From the ages of 18 to 24 I was in a full blown relationship with the world. I traveled to Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore, Nicaragua, Costa Rica. On my travels, I became heartbroken and distressed over the diseased, flea infested, emaciated, and neglected stray dogs and cats in the countries I visited.

In most countries there were no organizations established such as the SPCA or SCARS, there were no shelters, no one to call when an animal was in need—in some communities the people had to travel 10 hours by chicken bus with their animals to seek veterinary care.

I let it drain my big, bleeding heart over and over.

Street animal population felt like a big issue to solve, too big—for just me.

An activist is someone who sees the pain in this world and chooses to take that pain and create change.

I found another, Rae-ann Wood-Schatz, who shared my heart for animals.

We both felt that is was an overwhelmingly large issue to even try to make a dent in and that it was also wildly unacceptable in our hearts not to act.

Sometimes acting is contributing to someone who is already dedicating their entire lives towards that "thing"--and being a part of their change they are creating in this world.

We found an organization in 2010, The Global Alliance for Animals and People (The GAAP), working in communities where their presence is welcomed and requested, to improve the quality of animals and people in marginalized communities in the Americas. One of their main objectives is to really foster a strong bond between people and their animals so that they learn how to care for them properly, and protect them from the hazards they face when they are left to roam by themselves, free in the streets. One of the ways they get there is to focus on the kids, through education about what animals need to be healthy and happy, and that animals' needs are really similar to their own.

I resonate deeply with the work The GAAP is doing, for it focuses not just on sterilizing and vaccinating but also on education which I personally believe is the key to change.

Rae-ann and I have contributed to the work The GAAP is doing in this world through 4 years of throwing fundraisers to support their annual educational + rabies campaign in Guatemala and spent two years of volunteering hands on in Guatemala.

To read more about the revolutionary and impactful work The GAAP is doing, click here.