TOWANDA — Angelica Lauber, 9, isn’t trying to become a celebrity — her dream is to be a zookeeper. But her passion for animals and nature is leading to action and noteriety.
“She does videos on animals,” said Cristin Lauber, Angelica’s mother. “She has gotten behind-the-scenes experiences and has her own Youtube channel and Facebook page for that.”
She’s also been writing books, operating a lending library at a pizza shop and appearing on television news shows in Wichita.
“She has big dreams. She wants to work at the Australia Zoo one day, then come back (to Towanda) and open up her own rescue-only zoo and wildlife hospital,”
Diagnosed with autism, Angelica has become a human dynamo at the age of 9, and at the age of 7, she started making an impact on her hometown of Towanda.
It was at the age of 7 that she started organizing the Little Clean Up Crew — and at age 8 she was feted with the Outstanding Citizenship Award by the city of Towanda.
“It is usually a couple of kids and their moms,” said Matt Engles, city administrator of Towanda. “They pick a different part of town, go exploring and take trash bags with them and clean up along the way.”
The city of Towanda posts invitations to the group’s meetings on its Facebook page to support the effort.
“This is fun and it helps makes things look better here,” Engles said.
Angelica started the group in July 2018, posting posters to tell the community where the group will meet. When she hatched the idea, she first talked to her school. She then went to city hall. All along the way, she found support for her project.
As many as 16 people have gathered to explore a part of town and pick up trash. Those volunteers have ranged in age from 1 to 70.
“As a parent, I didn’t really expect this to take off,” said Cristin Lauber. “But she has stuck with it and she has no intention of stopping it anytime soon. She loves doing it. She is getting more popular, and more people are coming out the last few months — especially kids.”
And the community has taken notice.
Facebooker Jan Jack posted: “This is absolutely amazing. Good work kiddos,” when seeing photos on the Towanda Facebook site — that was coupled by “Thank you for your wonderful service keeping Towanda clean” from Jane Nitcher.
The Lauber family has been there every month, ready to pick up some trash — no matter the size of group that might come to help or if there is a trip to the park with newfound friends after the work is done.
“Her biggest goal is to make the world a better place,” Cristin said. “She is a fun-loving 9-year-old, but at the same time she has big dreams and she is going for it. As long as she and everyone has fun, that is the biggest thing.”