Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – A Voice to the Voiceless

Name: Alexandria Boyd
From: Rock Hill, South Carolina
Grade: senior
School: Winthrop Universitu
Votes: 75

If everyone picked one cause and gave it their all, imagine what a
better world we would live in. Animals hold a very special place in
my heart so I do all that I can to save them and educate others on
how they can do their part as well. Somehow, I have always been
better around animals than people. I try to give them the voice that
they gave me.

For almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since September of 2011 I
have worked with my local animal shelter by fostering cats on death
row. This includes feeding, watering, and cleaning kennels at home.
Through education from my local veterinarian, I often medicate, give
fluids, and do wound care for those that need it. I have also done
transports as far as three hours away.

There are many challenges associated with fostering. None are easier
than the next. One of the biggest challenges has been sending fosters
off to the next step of their journey. Be it to another foster, a
rescue, or to a new home. So often, I do not get to follow up with
them. One challenge that I never get accustomed to is seeing the ones
who come sick, injured, and/or abused. Especially when there is
nothing that can be done to save them.

Despite these challenges, there are many rewards. I wake up each
morning knowing that I am doing something to better my community
rather than turning a blind eye and letting it continue. While saving
one animal might not change the world, it will definitely change the
world for that one animal. I have helped terrified animals that have
likely never had a kind touch learn what love is.

The most substantial thing I have learned is that it takes a village
to make a difference. None of us could do it alone. Saving one animal
takes people finding, sharing, transporting, committing, and
adopting, just to name a few. We also lean on each other for support.
Those who work with animals have a higher risk of depression and
suicide than the rest of the population. That risk goes down when we
know there are others to talk to that understand.

Volunteering with animals has shown me that I want to become a
veterinarian and do even more to help. I want to save more animals,
spread awareness and education about care, show the importance of
spay/neuter, and encourage adoption over purchasing until the
population is under control.

In the future I honestly do not know if what I am doing will making a
measurable difference. So many people are out there trying to fight
against us by over-breeding, arguing against the good we are trying
to do, and turning a blind eye to what is going on in their own back
yard. What I do know is that I am making a difference for each animal
I save and that is the most important part.

Join our Facebook group "Volunteers for a Better World".