The Palo Alto Humane Society recently launched the Ambassadors of Compassion Story Writing Contest, now in its second year.
Seventh- and eighth-graders from Santa Clara and San Mateo counties are invited to write an original fiction or nonfiction story – 800-1,000 words in length – about animals and people helping each other. Some examples include companionship, therapy and support for soldiers.
“The idea for the contest is that students involve themselves in the research and writing, thinking about animals,” executive director Carole Hyde said. “They will learn about the care and respect of animals. We really think that through their engagement, they will help create a future ethical society.”
Last year’s winner, Vandana Ravi of Palo Alto, is a judge this time around. The eighth-grader at Fletcher Middle School wrote about a teen’s interaction with a donkey, in which she bonds with the animal over their shared loneliness and attempts to get the donkey a companion.
“I liked the opportunities to raise awareness about animals,” Vandana said. “I thought it was nice that in my story, students could have opportunities to help people in their community – we’re not powerless.”
Vandana offered advice to those entering this year’s contest.
“I’d be looking for someone who’s taking a bit of a risk,” she said. “To put a little bit of yourself onto paper can be very hard, but I think it’s rewarding for the writer and the reader.”
The winner will receive a cash prize of $500 and the two runners-up will each receive $200. The stories will also be published by PAHS and added to its library.
Submissions will be accepted through March 31.
To see the full list of requirements and to submit a story, visit paloaltohumane.org.