From lemonade stands to lobbying members of Congress, children pitch in for the love of animals

By on July 31, 2019 with 6 Comments

As mom to an animal-loving daughter, it warms my heart to see stories of children who are working to make the world a better place for animals. We have all seen these on social media or maybe in our own homes and neighborhoods – children who ask for donations to animal shelters instead of birthday presents; children who volunteer at animal shelters, giving homeless dogs and cats much-needed love and companionship; children who raise money with lemonade stands to donate to animal causes.

But as the leader of the most effective global animal protection organization, these stories do more than warm my heart. They give me immense hope for the future of our mission.

There is Shon Griffin, a five-year-old superhero to the homeless cats in Philadelphia. Shon, dubbed the “Catman,” dresses up in superhero costumes and accompanies his two aunts each day to feed and deliver belly scratches to stray cats, who are under the watch of a local stray cat charity called Kolony Kats. He has been doing this since age three, and as one of his aunts told People magazine, he has a “magic touch” with the animals.

There is 11-year-old Frannie, whose neighbors were forced to evacuate their homes after Hurricane Harvey hit earlier this year. After hearing on the news that the Humane Society of the United States was going house to house on boats, rescuing pets and animals who were left behind, she decided to do a lemonade stand to raise money for the animals affected by the storm. Calling themselves “Harvey’s Animal Helpers,” Frannie and her friends put together a video about their cause and put it on a GoFundMe page. Within three days, Frannie and her friends had raised $3,500 to help animals. Frannie also testified in front of a Texas Senate committee in support of an HSUS-authored bill to prohibit private ownership of dangerous wild animals.

One of the children who’s gained a great deal of fame on social media in recent weeks is Darius, a 12-year-old from Newark, New Jersey, who designs bow ties for dogs. Darius makes and donates bow ties to shelters around the country so dogs can wear them and look “cute and dapper” and irresistible to prospective adopters. Darius’s company, Beaux & Paws, now gets requests for bow ties from around the world and he’s raised thousands of dollars for animal shelters.

Declan Gregg, a high school senior, has been committed to the fight to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, to protect horses from slaughter.

There are young people who are involved with our legislative efforts in Congress. Recently, our work to get the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, H.R. 724, through Congress got a boost from a high school student, Sydney Helfand, who began a petition at to pass the PACT Act. Sydney’s petition gathered more than 650,000 signatures and she was a guest at an event organized by the Humane Society Legislative Fund in front of the U.S. Capitol to urge for passage of the act.

Declan Gregg, a high school senior, has been committed to the fight to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, to protect horses from slaughter. At just nine years old, Declan founded Children 4 Horses, a group dedicated to ending the slaughter of American horses and promoting equine welfare. He has traveled to Capitol Hill and met with top congressional leaders to urge them to pass the SAFE Act, and he is also known for taking in animals of all shapes and sizes and making sure they are healthy and safe.

Our volunteer engagement staff responds to dozens of inquiries each year from children looking to work with animals, and there are many opportunities to do so. If your child is interested in volunteering to help animals, you can contact us for more information on how to get involved. There are also plenty of opportunities for children to volunteer at local shelters and take other steps to help animals, including educating classmates about animal protection issues that matter to them, organizing a drive to collect much-needed supplies for their local shelter or rescue, and encouraging the school cafeteria to make Mondays meat-free.

With so many young people dedicated to this mission, the future of animal protection seems promising and bright. We are proud to do all that we can to support and affirm the good instincts of young advocates, and help them in their quest to make the world a better place for all animals.

Companion Animals, Equine, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Shawn says:

    I am so very PROUD of the children today who step up to try and make a difference to help so many animals …if it was my child I would forever be so proud to let the world know..”that’s my child”!!!
    The only issue I have is HSUS is BEYOND MISLEADING…LIE beyond words can ever express!!!! Money donated to HSUS has anyone really followed the money trail!?? I can promise you it is not going to help save animals and support animal care!!! If HSUS were HONEST they would tell you that they are the world’s largest lying SCAMMERS EVER!!! People need to do their investing and study more on HSUS and what they are really about…you would be shocked!!!

    • Shawn says:

      HSUS main goal is to stop ALL animal owning … so no more going home to cuddle your pretty cat or that tiny puppy that your child loves so much…HSUS wants to stop all pet ownership by the time everything is all said and done…will they tell you that!??? NO …because then even the children would stop raising money to support HSUS!! SCAMMERS…SCAMMERS!!

      • AJoseph says:

        This is untrue. All of the wonderful people we’ve met through the HSUS are all loving pet owners to cats and dogs. They are some of the most caring and unselfish people I’ve ever met.

  2. Carolyn Denton says:

    Teaching children to be kind to animals has to begin at an very early age at home with all family members participating. It needs to be continued in schools as children grow and learn right from wrong. More programs in schools are a necessity.
    Love of animals, nature and the environment should not take a back seat. Children absorb like sponges and they will reap benefits if they are taught to be kind.

  3. Lisa Davis says:

    Most importantly I want Thank not only the amazing children featured in this article and every other child who give their hearts and time to these important issues!

    This article gave me hope that the future will continue to receive support from people that fight for the causes the confront so many beautiful animals.

    Thanks for sending this email.


  4. Joyce Glass says:

    There are so many children who will be the next voices for the voiceless. My daughter started Lucy’s Legacy and Hope For Animals when she was 8. She is now 13 and her impact has been far reaching. She speaks to groups to teach humane education, address issues for companion animals and to let children know they can make a difference!!!

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