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11-year-old Sanford girl gets results for ducks in her neighborhood

Leah Kelley wrote a letter to the mayor asking for a warning sign

An 11-year-old Sanford girl is driving change in her community after she noticed a problem in her neighborhood park.

It all started with a handwritten letter.

"Dear Mayor Triplett, I'm 11 years old and I live in Sanford. I would like to ask that you at least consider my idea," Mayor Jeff Triplett said as he read the letter out loud.

The letter came from one of Sanford's youngest residents.

"There is a lake at the corner of East 24th street and Bel Air Boulevard that is occupied with ducks. There is a speed table and a speed limit of 25, but I don't think that is enough," Leah Kelley said as she read her letter.

Kelley tells News 6 that a speeding driver hit her favorite duck she lovingly named "Chase, the fabulous duck" as he was crossing the street. She was so upset, she sent the mayor a two-page letter, complete with drawings of ducks and a sign she wanted posted at James Dunn Park. She wanted the sign to warn drivers to slow down and watch out for wildlife.

Kelley even offered to raise money to pay for the new sign or start a petition.

"It was like, 'What can we do together to find a solution to help save ducks at this crossing?'" Triplett said.

Kelley says she didn't expect the mayor to respond.

"I feel like I'm really young, so I don't have much of a voice, but it turns out I do," Kelley said.

She was shocked when he replied. A few weeks later, the city installed a bright yellow warning sign, showing a family of ducks crossing the road and the words, "Quack, quack, quack."

The sign has been up for a week. Kelley's mother says this proves that anyone can get results no matter how old you are.

"If you see something wrong, don't be afraid to speak up. Don't think that one person can't make a difference because clearly one person, no matter the age, can make a difference if they're persistent enough," Kristen Kelley said.

Leah Kelley says she doesn't like all the attention, but is happy she's getting results and protecting her feathery friends.

"When I see something that I think is wrong, I want to try to fix it," Kelley said.

Mayor Triplett agreed, saying it touched his heart to receive her letter.

"She absolutely got results and did it in the right way. It wasn't a punishing letter, it's a story and it's how can we work together for a solution," Triplett said. "So she definitely got results from this."


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