Winning Stories.

Laura Finley:
My five year old daughter, Anya, gives me hope. She is smart, passionate, and compassionate. She is already an activist for peace and for a more healthy environment, having helped start a movement at her pre-K class to replace disposable paper plates with reusable plastic ones for lunch. Anya sums up what it feels like to do good in the most simple but best way I’ve ever heard. She says, “It makes my tummy feel good” when she does something nice.


Dianne Woehnker:
As a young child, I was born with severe birth defects that, if left untreated, would have resulted in death or mental disabilities. Over the first 21 years of my life, I had 13 surgeries to correct the birth defects. My post-operative recovery would have not been successful if it weren’t for the emotional therapy of my dogs, cats, and horses. My dogs and cats sat vigil at my bedside for the days following surgery. They all brought me strength when mine was so weak, they brought me hope that tomorrow would be better than today, and most of all, they brought me love that no human gave.

Today, I no longer have to face surgeries, so now is the time I repay my friends of the animal kingdom for what they gave to me. I support several local and national animal shelters and conservation groups.

Scott Knackstedt:
What gives me hope is that those aspects of human nature which enabled us to succeed as a species are the very ones that empower our most sublime behavior today. Compassion, empathy, kindness, and generosity have driven droves of people from all walks of life to pursue causes greater than themselves: to confront poverty and helplessness, to stand as a bulwark against destruction of the environment, and to work to improve the quality of life for human and animal alike. The traits that led small bands of early humans to work together, to strive together, and overcome together have become the very tools we employ today to mitigate the challenges we face as a globalizing community.

Indeed, there are some vestigial dimensions to our behavior that, in their modern incarnation, breed detriment and degradation, suffering and hardship. But it has been our overriding higher conduct that has relegated these dark sentiments to a minority stake in human comportment. The maturation of human good-will and beneficence, the steady endorsement of reason and community, have become the hallmarks of our species and the very things that give us our humanity.

I am still young and have much to do, but I am inspired by those who have done so much and continue to work for the betterment of our society and the natural resources we share with all living things. Their conduct, character, and example gives me hope for our species and, by extension, those species we all work to protect.

Bobby Messina:
I am a volunteer at my local animal shelter and the day’s that give me real “HOPE” are the days that someone adopts an animal and does all the “right things”.

Like brings a brand new leash, and acts excited, and has tons of “new friend” plans! Makes a Vet Apointment! & sends us followup pictures!

People who treat animals with Compasion and Care gives me hope! People who don’t spay/neuter make me sad.


Thomas Conway:
One day, my teacher asks me to write a persuasive essay. I chose to do the essay on Save The Manatees. I never knew about how many of these precious creatures were being killed each year by not-natural causes. After I turned this assignment in, I decided to look at how many other endangered species there were. Also, their causes were very weird and most of the was from habitat destruction. The most beautiful creatures that we know about are the most close to extinction.

Then, my friend recommended me to these Endangered Species Chocolate Bars, and how they give 10% of the net profits to the animal that you buy it for. Whether it be a sea otter or a manatee, all of the animals had something in common; they are all endangered species. This scared me so much, that I asked my dad about why these animals were treated this way. His answer was surprising. Most humans don’t care. So, every day I have been thinking about how I could save these animals. I came to this website and it gave me hope. IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE. Even though I am only 11 years old, I care about the Earth and all the organisms that inhabit it.


Michael LeVoie
What gives me hope is the United States military. Ever since I was a little boy, I was dazzled by stories of unparalleled heroism of men under fire during World War I and World War II. As I grew older, I continued to read about their stories of different generations, and how men of each of their times would rise up to the occasion and fight for their country to protect their beliefs.

The men and women who gave their lives in the name of democracy is what inspires me to follow in their footsteps and pursue a career in the military. The United States has always been a country of ideals and has always fought to protect these ideals of freedom, whether it has been on the main land, or on foreign soil. It is amazing how men will fight when they have no place for escape, like on the shore of D-day, fighting and dying for their country, just to protect the idea of a free world. The stories I read of men under fire, protecting their friend and losing their lives in the process… that is what gives me hope.

AUGUST. { GRAND PRIZE WINNER!! A $5,000 donation was made to the Bat World Sanctuary . }

Hannah Wilkins:
I am eighteen years old. I just became certified in insectivorous bat rehabilitation this last Friday through Bat World Sanctuary, a non-profit organization and world leader in bat rehabilitation and conservation. I spent the past week feeding and caring for orphaned Mexican free-tail bats three times a day, often past midnight because there were so many. I realized, however, that all your exhaustion and selfishness stemming from your disappointment with life, yourself, and others peels away at the innocent gaze of an infant.

When you hold a tiny body within the palm of your hand and feel their little tummies expand with nourishment, you realize that you are their only hope – suddenly your problems become dwarfed compared to theirs. That sense of empowerment leads to confidence, courage, and, most of all, humility. It’s those, like the orphan bats I cared for, who are the most helpless in this world but still throw everything they’ve got into life that give me hope.


