The Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) is accepting nominations for its first ever "Humane Youth Award," honoring local young people who are doing inspiring work for animals.
Children ages 12-17 who live in HSHV's service area (Washtenaw County, Plymouth, and Northville) are eligible to apply to the award program.
HSHV created its humane education department in 2011. In the years that followed, Karen Patterson, director of humane education and volunteering for HSHV, says she has enjoyed "seeing all the wonderful things youth in our community are doing for animals."
"I'm consistently inspired by the passion and dedication they're exhibiting," she says.
HSHV already highlights "Kind Kids" on its web page for youth programs, and Patterson says the awards program is a way to formalize honoring these children. She says HSHV wants to make the community aware of all they are doing for animals, from donating lemonade stand revenue or birthday money to the shelter to running a charity drive where children make or donate toys and blankets for shelter animals.
Patterson says she's seen kids undertake a wide variety of projects already. She says entries could include educational videos about compassion for animals or other outreach and community education efforts.
Entries will be judged on how many animals the children have helped, the length of time they've spent helping animals, and the uniqueness of the child's program or initiative.
"Here, we see a lot of youth involvement in the care of animals, but there are probably a lot more out in the community that we don't see," Patterson says. "We want the awards program to bring that to the surface."
One winner and two runners-up will receive plaques and will be invited onstage to be honored during HSHV's annual Compassionate Feast banquet Nov. 9.
Nominations may be made at www.hshv.org/hya through 4 p.m. Sept. 29.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of the Humane Society of Huron Valley.