Smiling and joking with each other, six McCloud High School students and their teacher worked in the chilling wind raking leaves and cleaning the grounds around the Siskiyou Humane Society buildings Friday morning in Mount Shasta.

It was their way of getting involved in International Pay It Forward Day.

Associated Student Body students at McCloud High wanted to pay it forward so they called around to see who needed help, said teacher Becky Mock, the school’s ASB advisor.

“I like animals a lot,” said sophomore Megan Proctor. “I think it’s fun to help out here and make it better for the animals.”

Shelter manager Kim Latos said the kids were cleaning the grounds in preparation for the new facility’s grand opening.

This kind of community help allows the staff more time to work with the animals, according to Latos, who said, “It touches my heart.”

Other projects included cleaning out a large container storage unit filled with crates the shelter uses for transporting animals.

“It was a big mess and now we’re getting it organized,” said Latos, who was helped by junior Sarah Mero on that project.

Sarah said she hasn’t done community service with the school before, but her family is big on helping people.

Later in the day, the students planned to work at New 2 You and Paws & Shop thrift stores and have lunch at Say Cheese Pizza.

Before the students left the Humane Society, Latos made sure they had a chance to play with the puppies.

Pay It Forward Day was inspired by the book and movie with the same name. According to www.payitforwardday.com, “There is tremendous power and positive energy in giving – it is a shame that not enough people have experienced it to the fullest. Pay It Forward Day is about all people, from all walks of life giving to someone else and making a positive difference.”

The website states they have more than 80 countries participating in Pay it Forward Day with more than 70 state and city proclamations.