Young ‘rock stars’ raise money for local animal hospital

Nov 15, 2020

At only seven years old, Dartmouth resident Julia Franzese already knows she wants to spend the rest of her life making sure pets are properly cared for. 

Worried about any dogs potentially unable to get vet care because a family can’t afford it, she wanted to find a way to raise money to make sure any pet that comes in can get treated.

That’s why she, along with her neighbor Julian Raposo, 6, started selling customized rocks through their new business: Rocky Roads Art Studio.

Upon reaching their goal of $100 the week before Halloween, the two gladly gave it all to Chase Farm Veterinary Hospital on Ventura Drive — Julia’s favorite place to visit when her dog goes for a checkup.

“I thought if I start my own business I could talk to my friends and make sure they’d be okay with giving money to the vet,” Julia said. “I know if I started it with my sister, she probably would have given the money to something else.” 

Assistant practice manager Bill Boyce said that staff were “overjoyed when Dartmouth's two newest ‘rock stars’ called” to place their donation.

Throughout the summer, the young artists/philanthropists would ask neighbors if they were interested in getting a rock for their donation. When a donor agreed, Julia would ask what kind of design they wanted and then “would do the best to draw it.”

“It was really fun to see them reach their mark,” mother Melanie Franzese said. “They worked so hard toward it.” 

Along with the concern for families not having enough money, a big reason for wanting to support Chase Farm, Franzese said, is because Julia hopes to become a veterinarian herself when she grows up.

“When we take our dog in for his yearly physical, she usually comes in to take notes and always asks what the vet is doing,” Franzese laughed. “She’s really quite the character.” 

According to Julia, the driving force behind her interest in becoming a veterinarian is because of how much she loves her family dog and “wanted to pet more puppies.”

“I thought a vet would be a good job to play with more puppies,” she said. 

As for her inspiration to make rocks her commodity of choice, her mother said “she just kind of started picking up rocks in the backyard” and asked if people would like it if she wrote on them.

Even after reaching her fundraising goal, Julia said she plans to continue with her support of Chase Farm with a new aim: raise $101.  

“I’ll probably start that in a couple of days — I don’t know,” she said.