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10 Rising Hearts: Student serenades animals at the Humane Society

You've heard of reading programs, but how about serenading programs? A 10-year-old girl volunteers to play music for shelter animals of all ages to bring a little joy to humans and animals alike.

Music makes Nancy Tant happy.

"When I sing or play the ukulele I kind of go, I don't know exactly what to call it, I go to a different universe as I sing," she said.

The 10-year-old goes to a different universe. She also goes to the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley is West Knoxville. Nancy found out about a reading program for the animals there then she suggested singing instead.

"When I'm here the animals kind of sing with me and they kind of listen," she said.

It didn't take long to convince her mom it was a worthy volunteer opportunity.

"At first I was a little bit like every mom, I'm going to have to take her and spend the time there, but as soon as I started coming I liked it maybe more than she does. I love spending time with the animals," Betsy Tant said.

Spending time with the animals at the Humane Society is a natural fit for her daughter.

"She is very empathetic and has always had a heart for people and animals who are struggling in any way," she said.

No struggles for Nancy when the dogs howl along. It's their way of singing.

She said each animal reacts a little differently. She adjusts the volume for her audience.

"For the dogs I have learned how to play louder because I know they'll be barking. For the cats I have to learn to be very, very, very quiet because I know it kind of freaks them out," she said.

The cats seem to appreciate the soft music.

"The cats, all of them, are just sitting there and feeling amazing," she said. "They are like 'it's ok, just play, I want to sleep,' but they're still listening as I play my music."

Music connects the 10-year-old human to the animals of all ages to make them all happy.

Betsy said, "As she's kept doing it and she's seen the animals get adopted and how well they are treated here she is fine and she loves it and it makes me very proud."

She is a proud mom who sees Nancy Tant making a difference in our community.

We want to showcase students who reach beyond their schools and families to help make our community better. To nominate a student, please send an email describing them and their community service to 10Hearts@wbir.com.