"She does so many wonderful things in her life that make her such a special kid," Lisa says. "So I wanted to share that with other children, other young girls her age."
Because Claire loves animals—she has two dogs and two cats—Lisa, her husband Leonard and Claire decide to help Friends of the Animals, a rescue group for cats and dogs. They buy supplies—food, blankets, towels and bleach—for the organization and throw in an additional $200 in cash.
Next, they find a pet for Sela, Claire's pen pal in Ghana, who is very lonely. They arrange to buy a cat and put together a pet-owner starter kit for Sela, including fuzzy toys and a book on cats. Lisa's family arranges to pay for pet food and veterinary bills, too!
"I'm so excited," Lisa says. "When she gets her kitten … she'll be so happy. I really think that's going to change her life—having that cat."
Lisa donates the remaining $400, plus $10—two week's allowance from Claire—to Pasadena Junior Theatre, where Claire studies acting and production. She designs a card for the gift. It says, "Dear PJT, I hope your doors never close. You guys are the best. Love, Claire Petrus."
Lisa, Claire and Leonard enjoyed finding ways to spend the money and plan to keep "paying it forward."
"I loved sharing this with my family!" Lisa says.