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September 21, 2007

Super-Humane Kids

Last month, I told you the story of 11-year-old Caesar in California who rescued a burned kitten. Since then, I’ve been inspired by a number of other extraordinary young people who act on their passion, whether it’s raising public awareness or funds or taking legislative action.

There’s 10-year-old Chance of Mississippi, one of the youngest lobbyists for animals who fought dog breed bans in his state. Seven-year-old vegetarian chef Max of Georgia authored a cookbook for kids (Look for more on Max in the November issue of The HSUS’s elementary school newspaper, KIND News.) And the mother of 11-year-old Ben, also of Georgia, sent me an email to let me know that Ben asked for donations for The HSUS to support our animal cruelty and fighting initiatives in lieu of birthday gifts.

Teenage girl and gray cockatiel
© iStockphoto

To help harness and guide the unfailing optimism and energy of youth, The HSUS launched Mission: Humane earlier this year. The program gives young people step-by-step projects to help animals and provides rewards for activities. We work one-on-one with students to help them build youth animal protection clubs in schools across the country. And one of our latest youth education training programs assists local humane organizations in getting groups of children active for animals.

Most of the young people who write to The HSUS care deeply, but just don’t know what to do or how to begin. And even the most passionate students we work with are often shy about advocating for animals. But with a little encouragement and guidance from family, school advisors, and those of us who share their passion, they flourish as advocates. Other young people are touched, and before you know it, the idea of protecting animals becomes infectious.

I hope our stories of super-humane kids inspire advocates to reach out to young people everywhere—whether in your own families or your community’s schools. Remember that you were there once. Lend your support, and make good use of the many resources available for youth educators, elementary-school children and teens.

An investment in young people pays dividends for animals for decades to come. And these young people—who embrace and practice an ethic of responsibility and concern for others—will be solid citizens in our communities and help make us a better, stronger civil society.

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