Georgia Stories

Susan Littlejohn, Ellijay

(Nominated by Jill Strauzer)
Gilmore High School
July 30, 2011

Susan Littlejohn, founder of Build an Ark has engaged in animal rescue and care for more than three decades.  She established the Build an Ark Animal Rescue foundation in 2010 serving as a full time home to a “core group” of animals and temporary respite for lost and wounded animals in need of care.  The animals Susan raises and cares for are heroes too by extension of her commitment to impact her community.  The animals that call Build an Ark their home provide an amazing therapeutic environment to special needs children, at risk children (juvenile offenders on the mend) and area senior citizens.  Susan’s love, devotion and unique knowledge about animals make her a hero to area children and seniors as well as their families. Build an Ark isn’t just a home for the animals it’s a safe space for young people to confront challenges, build on daily living skills and develop confidence and self-worth by working with and nurturing the animals who in turn are just bound to love them too! Susan shares her loving creatures with area seniors as a form of therapeutic intellectual and tactile stimulation bringing smiles and lots of looking forward to the next visit! Susan is well-respected by judges in both Gilmer and Pickens County courts.  Judges assign many “at risk” young people who would otherwise face punitive and less productive consequences to fulfill community service through Build an Ark. The service they do for the animals side by side with Susan lends itself to amazing personal growth. The kids work hard and are well cared for and supported in return.  Lessons of responsibility, dignity and humility may be what allow vulnerable young people to grow into strong and dignified adults.  Susan gives these special young people tremendous love and encouragement without judgment.