The 13-year-old has temporarily switched his focus from pet accessory to masks in an attempt to support those putting their lives on the line to treat the infected.
While others his age spend their waking hours making TikToks and playing video games, 13-year-old Darius Brown would rather use that time making good use of his sewing talents. The teen, who made headlines for sewing adorable bow ties for shelter animals to improve their chances of getting adopted, is now using his craft to make face masks for healthcare workers. Brown has temporarily shifted the focus of his organization Beaux and Paws from pet accessory to masks in an attempt to support those putting their lives on the line to treat the infected.
The teen announced this shift in a post on Instagram on March 28 along with a photo of himself wearing a mask he made. Captioning the image he wrote: I hope everyone is safe & healthy and staying home during this crisis we are facing. Today I am working on creating surgical masks to donate since the hospitals have a shortage on masks. This first one came out great. Let’s all work together, help out where we can, and especially practice social distancing so we can all get through this pandemic. In the midst of this storm remember to smile and STAY PAW-SOME!!!!
According to Better Homes & Gardens, Brown has been making the masks with fabric donated to Beaux and Paws and has already made at least 75 pieces. He told the New York Post that his mother has arranged to send the masks to New York state and to local hospitals near their home in Newark, New Jersey. "I was getting so many comments on Instagram saying, 'Darius, you should start making masks for people,'" he said. Inspired by the messages, Brown began spending the time in between his online schooling to churn out masks based on a simple pattern he learned through YouTube.
Although he's been receiving many requests from people interested in buying his masks, the teen is currently focusing his efforts on donations. However, he does have plans to make some available to shop soon. While he does regret having to postpone plans he had with a few animal shelters due to the pandemic, Brown revealed on Instagram that he's happy to have found a productive way to use the time.
I felt so bad because I was supposed to visit 6 animal shelters in 3 states this week during my spring break (PAW-SOME Mission) but because of the pandemic, everything is postponed until the summer hopefully if this is all over. I’m happy that I’m able to use my skills to help those on the front line. I have received an overwhelming amount of requests to purchase masks. I’m working on donations this week. I will try my best to have some made by next week for purchase, he wrote earlier this month.
According to PEOPLE, since launching Beaux and Paws, Brown has donated hundreds of bow ties to animal shelters throughout the country. The bow ties are meant to make the animals look extra adorable during adoption drives to improve their chances of finding their forever homes. His sister Dazhai Brown set up a GoFundMe fundraiser in his name to obtain more fabric and materials for the teen's project, which gained immense popularity online and even reached the eyes of former President Barack Obama. In March 2018, Brown received a letter from the former Commander in Chief, praising him for his work and commitment to community service.