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Six Youths Secure Top Spots in American Humane Kind Kid Contest

Kids Recognized as Role Models of Kindness to Animals

DENVER, May 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Six outstanding youths have been recognized by the American Humane Association during Be Kind to Animals Week(R) for their dedication to and compassion for animals. The winners and runners-up are divided into two age categories, 6-12 and 13-17. Two grand prize winners will receive $2,000 each and prize packages. Each of the four runners-up will receive $750 and prize packages. And the winners are:

Grand Prize Winner - 6-12 Age Group

Eight-year-old Ian Cahr of Chicago is in business to help shelter dogs, most specifically, the dogs at New Leash on Life (NLOL) in Chicago. Ian, son of Jill Cahr, runs Ian's Bead Company ( and sells his beaded jewelry at trunk shows hosted by Chicago businesses. He and his "employees" have raised over $10,000 for NLOL and helped save more than 280 dogs. Ian plans to divide his prize money four ways. Three portions will go to three shelters: Chicago Animal Care and Control, Small Dog Rescue in Plantation, Fla., and New Leash on Life. He will save the last of the funds and "maybe buy a video game."

Grand Prize Winner - 13-17 Age Group

What started as a Girl Scout project for 17-year-old Kristen Uyeoka, of Aiea, Hawaii, became a personal mission. Kristen, daughter of Lori Uyeoka, began by volunteering at the Hawaiian Humane Society. She felt the shelter's mission of promoting the bond between humans and animals and the humane treatment of all animals aligned with her own values and spent a year working to create interactive lesson plans that teach preschool children the importance of responsible pet ownership and compassion for all animals.

Runners-up - 6-12 Age Group

Mary Lace, 12, of Wayne, Ill., has spent most of her time away from school promoting the human-animal bond by bringing adoptable animals from DuPage County Animal Care and Control to visit a local convalescent center. Mary, daughter of Bonnie Lace, will help a bed-ridden resident by lifting a cat up or getting a dog to stand up for a visit. The shelter animals enjoy their time out and the residents enjoy the animals. After her pet therapy visits, Mary returns to the shelter to socialize and play with the other animals.

After seeing a Purina commercial about animals in shelters, Cady Arruda, 10, of Westport, Mass., was concerned and wanted to do something to help the animals. Cady, daughter of Yvette Arruda, sculpted animals out of clay, attached pins and mounted them on cards. She sold them and gave the proceeds to local animal shelters. With her growing pin business, Barnyard Benefits, Cady has donated hundreds of dollars to local horse rescue organizations and shelters that house dogs and cats.

Runners-up - 13-17 Age Group

Since he reached the required age of 12, Nick Beaven, 17, of Dearborn Heights, Mich., has volunteered at the Dearborn Animal Shelter. Nick, son of Debbie Beaven, has helped develop animal care education programs for schools and conducted peer-to-peer classes, raised money by organizing student bake sales and helps care for the shelter animals. Nick spends all his spare time at the shelter, putting in over 400 hours in 2006 and over 900 in 2007. In 2007, Nick's dedication inspired the shelter to reduce the age requirement for employment and he was hired on a part-time basis.

Heidi Johnson, 17, of Bellingham, Wash., daughter of Louise Janovic, has volunteered at Mollywood Avian Sanctuary since 2001, helping take care of their more than 400 birds. Says Betsy Lott, Heidi's supervisor at Mollywood, "Heidi can literally run this place on any given day. She knows how to feed all the birds here, even those with special diets. She knows how to administer medications and often helps with veterinary procedures." Always trying to find new ways of educating the public, she gave presentations about the sanctuary to two middle school classes, where she showed the kids how they can help the birds by building toys for them.

As the only national nonprofit dedicated to protecting both children and animals, American Humane created Be Kind to Animals Week in 1915 to promote kindness to all animals and to encourage adults and children to honor the companionship, friendship and love animals bring to our lives. Through the Be Kind to Animals Kid Contest, now in its 15th year, American Humane honors young people who make outstanding efforts to improve the lives and welfare of animals.

About American Humane

Founded in 1877, the American Humane Association is the only national organization dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Through a network of child and animal protection agencies and individuals, American Humane develops policies, legislation, curricula and training programs to protect children and animals from abuse, neglect and exploitation. The nonprofit membership organization, headquartered in Denver, raises awareness about The Link(R) between violence to people and violence to animals, as well as the benefits derived from the human-animal bond. American Humane's regional office in Los Angeles is the authority behind the "No Animals Were Harmed"(R) end-credit disclaimer on film and TV productions, and American Humane's office in Washington, D.C., is an advocate for child and animal protection at the federal and state levels. The American Humane Certified(TM) farm animal program is the nation's original, independent certification and labeling program for humanely raised food. American Humane meets the strong, comprehensive standards of the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance, has been awarded the Independent Charities of America's "Best in America" Seal of Approval, and has received a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator, America's leading charity evaluator. Visit to learn more.

Contact: Kelley Weir

(303) 925-9418

SOURCE American Humane Association
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