Amanda Jenssen:
A few months after giving birth to my second child, I experience post-partum depression. The depression lasted almost a year and affected my whole family. I had a hard time functioning as a wife, mother, or friend. Every day I looked foward to the evening when I could go to sleep and every evening I dreaded the following day. I had lost my enthusiasm for watching my children explore their world and for exploring the world myself. I was no longer interested in enjoying the outdoors, spending time with friends, or being involved in any of the activites that I use to love.

Due to the support of a dear friend, I started to see a councelor. I decided to stop nursing my baby earlier than planned, change my eating, get more sleep, and enlist the support of my friends and family. It was not an easy task to tell my friends and family about my struggle with depression. To be so vulnerable in front of those I loved should be easy but was initially harder than I imagined. It was the best decision I could make. The depression began to lift and over time I was able to see the beautiful world I lived in again. The support of that first dear friend, all of the family and friends who I enlisted for support (every one of them responded with so much love and compasion), and the God whom I believe in all gave me hope.

When I became pregnant with my third child, I was not afraid of post-partum depression. I knew that the support of my family, friends, and God would be available and bring me out of any struggle I was to face. My third child is now 6 months old and only once have I experienced any depression. I am so thankful for the opportunity to fully enjoy my husband, 3 kids, friends, and the amazing world that is before me. Thank you all for the hope you have instilled in me!


Trina Patel:
I am proven that animals can teach us some of the most powerful lessons of life.

This past July, my friend and I set out to volunteer at the Elephant Nature Park, Thailand, which is a refuge for 36 formerly abused elephants. I have been wanting to work with elephants for many years so I was thrilled by the opportunity. I never could have imagined the struggles that these majestic creatures have endured during their lifetime as logging or trekking elephants. When they reach the appropriate age, they go through what the trainers (called mahouts) call in their language “crushing”, as in to crush their spirit and the “wild” out of them. The young elephant is confined in a log enclosure just large enough to fit inside without any other movement. They are jabbed with sticks holding a nail on the end each time they struggle until the elephant succumbs days later from weakness and pain. They are forced to work the rest of their lives and pushed beyond exhaustion. I was horrified to learn that females that are designated for breeding are tied so that they have to be motionless and then they are actually raped. Often times by more than 1 bull.

After all of this depressing reality, I could not understand how the elephants at the park are able to be so gentle around people. I would wonder this while looking at their eyes, unsure of how they must see us. I would think that if I was an elephant, I would see humans as awful evil creatures. Yet these elephants were not full of rage. They seem to have accepted the difficulties that they had faced and now have unshakable reasons to enjoy their new lives.

I often think back to what powerful symbols those elephants are. Powerful symbols of hope. It must have been hope that kept the elephants persevering through their relentless difficulties, even though they would not have had the slightest awareness of the better life their future would hold. None of us have that awareness but in every moment we can, and should, retain hope.


Alanna Boyd:
“Reducing wild bird injury and death through education, rehabilitation and release.”(Carol Pettigrew, 2000) These are the words that I as a worker of BEAKS lived by daily.

BEAKS means Bird Emergency and Kare Society. We are a not-for-profit society relying solely on the donations of kind hearted souls. We are located in the West Kootenays in Canada. The birds we receive are indigenous birds; most are helpless newborns, others are injured by human involvement or infrastructure.

We at BEAKS know what hope is: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.” (Emily Dickinson, 1861) Hope comes to us, in the form of a baby bird; it matters not whether he or she is a Stellar Jay, a Hawk, a Hummingbird, or a Pigeon, as they all possess a raw incorruptible innocence. Imagine a small handful of wispy feathers; the birds are all eyes, and beaks. They stretch their heads toward the food, promptly take a nap, and beg for food again in minutes. The spark of hope and life seeps out of their eyes and fills one’s heart with loving expectation. Soon, as if energized by magic, those babies learn to fearlessly, soar and dive overhead.

These birds could teach a thing or two about hope to humans. They’ve taught me that hope isn’t for the faint of heart; true hope cannot exist in the face of doubt or hopelessness. I once knew a flicker who was given a small chance to walk. He did not flop on the ground and give up because the situation looked hopeless. The flicker, instead, worked his foot many times a day hoping and believing he would walk. He did walk. He scrambled up those trees and arced through the air.

Hope is knowing the birds we’ve spent months with will fly free. Hope is releasing the birds into the wild to sing their own songs of hope. Hope is being funded by the goodness of people. Hope is knowing we make a difference in the lives of birds and that we are doing a wonderful and beautiful thing.


Endangered Species Chocolate would like to thank everyone for there unlimited support and participation in the
It's Tine For Hope campaign. Thank you for spreading HOPE and as always we encourage you to,
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