ASPCA Names Newtown Victim 'Kid of the Year' for Her Love of Animals

12/16/2013 at 09:30 AM EST

Catherine Hubbard Names ASPCA's Kid of the Year
Matt and Jen Hubbard, parents of Catherine (inset), with their son Freddy
Nigel Parry. Inset:Courtesy of Hubbard Family
Catherine Violet Hubbard was 6 years old when she became one of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. But she'd already become known for her kindness to animals.

Last month, the ASPCA chose to honor Catherine's memory by giving her the Tommy Monahan Kid of the Year Award.

The posthumous award was accepted on Catherine's behalf by her mother, Jenny Hubbard, who called it "a reflection of the compassion, grace and acceptance Catherine taught us all."

Catherine loved animals and insects, and would build "homes" for the ones she found during her day, eventually letting them go after whispering to them, "Tell your friends I am kind." The Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation was created in that spirit, and is working with the Animal Center in Newtown to build an animal sanctuary in her honor.

The planned Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary will feature a dog and cat adoption area, a farm animal rescue, wildlife rehabilitation center and a butterfly garden. Catherine's art will be featured in a gallery on the grounds.

"Our family is passionate about making Catherine's dream of creating a place where all animals feel safe and loved into a reality," Hubbard said, according to the foundation's website. "We have no doubt that when we open the doors to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, Catherine will think it is the most beautiful place on earth."

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