Two years ago, we wrote about a kid helping shelter animals get adopted by making handmade bow ties for them. Now, four years after he first went viral, Darius Brown continues to do more for these animals.
This young man’s mission started with a small donation. Four years ago, Darius donated about 25 handmade bow ties to New York City’s ASPCA animal shelter.
Hundreds of dogs and cats came to the shelter after Hurricane Irma, hoping to find a new forever home. Darius wanted to help in some way, so he made pet-sized bow ties to add to their natural charm and, hopefully, get potential adopters to notice them.
“I thought to myself, ‘Who wouldn’t love a dog in a bow tie?'” he told CNN.
Darius learned how to sew bow ties at the young age of 8. He says his older sister, Dazhai Brown, was the one who inspired him to take up sewing.
“My sister is like a second mom to me,” Brown said. “And growing up, pretty much anything she wanted to do, I wanted to do.”
Dazhai, who was a cosmetology student at the time, would make bow ties for her clients. Darius saw her making the head bows and asked if he could offer a hand.
Together, the siblings made a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-themed bow tie for him.
Darius liked the product so much that he continued assisting his sister. Eventually, he learned how to make bow ties on his own.
Although he had an ambitious attitude, his family was initially hesitant to let him help. That’s because Darius was diagnosed with a speech and fine motor skills disorder at a young age.
His mom, Joy Brown, said that he had trouble doing tasks that are easy for most people, like tying his shoes.
“Because of this I felt like it would be better to wait,” Joy said. “But I never wanted him to feel like he was different, so eventually, I got him some safety scissors and he got to work.”
So, Darius started off by helping Dazhai cut the fabric. And that beginning led to even better things.
Joy said that sewing has helped Darius overcome the difficulties that he faced. Now, he does amazing work with the sewing machine.
Work about his bow tie donation to the ASPCA quickly spread, reaching many pet shelters across the country and worldwide.
Darius then began working harder to accommodate the rising number of bow tie donation requests. He even started “Beaux and Paws,” his own dog bow tie business.
Darius, now 14, also caught the attention of former President Barack Obama, who sent him a letter in the mail, thanking him for his community service.
“I was in awe when I got the letter,” he said. “It was amazing and it really inspired me to keep going.”
Over the past four years, Darius has made and donated over 600 bow ties. The teen says the work can be stressful at times, but when he feels overwhelmed, he thinks about how many dogs he can help get adopted.
Now, Darius is on to a new goal: donating bow ties to an animal shelter in every state. So far, he’s made it to DC and eight states, including Virginia, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.
He also plans to expand Beaux and Paws and hopes to start a clothing line for dogs someday. Be sure to follow his Facebook page.
High school is just around the corner for the young entrepreneur, and he’s excited for what’s to come. Darius has recently been accepted into Choate Rosemary Hall and The Lawrenceville School.
Thank you, Darius, for all the work you’ve done—and still do—for the animals!
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