Nickelodeon and TIME magazine have nominated a Scottsdale teen for “Kid of the Year 2020.”
Rancho Solano Preparatory School student Dylan Capshaw, 14, is one of the final 20 nominees for the first multiplatform initiative that recognizes extraordinary young leaders making a positive impact on their local community.
“It feels amazing!” Dylan said. “I still remember the shock when I found out people nominated me for this because I never did what I do for recognition.”
Capshaw was among the more than 5,000 kids ages 8-16 nominated for the initiative.
“My mom told me a few people nominated me and explained what Nickelodeon and TIME Magazine were doing and I couldn’t believe it. When I found out I was a finalist it was even crazier,” Dylan said. “The fact that Nickelodeon and TIME Magazine are bringing attention to kids making a difference is so amazing.”
Dylan has been inspired by his fellow nominees.
“Each of the other 19 kids were doing something so amazing and something I never thought was possible,” Dylan said. “They are all so inspirational and powerful.”
As is he.
Dylan started his own nonprofit, Dylan Capshaw Wildlife Foundation in 2017 during Hurricane Harvey.
He said watching coverage of the hurricane motivated him – at the mere age of 11 – to take action.
“I saw animals stranded on the news and I knew it was time to make a change... I started my foundation and raised money for an animal shelter in Houston, Texas,” said Dylan, who flew to Texas, donated the check and funded an expedition to save 10 dogs from a flooded grocery store.
Dylan has rescued hundreds of animals in crisis via fundraising efforts and events, including Sponsor an Emu, the Australian Fires Fundraiser, local supply runs for animal shelters, VIP sponsoring and wildlife education.
“I am most proud of my sanctuary and all of the animals I have rescued,” Dylan said. “I now have a 24/7 phone line for rescues and to help answer questions.”
His Australian Fires Fundraiser raised $3,000 for the Koala Hospital and Dylan has donated supplies to animal shelters overwhelmed by the more recent West Coast fires.
“We were able to get dozens of donated items including dog food, dog cans, dog treats, beds and blankets in wholesale,” Dylan said. “But due to an overwhelming amount of support, most vet offices declined the supplies and they are being outsourced to other shelters upon request and need.”
Dylan isn’t solely passionate about helping animals.
In response to the pandemic, he also founded two other organizations: For The Frontline and The Sanitation Stations.
“At first, starting a nonprofit seemed intimidating but my dedication to making a difference kept me going and I filed two nonprofits completely myself using online tutorials,” Dylan said.
As part of For the Frontline, Dylan partners with a local shipping company to create 3-D printed reusable filtered masks and face shields for healthcare workers.
So far, he has shipped more than 3,000 masks and face shields to essential workers across the country.
“We probably sent the most to Navajo Nation which needed the most help at the time,” Dylan said. “We also sent a care package to the NYC Fire Department because we heard they were sharing masks.”
The Sanitation Stations equips businesses with PPE vending machines to help make essential items such as wipes, gloves, and surgical and reusable masks more readily available.
Dylan came up with the concept in September and will “very soon” place a fully stocked vending machine at the Scottsdale Quarter.
“My goal is to make PPE readily available to all who need,” he said.
“Whether it’s an animal or a person, I want to help whoever I can,” he added. “I just hope people stop thinking that you have to be an adult to do something.”
The top five nominees will be featured in a TV special at 8 p.m. Dec. 5 and will be hosted by “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah; one will be crowned Kid of the Year and featured on a cover of TIME with a companion story in TIME for Kids. It will air on Nickelodeon, CBS Television Network, TeenNick and Nicktoons.
Dylan said he hopes to win to show kids that they, too, can make a difference.
“The false conception that you have to be an adult to do something needs to end. Kids can make a difference!” he said. “Just for me to be this far as a finalist has helped immensely in spreading my message and fueled me to do even more.”
“I am so happy I am able to offer constant support and relief to my community,” he added.
Celebrity guests will help introduce each of the top five honorees during the broadcast, including Kristen Bell, Simone Biles, Brie Larson, Zachary Levi and Russell Westbrook, among others.
“In the unprecedented times that we are living in today, it has been inspiring to see humanity come together to help one another, and I’ve been especially drawn to the stories of kids using their creativity to bring resources to their communities,” Noah said . “After all, the person who’s going to bring us a better tomorrow is a kid who’s out there doing it today.”