Honest Helping Hands: Stevie's Furry Friends

Honest Helping Hands: Stevie's Furry Friends

An Inside Look at Honestly Amazing Non-Profits

Eight-year-old Stevie Nelson has a big heart for animals. The Nebraska native started his non-profit Stevie's Furry Friends to help shelters with monetary donations and supplies. He was named Kid of the Year in 2011 by the ASPCA and has helped more than 200 shelters across the United States. Here's how and why he did it:

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Q. What was your motive to start Stevie's Furry Friends?

A. I started Stevie's Furry Friends, Inc. because there were so many animals that needed love.

My first fundraiser was for my 6th birthday. I dedicated it to helping homeless pets in northeast Nebraska in honor of my missing labrador retrievers, Bo and Luke, who went missing two days before I turned 5. I wanted to raise $6,000 for our local rescue group and by the end of 2011, I had raised nearly $40,000 in monetary donations and $6,000 in product donations. The ASPCA heard about my story and named me their 2011 Kid of the Year. After being named their Kid of The Year, I knew that this was a great opportunity to help more shelters and rescues across the country, so I started Stevie's Furry Friends, Inc. with the help of some adults. I have helped over 200 shelters and rescues across the USA and have even started Stevie's Furry Friends Club! where I send product donations that I receive from pet care companies to kids that are hosting fundraisers for their local shelters/rescues. So far, I have helped about 30 kids with their projects.

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Q. Why is it important to get kids involved in non-profit work?

A. It's important for kids to help in charity work because we can do a lot! It makes you feel really good to help people and animals! My mom and dad always support what my sister Ashleigh and I want to do to help out in our community. Because of that, we have done a LOT. My sister Ashleigh donated her $24 4H check to St. Jude's and asked for people to match it. She ended up raising $1,200 for our local radiothon! She also had a 10th birthday fundraiser and ended up raising $30,000 worth of hay for a local horse rescue that was struggling during our drought. She just hosted her 2nd Annual Holiday Giving Drive for the elderly, where she delivers stuffed animals to nursing home patients.

This year, GenerationOn and the Hasbro Children's Fund ask me to participate in a kid's toy drive for the 2013 holiday giving season. I am used to helping animals, not kids, so this was exciting! They asked me to be a "Joy Ambassador" where they would send me 100 toys to donate to kids in need in northeast Nebraska. I couldn't pick which organization to help because there were so many that needed the toys. So, I asked my mom to help me contact toy companies and child product companies to see if they would be willing to help me by donating some toys also with a match/partial match donation. Because of so much generosity, I ended up being able to help 10 organizations in northeast Nebraska! I received about 2,000 items, including toys, treats, and stocking stuffers for kids in-need in northeast Nebraska! This was so awesome! I have already had companies say that they would like to help me with a toy drive next year, so I am really excited to make this an annual event!

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Q. How can people (and kids specifically) get involved with your organization?

A. Kids can become a part of Stevie's Furry Friends Club! and when they host a fundraiser for a shelter/rescue, I will send them a package of goodies to donate to their shelter/rescue!

Adults can help by spreading the word about what I do to help animals and kids in need. Shipping is very expensive, so monetary donations are greatly appreciated to keep Stevie's Furry Friends, Inc. going.

Companies can help by providing sponsorship by donating products or by making a monetary donation to one of my fundraisers for kids or animals. I try really hard to promote the companies that support me! Without their help, I wouldn't be able to do all of this!

Q. What was your most memorable moment during your work with Stevie's Furry Friends?

A. My most memorable moment with my work was getting to go to New York City for the ASPCA luncheon and getting to meet so many people. It was also pretty cool getting to be on the TODAY show!  Meeting one of my best FURiends, Surf Dog Ricochet, the 2011 ASPCA Dog of the Year was also a favorite moment. Since we met, we have worked together several times to help animals and kids in need. She is a great FURiend!

I loved making the "Adopt Me, Maybe?" video for 12 Hills Dog Rescue. I also enjoyed going to events, helping raise awareness, and I love meeting the animals I am helping.

I really enjoyed my Joy Ambassador Project too! I loved getting to go meet the kids we were helping! It made me very thankful for everything I have.

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Q. Getting a non-profit up and running (and keeping it running) can be hard work. Do you have any advice for someone (of any age) looking to start their own organization?

A. Just do the best you can. It is a lot of work, but helping people and animals is such an awesome feeling. We ask a lot of questions to people that have been doing this a lot longer than we have. Having a good support system is very important!

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.