At the age of 8, Sir Darius Brown felt a mission settle upon his young shoulders that would set him on a transformative path. Moved by the plight of cats and dogs caught in the aftermath of hurricanes in Puerto Rico and Texas, this young changemaker decided to take action. With needle, thread, and a whole lot of heart, Darius and his mom started crafting bowties for a cause, kickstarting a fashionable revolution for furry friends in need.
Now, at 16, Sir Darius has grown his kindness and bowties into a huge platform that’s spreading the message of love and adoption. What began as a compassionate response has evolved into a full-fledged mission to give shelter animals a better shot at finding forever homes. And as a 2023 Clear the Shelters ambassador, Hill’s Pet Nutrition shelter advocate, and a celebrated author-to-be, Sir Darius Brown is a prodigy with a heart full of love who’s got so much more to give.
Bowties Lead to Happy Homes
A sewing genius from the get-go, Sir Darius Brown discovered his love of bowties when his sister taught him to sew to improve his motor skills at age eight. There was just something so unique about a bowtie that moved Darius. And the compliments that came with the dapper look were pretty great, too!
When Hurricanes Harvey and Irma saw animals transported to the ASPCA in New York near his native Newark, New Jersey, Sir Darius was moved to get involved. It was then he began to learn more about animal rescue, including the sad fact that not all animals get adopted. That’s when he formed a brilliant idea.
If a bowtie could turn heads his way, why not use its magnetic power to help shelter animals grab attention and find forever homes? Suddenly, Darius wasn’t just a kid with a sewing machine but a fashion maven with a mission!
“A bow tie, in particular, just gives off that certain something,” shared Sir Darius. “It has this distinction that helps the person pop out. So I felt like the bow tie might give off happiness or some dapperness for the animals to help them get adopted.”
His bowtie business, Beaux & Paws, was born.
“I was very excited the first time I put one of my bow ties on a dog — it made them so adorable and I knew it would help them get adopted,” said Sir Darius.
For each snazzy bowtie sold, Sir Darius made sure one was donated to an animal shelter. To supercharge the work, Darius rolled out his “PAWsome Mission” GoFundMe campaign, rallying the social media universe to chip in. The result? A jaw-dropping $800,000 raised for animal shelters, and over 5,000 bowties donated worldwide.
But hold onto your leashes because this young CEO isn’t bowing out anytime soon!
Working for the Future and More Forevers
This year, Sir Darius served as an ambassador for Clear the Shelters, an inspiring annual event that addresses the problem of animal homelessness in the most direct way possible: by finding loving, permanent homes for as many shelter animals as possible. Spearheaded by NBCUniversal, this nationwide initiative brings together animal shelters, rescue groups, and pet adoption agencies with one unified mission—to “clear the shelters” and ensure no paw is left behind.
The event has gained significant traction over the years, drawing attention from celebrities, pet lovers, and media outlets alike. It aims to make pet adoption more accessible by reducing or eliminating adoption fees during the event and educating the public about the importance of animal rescue and adoption.
The initiative works in conjunction with Hill’s Pet Nutrition, which amplifies its commitment to animal welfare through its Food, Shelter & Love program. This initiative partners with shelters across the country to provide balanced, nutritious meals to animals waiting for their forever homes. The belief behind this program is that proper nutrition can make a world of difference in an animal’s well-being, making them healthier, happier, and thus more adoptable.
Additionally, Hill’s Pet Nutrition offers educational resources and training to shelter staff to ensure animals receive the best food and care while they await adoption. Their partnership with Clear the Shelters and Sir Darius as a shelter advocate brings their mission full circle, complementing efforts to find pets homes with ensuring they’re well-nourished and ready for a new life.
Reaching for One Million
And in working together, the Clear the Shelters event hopes to reach an impressive goal for 2023.
“For this year’s Clear the Shelters, we want to help adopt our one-millionth pet,” Sir Darius explained. “People should want to come together to uplift and inspire others to adopt and to really help us reach our goal.”
To honor the cause, he designed an exclusive “Clear the Shelters” Bow Tie, with part of the proceeds earmarked for this pawsome cause.
As if that’s not enough to wag your tail about, Darius is also moonlighting as an author. Coming to a bookshelf near you on September 5, 2023, his debut book “Project PAWsome: Saving Shelter Pets One Bow Tie at a Time” highlights his journey and serves up 25 heartwarming tales of bowtied rescues. Plus, DIYers rejoice: it includes a tutorial on making your own bowties! Get your copy on Sir Darius Brown’s website, Amazon, or at your favorite book retailer.
It’s no wonder Sir Darius has been recognized for his efforts, with awards and accolades like Peta’s Hero to Animals Award, the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, and the Diana Award attached to his name.
Still in High School
Don’t forget, amid all this fur-tastic activism, Sir Darius is just a high school junior. He studies hard, keeps his grades high, and has been honored with a spot on the Dean’s list. And just a couple of years from graduation, he also has his eyes on college. Considering a business degree to amplify his animal-saving antics, this young entrepreneur proves that the sky’s the limit.
So, keep your eyes peeled and ears perked for Sir Darius Brown, one of 2022’s 100 Global Child Prodigies. He’s spent half his life on a mission, but he’s just getting started. Future, prepare to be dazzled; Sir Darius is on a mission to find homes for all the cats and dogs, one bowtie at a time!