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KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — The safest kid in America, curiously, is a young girl living in Japan.

Despite being halfway around the world, a 12-year-old from Kadena Middle School won the distinction as the “Safest Kid in America.”

Shantel Hubbard, who will enter seventh grade this fall, earned the title from The Safe America Foundation. She won in the 11- to 14-year-old category for her submission titled “SAFETY — Super Achievement For Everyone Through Youth.”

Her winning entry was to create the “Kids Safety Secret Service,” or K3S, an idea she had while watching a TV news segment about the U.S. Secret Service. “My idea is to actually have a Secret Service of trained kids who could help other kids that have safety problems,” Shantel said.

Her idea focuses on children in areas where safety is a top issue such as Siberia, Africa, India, China, South Korea and the United States, she said.

One child would operate K3S, and the agency would dispatch security teams whenever needed.

“They would show kids how to protect themselves rather than solve their problems with violence,” she said.

Shantel said it took about two weeks to come up with the idea and complete the project. She had to illustrate K3S and write a story explaining the idea.

The illustration depicts the perfect city where children “don’t have to worry about being home at a certain time so they don’t get hurt or have something bad happen to them.”

Her idea was submitted through the Boys and Girls Club on Kadena, which was one of 3,000 clubs worldwide involved in the competition, according to a Safe America Foundation release.

Campbell Soup Co., Delta Air Lines, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Publix Super Markets in Georgia sponsor the 5-year-old program.

“There is no better way for kids to learn more about safety than by creating ways to teach other kids, and Safe America recognizes the creativity and value children place on safety,” stated Len Pagano, president of Safe America, in the release. Shantel’s mother, Jaclyn Hubbard, isn’t surprised by her daughter’s accomplishment.

“That’s just the type of person she is … she gives before she receives, it’s just natural for her,” said Hubbard. “She did it with no help from us, it really came from her heart. I’m honored that she has a vision for this.”

Shantel said she is pleased with the designation and the prize of a new computer, but that just knowing her voice was heard is good enough.

“I’m really happy that something of mine was acknowledged … that I was recognized for an idea I had,” she said.


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