In May of 2010, Sophia opened a lemonade stand on Lemonade Day to raise money for IndyHumane. She dressed up as a Dalmatian and happily walked her $70 into the shelter. We gave her a tour and she saw how many puppies and kittens were in need. From that year on, every birthday party has been a fundraiser for IndyHumane, and for most of those years, included her entire class from The Orchard School.
However, Sophia didn’t just use her birthday parties to raise awareness. She started Hoops for Hounds Night in 2013 with the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever. Last year, her Mutt Strut team won Top Dog, and Brebeuf’s Chief will be the face of Mutt Strutt 2020. Sophia and Chief will be the guests of honor and lead the walk on April 2020.
Sophia turned that original $70 into more than $37,000 for animals in need. In addition, she has worked in the shelter, at school and at home. She’s been a foster mom to more than 60 animals from IndyHumane, led the Raising Awareness for Animals Club at Brebeuf, and works as a Pet Care Specialist at the Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital.
Impressed with a kid’s passion, the community has honored her efforts. IndyHumane named her a Champion in 2017; the Indianapolis Colts named her an Anthem Community Angel in 2018. Sophia’s dedication was recognized when she received the 2018 Outstanding Youth Achievement Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Indiana Chapter. She was nominated by IndyHumane and the Lilly Endowment, Inc. The Orchard School named her Graduate of the Last Decade in 2019.
While she loves animals, she is just a regular teenager, too! She plays on the Brebeuf tennis and golf teams, leads the viola section of the Brebeuf orchestra, and volunteers weekly with the Traders Point Christian Church youth ministry and Children’s TherAplay Foundation. Sophia was recently selected for the National Honor Society. She hopes to major in pre-med, pre-vet or marine biology when she heads off to college in two years. When you see her at Mutt Strut 2020, be sure to thank her for all she’s done for IndyHumane and for homeless pets in our community.