In spring of 2019, RedRover held the 2020 Kind News Humane Hero contest—a national search to highlight kind kids who go out of their way to help animals. In addition to other great prizes, the winner won a trip to Sacramento, CA to run RedRover for a day.  After careful deliberation, we chose 14-year-old Evelyn T. as our winner for her exemplary leadership at school and in her community and for her volunteer work helping animals. Below is Evelyn’s reflection on her experience as the contest winner.

Watch Evelyn “Run RedRover for a Day”

By Evelyn, winner of RedRover’s 2020 Kind News Humane Hero contest

We teach our children to place themselves in others’ shoes, and to “do unto others.” Yet as a society, we also teach them that it is acceptable to disregard that advice when it comes to animals. Our convenience should not take precedence over the well-being of sentient creatures, and I believe that this is a fact that has slipped by the attention of our culture. It is our duty as Earth’s caretakers to act as protectors of the beings at our mercy and not take advantage of our collective self-assumed superiority. This is what inspires me to stand up for animals in need and help in whatever ways I am able to. I encourage others, regardless of age, to put themselves out there and make a difference. Just because animals do not walk or talk exactly like we do, does not mean that they are any less worthy of our respect.

I am a volunteer at the Virginia Beach SPCA in my hometown, where I tend to the animals in our care, as well as counsel potential adopters about which animals would be right for their home. I am also an equestrian and enjoy imparting my knowledge of horses and horseback riding to others. For two years of my middle school career, I served as the president of the animal group of the Leaders for the Environment, Animals, and People club. Through the club, I organized supply drives, fundraisers, and much more for our local animal welfare organizations. In addition, I am leading a campaign to implement Meatless Monday throughout my entire school district in order to promote plant-based eating. Being presented with the 2020 Kind News Humane Hero award was a great honor, and I am grateful that I got the chance to meet the crew from RedRover.

After flying from Virginia Beach, VA and getting a chance to acquaint myself with the gorgeous city of Sacramento, I had the wonderful opportunity to learn how RedRover operated through their different programs. I spent an entire day meeting with the different team members that make RedRover the success that it is, as well as getting to know the ideological premise of the organization.

I was inspired by how dynamic and unified the staff was; part of the reason they are such a good team is that they focus on playing to each other’s strengths, instead of simply avoiding each other’s weaknesses. The staff members at RedRover are incredibly warm people, and their empathy for animals is obvious. I have never met a more dedicated team focused on not only their mission, but also on harnessing positivity. Their passion and zeal for their work creates a cooperative and lighthearted atmosphere, humming with activity. In my mind, RedRover, and organizations like it, represent what I aspire to be a part of in my future.

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