Longtime YEA Camper Receives 2012 Humane Student of the Year Award

ImageWe are so excited and proud that longtime YEA Camper Jasmine Caruk has been recognized by the nonprofit organization AnimaLearn for her outstanding efforts to speak up for animals used for dissection. Jasmine was selected as the recipient of the 2012 Humane Student of the Year Award in part as a result of her testimony before the Connecticut Joint Committee on Education in advocating for a dissection choice law in that state, which then passed the House but unfortunately failed in the Senate.

Jasmine first flew in from Connecticut to attend YEA Camp in California in 2010 and then attended our first camp on the east coast in New Jersey in 2012, where she met YEA Camp staffer Nicole Green, the director of AnimaLearn, who then learned of Jasmine’s commitment to animals and became impressed with her efforts.

“After meeting Jasmine and reading the testimony that she provided to the Connecticut legislature, I knew that she was a clear choice as our 2012 Humane Student of the Year,” Nicole said.

We shared Jasmine’s full persuasive speech in a previous blog post, but see a portion of it below:

“There is no doubt that students should receive the best education possible, but they should not need to harm others or sacrifice their ethics in order to do so.  By giving students the chance to opt out of dissection, the lesson they learn may be far greater than whatever might be achieved through the dissection itself.  Over time, people will inevitably fail to remember everything they learned in a high school biology class, but holding true to their moral principles is something they will most certainly never forget.”

The $1000 prize money for the award will be used to purchase dissection-alternative software for Jasmine’s school district to use for years to come, which will not only save animals but also money if the school purchases fewer (or no) animals to be cut up and then disposed of for each student. Visit AnimaLearn’s site to learn more about dissection — both the reasons against it and alternatives to it.

In addition to Jasmine’s efforts on behalf of animals used in dissection, she has also interned with the farmed animal advocacy organization Compassion Over Killing, volunteers with the Connecticut state director for the Humane Society of the United States, worked to improve the vegan options at her school cafeteria, and so many other things to make the world a better place. Jasmine has also played a huge role in YEA Camp over the past three years. She has visited two potential venues on the east coast and helped select this year’s spot for YEA Camp 2013 in Massachusetts, she is developing YEA Camp’s tumblr page (stay tuned), and she even created an online fundraiser for YEA Camp asking her family and friends to donate to YEA instead of buying her Christmas presents. (FYI: you don’t have to know Jasmine to give her/YEA Camp a present! 🙂 We are thrilled that Jasmine is also interning with YEA Camp in 2013!

Congratulations, Jasmine! You are amazing!

If you are or know a teenager who wants to make the world a better place and meet other amazing teens like Jasmine, come to YEA Camp this summer! Visit www.yeacamp.org for dates, locations, and more information.