The votes are all in, and the Kid of the Year winner is...
Kate Gilman Williams!
That 11-year-old from Austin, Texas, focuses on helping animals across the world. Kate’s journey started when she was 7 years old and went on a safari in Africa. While exploring, she learned that many of the animals she saw there were in danger of dying out. She decided on a mission: She was going to help them.
This year, Kate has focused mainly on koalas. There are fewer than 80,000 of those fuzzy creatures left in the wild — and maybe as few as 43,000. On top of that, wildfires recently burned huge areas of Australia. The blazes destroyed much of the forests where koalas make their homes. The flames also killed or injured thousands of the animals. Kate worked to raise awareness about this issue.
In February, the 5th-grader launched a campaign called “Quarters for Koalas.” She challenged her classmates to collect quarters. By the end of March, Kate’s team had raised a total of $4,671.40! “You would be amazed how quickly quarters add up!” Kate told News-O-Matic. Kate and her friends carried heavy bags of coins to the bank, and then they donated the money to a group called Adelaide Koala Rescue (AKR).
Kate said AKR was “so happy to learn that kids my age raised that much money.” Now, the group can put all those coins toward helping koalas.
Kate has been keeping busy since she finished Quarters for Koalas too. “I just finished a big fundraiser,” Kate shared. The event, called “Endangered Rangers,” helped raise awareness about how rangers in Africa fight against poaching. Because of the coronavirus, many rangers are losing their jobs. Kate gave a speech about the negative impact poaching has on animal populations. Other activists and celebrities took part too, including singer Jordin Sparks. The event, which aired on TV and online on December 13, also raised money. “All of the money went to support rangers in Africa who protect wildlife,” Kate said.
News-O-Matic readers learned all about Kate’s awesome actions. And they chose her to be the Kid of the Year! Some of Kate’s supporters explained why they thought she deserved the honor. “I honestly think Kate should be Kid of the Year,” Emily wrote in the News Room. “She has helped so many animals,” Emily continued. “Maybe I’ll do it one day, too!” Another reader, named Dakota, added that Kate should win because “she is SO AMAZING!”
Kate was pumped when she learned the news. “Wow! I am so honored!” she exclaimed. “Thank you so much!” And she wanted to remind kids like her that they can help animals too. “Never forget that advocacy has no age limit!”
Updated December 17, 2020, 5:03 P.M. (ET)
By Alexa Tirapelli
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