By Cindy Cha
HONOLULU (KHNL) -- It's "Be Kind to Animals Week," and the American Humane Association is celebrating by announcing the winners of its Be Kind to Animals kid contest.
One of this year's winners is a local girl who has shown a compassionate attitude toward animals.
This Aiea teen has two passions, sketching and caring for animals. It's the combination of those two, that earned the 17-year-old a national award.
Kristen Uyeoka is still shocked over the news.
"I'm so stunned because to me, I don't think I did a really big project," said Uyeoka. "It was just something else that just help out the Humane Society. I didn't think it would turn into this big deal, or that I'll win an award for it."
And not just any award, but the top spot in the teen category, beating out more than 200 kids across the country.
It was volunteering as a dog caretaker at the Hawaiian Humane Society that got her project going.
"I've always been interested in animal rights and caring for animals and I wanted to teach younger children more about them."
Using her love for drawing and animals, she created this interactive education program for preschoolers.
"It teaches them responsible pet ownership and their proper care of animals and it has activity pages that they can color and follow along."
Kristen says she hopes her project will help lay the groundwork for preschoolers to grow into more humane individuals.
"Everyone deserves to be respected and treated fairly and that way we can eliminate homeless dogs and abused dogs, as well as children. It just teaches them moral values."
To fund her project, Kristen raised about $88 by recycling more than 1,700 cans and plastic bottles. She bought her supplies for $34 and donated the rest to the shelter.