The Humane Youth Award recognizes inspiring youth between the ages of 12 and 17 who are making a positive impact on the lives of animals in their community.

The award is a recognized honor for a young person who has both personally, and through the inspired efforts of others, raised awareness for and helped create a more peaceful life for people, animals and the environment.

Meet the 2023 winners

Zachary Koolage-Hall, 12, is the winner of HSHV’s 2023 Humane Youth Award.  Zachary was chosen as this year’s winner because of his unwavering dedication to our community’s cats.  Part of an HSHV foster family, Zachary has been helping to care for kittens at home, including cleaning litterboxes, performing daily weight checks, and attending all vet visits.  But Zachary’s dedication isn’t only to cute and cuddly kittens; he also finds adopters for barn cats and then helps these less social cats acclimate to their new living situations.  He even spent the money he earned from working a summer job to purchase a humane live trap in order to find a missing barn cat.  On behalf of the felines of Washtenaw County, HSHV is proud to name Zachary the winner of the Humane Youth Award!

Julia Chen, 14, is the Humane Youth Award 1st runner up.  As a Junior Volunteer at HSHV, Julia has contributed over 60 hours towards the care of animals at our shelter.  She’s also made blankets and toys in her spare time to donate to the animals at HSHV.  Julia’s commitment to helping animals extends beyond just cats and dogs; when she learned that monarch butterflies were a threated species, she planned and planted a pollinator-friendly garden.  We recognize and honor Julia’s commitment to bettering the lives of animals in her community!

Aileen Bachrens, 17, is the Humane Youth Award 2nd runner up.  She is a Junior Volunteer at HSHV who has spent much of her volunteer time comforting and socializing shy dogs and small mammals.  Outside of volunteering at the shelter, Aileen also organized a bake sale in downtown Ann Arbor and donated proceeds of over $200 to the animals at HSHV.  We are grateful to have Aileen as a volunteer and proud to name her the Humane Youth Award 2nd runner up.

Honorable Mention:

  • Lula Cook
  • Aniya Lewis
  • Megan Ohm
  • Megan Peng

Award Information

One Humane Youth Award winner as well as a first and second runner-up will be selected. Awards are as follows:


  • Complimentary attendance for the winner and a guest and formal recognition at HSHV’s annual Compassionate Feast gala on October 19th.
  • Humane Youth Award trophy
  • Inclusion in marketing opportunities and press releases

First and Second Runners-Up

  • Humane Youth Award plaque
  • Inclusion in marketing opportunities and press releases