Ashley Nevison is a 14-year-old girl on a mission to bring hope to those in need. The young philanthropist has been on quite the journey since founding her nonprofit, Sargeant’s Army, in October of 2018. What began as a way to honor her late cat has since grown into so much more, with new inspiration and opportunities to spread kindness at every turn. In an article written for Channel Kindness, Ashley wrote, “My mom always told me that life was full of pivots and that is so true for my non-profit, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Founding Sargeant’s Army
In her article, Ashley explained how it all began with her cat, Sargeant, who passed away in 2018. “We rescued him when he was five years old and only had him in our lives for six years,” she said. Still, he must have been pretty special, as Ashley was inspired to begin Sargeant’s Army in his memory, stating, “He was the most amazing cat and I knew that I wanted to do something to honor him.”
With Ashley’s mother being a seamstress, the family happened to have no shortage of fabric scraps around the house that would normally end up in the trash. So the question became, how could Ashley salvage these scraps and repurpose them towards her goal of honoring Sargeant?
Explaining her thought process, Ashley wrote, “I wanted to do something to keep the fabric scraps from ending up in the landfills so I decided to sew cat toys out of them and donate them to animal shelters.”
Not only would Ashley provide hope to homeless cats, but she would do her part to make it eco-friendly too! And so Sargeant’s Army was born, with kindness and a desire to do good in the world driving the initiative. Since then, she has been able to provide more than 800 toys and blankets to cats in need.
Spreading Hope During COVID-19
When COVID-19 hit in March of 2020, Ashley chose to refocus her sewing efforts toward supporting those heavily affected by the pandemic. In her article, she explained, “I decided to pause my cat toy sewing and switch to making PPEs to donate to essential workers and health care professionals.” As the result of her efforts, Ashley was able to sew over 500 face masks by July alone!
Soon after her work supporting essential workers and health care professionals, Ashley set off on a mission to share that same kind of hope with Arizona’s homeless youth. But this time she wanted to do just a little bit more to help.
“This summer was one of the hottest on record in Arizona, and it really started me thinking bout how hard it would be to be homeless,” Ashley explained. So she decided to leverage Sargeant’s Army to raise money towards supporting young people in need, with a plan to “provide Hope Bags filled with hygiene items, sanitizer, and a PPE to the homeless community.”
In her article for Channel Kindness, Ashley reported that her efforts thus far have been very rewarding, raising over $13,000 already! “So far, I have handed out over 2,400 Hope Bags consisting of over 17,000 items to 11 different organizations that help the homeless community,” said Ashley. “And by December 2021 my goal is that I will have provided over 10,000 Hope Bags that year.”
However, Ashley’s philanthropy doesn’t stop there. In her spare time, she writes and illustrates books and reads to kids in kindergarten and grade school. Her efforts are driven by a desire to share her experience with bullying in hopes of promoting kindness among children.
Ashley has spread more kindness in her 14 years than many people do in a lifetime. Her big heart, coupled with her motivation to do good in the world has brought her on quite the journey so far. We can’t wait to see where her ambition takes her in the future! Thank you for all you do, Ashley!