Dylan Capshaw is always thinking about how to make the world a better place and is working to do his part to turn those thoughts into action.
The Scottsdale teen has already launched two nonprofits and started a business in between juggling school and homework.
The passion Capshaw, 14, has for helping others is one of the many reasons he is a finalist for Nickelodeon television channel and Time Magazine’s “Kid of the Year.”
“I think giving back is our duty and I understand kids nowadays are busy, but it is our job to make the world a better place,” Capshaw said. “You don’t have to be an adult to get something done and kids should be taking action now on something they are passionate about.”
“Kid of the Year” is an initiative that recognizes young leaders making a positive impact in their communities. The top five nominees will be featured on a TV special hosted by “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 on Nickelodeon.
Capshaw was selected from 5,000 nominations.
What Capshaw has done so far
Capshaw is a freshman at Rancho Solano Preparatory School and at 11 years old, he started the Dylan Capshaw Wildlife Foundation after watching the devastation of Texas and Louisiana communities due to Hurricane Harvey.
“I started my foundation and raised money for an animal shelter in Houston, Texas. I flew out, donated the check and funded an expedition to save 10 dogs from a flooded grocery store,” Capshaw said. “I have always loved animals and knew this was something I wanted to do, but I needed a good time to start and that was it.”
He runs the nonprofit from his home in Scottsdale, where the rescued animals live and where he runs a 24/7 phone line for people who have questions about animals or need an animal rescued.
Right now, Capshaw has two aviaries with chickens, ducks, quails, parakeets and other birds. Also under his care is veiled chameleon, toads, prairie dogs, a hedgehog, multiple dogs and a wallaby.
Capshaw also had three turkeys he says he rescued from a Thanksgiving table.
“I definitely spend all of my time outside of school working on the nonprofits,” Capshaw said. “I wake up every morning at the crack of dawn to start feeding the sanctuary and cleaning the habitats. I do daily vet checks on all the animals and make everything clean before school.”
How he’s trying to make a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic
His second nonprofit, For the Frontline, was founded during the pandemic. Capshaw uses a 3-D printer to create face shields and face masks for first responders and printed 100 face shields for teachers and students.
Capshaw partnered with a local shipping company called Birdytell to send more than 3,000 PPE care packages to first responders across the country. He said the U.S. Foreign Health Team even used his template to print masks for other countries with no PPE equipment.
Most recently, Capshaw launched a new business called The Sanitation Station, a vending machine filled with PPE and locally sourced drinks. Capshaw said the vending machine will be placed at The Scottsdale Quarter soon.
With his home state rooting for him, Capshaw says this moment is bigger than him.
“I want my story to inspire people to do something they are passionate about. If you are a kid reading this and you feel passionate towards something, my message to you is to take action and make a change,” Capshaw said.
“Be a positive force and spread kindness, nothing is stopping you. I made both of my nonprofits completely by myself using online tutorials and that means you can do it too.”
Elizabeth Montgomery is Arts and Culture Reporter for The Arizona Republic, azcentral.com. Reach her at [email protected] or 602-444-8764. Follow her on Twitter @emontnews. Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.
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