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teens making a difference Ayna Agarwal (left) and Patrick Pedraja and are teens making a differnce. (Photos courtesy Anya Agarwal and Patrick Pedraja)

These Teens Made a Difference: Ayna Agarwal

Global Animal Rescue Program

By Danielle Azzolina | null null , null

Ayna Agarwal is very serious when it comes to helping animals. That's why she started an international organization to help stop the overpopulation of animals. Called "SPOT Globally," the organization educates communities around the world about the hazards of untreated stray animals living among humans.

"Each country has its own stray animal crisis and there are different reasons as to why they have this crisis," Ayna told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps. "In India, it's so overpopulated and there's a negative stigma attached to these animals. In Bangkok, it's because no one has been spaying or neutering them and the veterinarian profession is looked down upon, so no one is there to give them good care. It's different in each country."

Ayna's quest to help animals began years ago after she witnessed a horrible event while on vacation in India. The 17 year old was nine at the time.  

"I was in a car with my family and I saw a little puppy on the road," she said. "She had a hurt leg and a car came by and they didn't stop or swerve or anything, they just ran over her." Ayna said she realized then that she had to do something to help these animals.

At first, Ayna's efforts weren't taken seriously because she was so young. She was turned away at the first shelter where she tried to volunteer.

Now, her international organization is drawing lots of attention. Ayna was recently a participant at the Just Peace Summit in New York City. The summit was the work of Three Dot Dash, a global initiative of the We Are Family Foundation (WAFF). She was recognized for her work and taught how to better use social media and the Internet to promote her cause.

Her biggest reward, however, has been actually making a difference.

"Knowing that one dog can produce 50,000 puppies in 10 years and that by sterilizing that one dog I saved many others [is my biggest reward]," she said. "Also helping them find loving homes is very rewarding!"

Current and Future Goals

What does Ayna see herself doing in five years and beyond? She answered this with ease; she plans on going to college and graduate school and become a veterinarian to help further her cause.

Ayna's organization,, does so many things to help animals around the world but she also helps her local community by organizing things such as an upcoming dog walk/fundraiser to help assist with sterilizing animals. She is also working on a children's book and activity book to hand out to younger kids to help foster empathy in young children towards animals so they will be treated with kindness. She is also working on an international piece of art, The Global Piece Mosaic, which she hopes will someday be located in New York City. It's a mosaic showing a human hand and a dog's paw connecting. The mosaic will be made from pieces of actual streets across the world and is to promote world piece and to bring attention to the worldwide problem of stray animals.
Ayna's number one goal is to sterilize over 50,000 animals and to establish an organization that will last a very long time to help with the problem. She added that kids can help by making posters or have fundraisers to help or local animal shelters.

The Peace Summit

On March 19th Ayna was chosen as one of 26 teen leaders between the ages of 14-16 who came from 14 countries and 4 continents to attend the second "Just Peace" summit in New York. The summit was very inspiring for Ayna. While there she realized how much of an impact one voice can have on the world, which was she said was very empowering and rewarding.

Three Dot Dash a global initiative of We Are Family Foundation (WAFF) held the summit. The summit was to promote a more peaceful global society and form bridges between societies through understanding and mutual goals. WAFF was founded by musician Nile Rodgers and Three Dot Dash was inspired by Mattie J.T. Stepanek the thirteen year old who wrote six poetry books called Heart songs. Ayna explained that although each teen leader at the summit contributed in different ways they all had the same great goal, for a better world for us all, including the animals!

Be sure to also check out Kid Reporter Mariam El Hasan's story about Patrick Pedraja, another teen making a difference.


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About the Author

Danielle Azzolina is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

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