Name: Trilby Brown
Title: Miss Apple Blossom Outstanding Teen
ASPCA: Action for Animals
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.” Compassion for animals says a lot about one’s character, inner goodness and their approach to life. However, we continue to see horrible acts of animal cruelty throughout our country. In fact, every 60 seconds an animal is abused or neglected. Seeing the need for intervention, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded by Henry Bergh in New York in 1866 and focuses on the protection of animals from cruelty and other mistreatment, providing shelter and adoption services for homeless animals as well as helping to control our pet populations. I began working with the ASPCA through my local affiliate, the Winchester SPCA (WSPCA), in 2007. It was love at first sight!
Though I wasn’t old enough to volunteer, I found ways to make meaningful contributions. My first project was to host animal shelter themed events and have guests provide gifts/supplies for the animals, rather than a gift for me or my family. The first event was my 9th birthday party and it was a hugely successful, providing a van full of items to the shelter. This event inspired my family to host the first of several socials at our home where guests provided items to donate to the WSPCA. Additionally, I worked on a membership drive by sending letters to local residents, friends, and small businesses asking for their support of the WSPCA. This project generated several hundred dollars and additional support for WSPCA, making a big impact on the organization.
While I enjoyed the work I was doing to contribute to my local SPCA, I saw a missed opportunity to engage young people in promoting and taking part as a volunteer because they had not met the minimum volunteer age of fifteen. Partnering with the board of directors, I was granted the approval to create a Junior Board of the WSPCA to enable youth (ages 8-13) to volunteer. The Junior Board planned many events such as a dog walk that included a dog fashion show and partnered with other organizations, such as Maddie’s Blankets, to make blankets for the shelter animals. I remained the president of the Junior Board until I turned 14.
In addition, I was able to utilize my existing involvement in Destination Imagination to plan and execute a Zen Meditation Garden to beautify the entrance of the shelter. This project required approval from the board of directors and took almost a year to complete – from presenting the pet friendly landscape plans, receiving approval for the project, and canvasing local businesses to financially support the project. We raised additional money through the sale of custom engraved bricks placed within the garden which, to date, have raised nearly $19,000 and have the potential to raise a total of $32,000. This project, as well as the founding of the Junior Board, allowed me the opportunity generate media coverage for both the WSPCA as well as the projects.
I increased community outreach, by continuing to draw on my affiliation with Destination Imagination to fund an additional K-9 unit for the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department. We are partnered with local businesses for financial support as well as hosted a fund-a-thon to engage middle and high school students as well as community members to raise awareness and funds. The team worked closely with law enforcement agencies to secure an additional dog and the items necessary to accommodate the new K-9 unit. We raised a little more than half of the necessary funds.
As Apple Blossom’s Outstanding Teen I will continue to support the protection of animals through the ASPCA and its affiliates through my online fundraising page “Action for Animals” as well as expand my overall reach to work with other localities within the Commonwealth to promote their shelters and work toward ensuring all facilities become “no kill” shelters. I will grow the concept of Junior Board memberships to include local middle schools statewide and encourage high school students to consider taking active roles in their local shelters. This will focus awareness of the ASPCA’s ongoing needs in communities, and create public interest through media coverage. I believe that if we teach children how to be kind to animals, they will grow up to be kind to humans.