sophomore majoring in Finance, is said “to wish nothing but the best for the homeless animals of Knoxville” and hopes that through hard work and determination, the Acclaimed Animal Association can reach its goal. Tay, a junior majoring in Accounting, hopes this campaign will help Young-Williams continue building relationships between humans and animals.

On average, Young-Williams takes in 10,000 animals a year. This year, Young-Williams has already seen a large increase in animals in their shelter. On April 6, the animal center announced that their satellite location on Kingston Pike was closed as the shelter worked to relocate some of the pets.

To learn more about the Animal Compassion Fund, click here. In 2022, WATE reported on how the fund was used to care for ‘Bridget’ after she was found near a dumpster. The fund allowed Young-Williams to offer the dog comfort in her last days.