July 20, 2010
Miss Teen Tennessee International ventures into animal advocacy
It began before the Miss Teen Tennessee title, before the cameras and local fame. It started three years ago, when 12-year-old Jurnee Carr went to her local animal shelter with her Girl Scout Troop to donate blankets and food. She noticed the shelter was dirty and overcrowded; later that day she asked her mother what happened to animals who could not find their "forever homes." That's when she found out about euthanasia, caused by pet overpopulation.
"Awestruck and outraged, I did some research and discovered that every six seconds an animal is euthanized in the United States alone," says Jurnee. That year, instead of getting presents for her birthday, Jurnee asked for donations and raised more than $500. She also started a non-profit organization called Jurnee's Journey: Helping All God's Creations. Since its foundation in 2007, Jurnee's Journey has raised over $10,000 for Journey's End Animal Society of Kingsport, Tennessee.
In 2010, Jurnee, now 15, won the title of Miss Teen Tennessee International and also became a member of The HSUS’s Youth Advisory Board. Her success has helped her spread awareness to thousands of people.
"The crown is an open microphone," Jurnee explains. "Earning the title of Miss Teen Tennessee International has helped promote my organization more than ever; traveling across the state and speaking on a national level with the Youth Advisory Board brings more attention to these animals and helps people recognize the great need we have for spaying and neutering to prevent euthanasia and control the pet population, along with adopting from shelters."
This year, Jurnee has also received a special recognition certificate from animal advocate Congressman Phil Roe, and was awarded Joint House Resolution No. 1268 from the Tennessee House of Representatives and the Tennessee Senate for "meritorious service to the animal kingdom."
"It was like a dream to be on the House floor in front of all my state's representatives, addressing them and being a voice for animals," says Jurnee about the experience.
Jurnee hopes that all of her achievements and her position on the Youth Advisory Board will help further her efforts to spread awareness of pet overpopulation and euthanasia. "I absolutely do believe being on the board will help accomplish my goals. Together with the rest of the country's support and care, we will make a difference and impact the animal kingdom," she says.
Jurnee believes that one by one, everyone can make a difference. "It's so important for teens to get involved in something they believe in. Together we can, and will, end euthanasia," she says.