LIBERTY, Mo. - Nadia Higareda digs through what might be a box of rocks to the untrained eye. But to this young artist, there are countless projects inside.
"I see, like the nose right here and the eye," she said, point to one rock. "It's like the head."
Nadia uses the rocks to create colorful animals, the proceeds from which go to a local animal shelter.
The 4th grader at Warren Hills Elementary in Liberty came up with the idea for her PEAK assignment. PEAK stands is personalized enrichment for the advancement of knowledge.
"My teacher, she said we had to make the world a better place in some way." Nadia Higareda explained. "I raised my hand and I asked if I could help animals like at the animal shelter. And she said that would be fine."
Nadia finds her ideas with the help of family and friends. Add some paint in her studio at the dining room table, and these tiny masterpieces come to life.
She set a goal to raise $450 for the Liberty Animal Shelter by the first of April -- a goal she quickly surpassed.
"I've raised over $1,000," she said. "I think I've raised $1,100!"
Nadia hopes the money will be used for food, beds and other animal supplies. She said it's a way of helping animals because she can't have a pet of her own.
"I like animals, but I can't have them because, like, I'm allergic to animals," she said. "Like dogs and cats."
In Liberty, the police department helps runs the animal shelter. They haven't met with Nadia yet, but say they look forward to it.