Whitney Best recognized for helping elementary school students develop compassion toward animals
SACRAMENTO, CA (August 11, 2010) – United Animal Nations (UAN) has named Whitney Best of Sacramento as the recipient of its annual Heart and Soul Award, presented to an individual who demonstrates an outstanding commitment to UAN’s programs and a strong personal devotion to animals.
Best volunteers with UAN’s Humane Education Ambassador Reader (HEAR) program. She visits elementary schools and other locations in her community to read books about the human-animal bond and lead critical thinking discussions and activities designed to build empathy and compassion toward animals.
Since training to become a HEAR volunteer in August 2009, Best has conducted 68 HEAR visits in Sacramento-area elementary schools and has reached 380 different students. Many of the teachers who contact UAN about the HEAR program ask for Best by name because they have been referred by other teachers. Best has worked in the childcare field for the past ten years, with a background in child development and animal welfare.
“UAN is a small nonprofit with a big idea of reducing animal cruelty by helping kids determine what it means to be humane and compassionate,” said UAN President and CEO Nicole Forsyth. “Whitney exemplifies the type of volunteer who can help us reach that goal.”
In addition to her HEAR volunteer efforts, Best regularly assists UAN with community outreach events and is constantly working to find loving homes and treatment for animals through her own rescue group, Zoe’s Best Friends Rescue.
“UAN has a bold vision to reduce animal cruelty by striking at its root cause and creating a generation of children who strive to be kind to animals,” Best said. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help children understand the importance of the human-animal bond. Also, I am repeatedly awed by the innate ability children have to grasp the concept of compassion and their eagerness to apply it to their own experiences with both animals and humans.”
Founded in 1987, United Animal Nations focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the bond between people and animals through a variety of programs, including emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education.