Boy creates bow ties for shelter dogs to help them get adopted
Imagine being so passionate about a particular cause - and from such a young age - that you'd be willing to sacrifice much of your free time in order to get it off the ground. Well, that's 12-year-old Darius Brown in a nutshell.
Incredibly, the preteen New Jersey native has his very own organisation, Beaux and Paws, which specialises in producing bow ties for shelter dogs so that they catch the eye of potential owners.
"It helps the dog look noticeable, very attractive," he told the Today Show. "It helps them find a forever, loving home… I love everything about dogs and cats."
Darius' passion for designing and creating things came about from a very early age. At the age of two, in fact, he was diagnosed with speech delay, comprehension delay, and a delay in fine motor skills, and it was due to this that his family felt the need to encourage a sense of creativity in the toddler.
And ultimately, it was from there that he drew his inspiration for entrepreneurial endeavours - well, that coupled with his love of animals.
Darius' mother Joy Brown, 40, and sister Dazhai Brown-Shearz, 22, noticed something truly spectacular about Darius just four years ago. It was at this time that Dazhai was studying at cosmetology school - which was when she and Joy discovered the then-eight-year-old's skill with the needle. Darius would help his sister by cutting fabrics, sewing and making hair ribbons - and it turned out that he was quite the creative genius.
"With his fine motor skills, he wasn’t able to really use his hands well — tying a shoe was challenging," Dazhai told Today. "My mother and I came up with the idea that if he helped us with things like prepping the ribbon or cutting it, and sewing fabric together, it would help him. And it did — it worked!"
After a lot of practice, Darius soon began making a new bow tie to wear each day. "I wear bow ties all the time," Darius said. "Literally everywhere I go, I wear a bow tie."
When people on the street started showing interest in purchasing his wares, the young talent knew he was onto something and soon enough Beaux and Paws was born.
For each purchase, Darius makes a donation to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and buys more fabric from the proceeds to continue with his efforts. He also gets some of his materials and supplies through donations from the public.
"The donations help a lot because we were just digging in our pockets, buying the fabric ourselves," his mother told Today.
The publicity surrounding his work is such that even former President Barack Obama reached out to the 12-year-old via a letter commending him for his philanthropy.
Impressively, the young entrepreneur has donated hundreds of bow ties to animal shelters all over the US. And he's currently fundraising so that he can produce and sell even more of them.