A 13-year-old boy from New Jersey who made headlines in the past for using his sewing talents to make bow ties to help animals get adopted is now applying those skills to create masks for essential workers amid the CCP virus that has swept across the globe.
Sir Darius Brown, who hails from Newark, is an animal advocate and the founder of Beaux & Paws. On March 28, 2020, Darius announced on his Instagram account that he was working to help essential workers who are sacrificing their lives everyday amid the current crisis with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, to provide by making face masks while soliciting help from his mother.
“Today I am working on creating surgical masks to donate since the hospitals have a shortage on masks. This first one came out great,” he wrote. “Let’s all work together, help out where we can, and especially practice social distancing so we can all get through this pandemic.”
When Darius was just 2 years old, he was diagnosed with speech, comprehension, and fine-motor-skills delays. At the age of 8, Darius started to assist his older sister, Dazhai Brown-Shearz, in cutting fabric. He then laid his hands on the sewing machine. In no time, he developed a passion to make bow ties. The teen then started his company, which has helped more than 200 dogs.
How did he get so successful? According to TODAY, the teen, who started to craft his own bow ties, wore them wherever he went. “Literally everywhere I go, I wear a bow tie,” he said. “It makes you look dapper and professional.” Those who noticed him would question him where they could purchase those bow ties from, which then prompted him to start his own company, called Beaux & Paws, to make bow ties for people and their pets.
After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma struck in 2017, this animal lover found that many rescued dogs were transferred from Texas and Puerto Rico to the ASPCA in New York City to find forever homes, according to his website. Thus, he wanted to do his part to help them.
He told The Dodo: “So I made bow ties for dogs and donated them to the shelter so the dogs could look cute, dapper, fashionable and be more noticeable so they could get adopted faster.”
However, with so many needy animals pouring into shelters in the nation, the teen felt that it was the dogs and cats that needed him most. After visiting the adoption center, Darius told the BBC that he “realized that if dogs stay in the animal shelter for too long, then they could get euthanized and that made me really sad.”
After that, “I made it my mission to help as many dogs as I possibly can,” he said. Since then, he has donated countless bow ties to animal shelters and adoption centers in the United States and the United Kingdom so that dogs can find their forever homes.
Darius donates regularly to the Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter in East Hanover, New Jersey. The shelter also confirmed that the bow ties do make a big difference for potential adopters. “One dog that had been here for over three years got adopted,” said Monty, the manager of the animal shelter. “He gave the dogs a second chance is the way I’ve always looked at it.”
As the news started to get out about Darius’s handmade bow ties for beautiful dogs in need of adoption, he began to get a lot of recognition from donors. “The donations help a lot because we were just digging in our pockets, buying the fabric ourselves,” his mom, Joy Brown, told TODAY.
This good Samaritan with a sewing machine who is helping animals in need to find a forever home one bow tie at a time has also been honored and won many accolades. Darius was named the “GoFund Me Kid Hero” of January 2020 and was the New Jersey State Honoree to receive the 2020 Prudential Spirit of Community Award. Additionally, he has received the “Outstanding Achievement Award” from the WDIB Conference, the President’s Volunteer Service Award from the White House, and more, according to his website.
In 2019, Darius had created the “Paw-some mission.” The goal of the mission was to “ship bow ties to and visit animal shelters in all 50 states,” and on visiting them, Darius would personally hand his bow ties to them and help in adoption events. However, an update from his GoFundMe page on April 30 read: “Unfortunately due to the Coronavirus Pandemic animals shelters are closed and no adoption events are being held.”
He further added: “At this time my PAW-SOME MISSION is postponed until we get passed this crisis. I will continue to create bow ties for the shelters and will ship them until I can continue the PAW-SOME MISSION.”
Now, with the recent crisis due to the pandemic, Darius is focusing on helping create face masks for essential workers. He said, “I will continue to use my skills to help support those in need.”