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Kids With A Cause: Amber Ginter

Young advocates channel their love of animals into making a difference

All Animals magazine, September/October 2010

All ANimals Web Extra SeptOct2010

Paul Vernon

 by Arna Cohen

The Kid:

Amber Ginter, 14

The Cause:

Helping all animals through The HSUS’s Mission: Humane program

Why We Love Her:

Profiled on the HSUS HumaneTeen website, this young leader has inspired others her age to take on projects that help animals. “I want people to see that no matter how young you are, you can always make a difference,” she says.

Amber Ginter has much in common with her fellow members of the HSUS Youth Advisory Board. A volunteer for animals since she began helping out at her local shelter at age 8, the Kingston, Ohio, teenager is constantly juggling school, friends, and family with the parade of animal-related projects she takes on.

What distinguishes Amber from other young advocates is that she’s the first student to complete the HSUS student outreach program’s Mission: Humane, a series of five projects with themes tied to major HSUS campaigns. Fight Fur reveals the true cost of using animal fur in fashion; Friends for Hens discusses the cruelty of battery cage egg production; Help Homeless Pets works to end pet overpopulation and support shelter adoptions; Combat Cruelty teaches kids to recognize the signs of animal abuse and neglect; and Shoot to Save Wildlife promotes peaceful coexistence between humans and their wild neighbors.

Action guides and fact sheets are available on the HumaneTeen website, and HSUS student outreach staff  are just a phone call or e-mail away to provide advice. Students receive a reward for each project completed; for finishing them all, they earn certificates of achievement and even more loot.

For her Fight Fur project , Amber organized a Coats for Cubs drive in the community, collecting 30 donated fur coats that The HSUS sent on to wildlife rehabilitators to fashion into substitute “mothers” for orphaned baby wildlife. For Friends for Hens, she persuaded her family to go cage-free by researching local options for buying cage-free eggs, then wrote a letter to the local newspaper about her research and what consumers could do to hasten the phaseout of battery cages on egg farms.

Amber also wrote letters to the editor about the plight of captive primates used in laboratory research, as well as the brutal practices of shark finning and fishing tournaments and how they could spell doom for several shark species. She then wrote to her state lawmakers, urging them to support related legislation.

Amber focused on coyotes for her Shoot for Wildlife project, again writing to the local newspaper with pleas for residents to be tolerant and a list of ways to decrease conflict. “There may be a problem in Ohio with wild animals, but that does not mean that we need to hurt them,” she wrote. “One way we can protect pets is to not leave pet food and water bowls outside. They attract coyotes to come near your house. So next time you see a coyote, do not hurt him. That goes for any animal as well. We need animals in our world.”

Her favorite project by far, Amber says, was Help Homeless Pets. She and a group of friends made treats for dogs at the local shelter, walked and bathed the dogs, and made bandannas for them to wear during adoption events. They also created and distributed fliers encouraging community members to visit the shelter when thinking about getting a pet.

Amber may have finished Mission: Humane, but her work on behalf of animals is far from over. “[Kids] can think of their own ideas after they’ve done all the projects,” she says. “Just because there are no more listed doesn’t mean you have to stop. You can keep on trying and inspiring others.”

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