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WUFAW's first Youth Activism Program award goes to...


We are beyond thrilled to award $500 to 11-year-old Naomi Kwast of Long Beach, CA for our Youth Activism Program award. She exemplifies everything we hope to see in young people's compassion towards animals.

View Naomi's YAP submission video

During the Pandemic, local shelters were closed to the public (they still are) and they advised the community to leave stray cats and dogs on the streets. Naomi knew there was a big problem already with stray cats in her city, so she was determined to find a way to help. She attended a city council meeting where she pleaded with the council members to improve things for the animals. But unfortunately, the shelter remained closed.

Naomi Kwast holding cat at shelter

Naomi's Volunteer Work

Naomi decided to volunteer with Long Beach Spay and Neuter foundation to rescue homeless, sick and injured cats. She assisted with their Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) efforts.  Spending many weekends working at their mobile vet clinics, she learned how to prep animals for surgery, gluing surgical incisions closed and even giving vaccines.

Naomi fostered several cats and their litters, becoming proficient in bottle feeding, syringe feeding, nail trimming, deworming and so much more. She was hands-on with bathing, medicating, rehabilitating, and socializing the more feral ones.

When an animal found a home, Naomi would put a care package together with toys and treats, along with a letter to the adopter explaining what the cat/kitten liked. And to top it off she would sew them a blanket to enjoy the familiar smells they were used to.

Naomi Kwast

Naomi Kwast bathing kitten

Her Dreams and Goals

Naomi aspires to one day pass legislation to protect animals, especially those being sold by backyard breeders on social media. Her dream is to become a veterinarian and someday open a no-kill facility with a low-cost vet clinic that focuses on mass sterilizations. During the COVID19 pandemic, Naomi helped over 1200 animals and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Surprise Award Presentation

Since the first ever YAP recipient lived in our local region, our WUFAW team decided to surprise her while she was volunteering at a Cat Adoption Event.

We presented her with a gift basket full of goodies for cats along a dog themed clutch for herself. When she opened it and found the check for $500 the look on her face was priceless. She was in shock and hugged her mom with excitement.

We thanked her for all the work she was doing and told her what an inspiration she is to all of us.

Watch Naomi's surprise prize presentation

Helping Cats in Eagle Pass, TX

Naomi let us know that she will be using the money to help the cats in Eagle Pass, TX. Sadly, the shelter there doesn’t have cages to house the strays, so the cats end up being killed by gas chamber.  Naomi and her mom, Joanne, plan on going there soon.

Keep up the good work Naomi. We can't wait to see what the future holds for you.

YAP winner Naomi Kwast at home

YAP winner Naomi Kwast with WUFAW