FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Morgan Stevenson is 9 years old and lives in Fort Wayne. She has high-functioning autism and really loves animals. Her doctor suggested spending time with animals would help her better develop relationships with people. She was really attached to her grandparents’ black lab, Bailey. When Bailey passed last year, her family started looking for other ways she could spend time around animals, including getting a new puppy. Over the summer they volunteered at the Humane Society of Whitley County. Morgan’s mom, Jennifer, said volunteering at the shelter really brought Morgan out of her shell and out of her comfort zone. “She’d start talking to these people and I’m like ‘oh my gosh this is like doing good things for her. Kind of getting her outside of her comfort zone’.”
“So after school started we couldn’t get over there to volunteer, but her heart was still definitely in it. Like she felt like we need to be there; they need our help,” said Jennifer. That’s when Jennifer and Morgan decided to start selling bows to raise money for the shelter. Morgan said, “I had to learn to sew. Took a little bit of holes in the fingers (laughs),” and that it only takes her about one minute to make each bow now. She’s also constantly adding new things to her inventory. Right now she’s working on holiday bows for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. She’s also had some request for Colts ribbons and is starting to work on that. Her newest design is doggie bow ties, which should start coming out soon. Those are a bit more difficult to make, she explains, so they’re taking longer to figure out. Morgan makes several kinds of bows out of felt and ribbon, baby headbands and doggie “collars” using elastic. This all started when the family decided to spend less time with technology, which included Morgan putting down her tablet. They had a lot more free time and realized they needed to be spending more time together. Morgan wanted to start making bows for playtime with her sister and their stuffed animals, so her mom looked up some ideas on Pinterest.
Morgan has already raised over $1000; her original goal was $250. When she reached $750, she donated the money to the shelter so they could buy a new washing machine. While volunteering there, Morgan noticed volunteers were taking dirty laundry home to wash it in their personal machines. That was what prompted her to start raising money. Sandy Grube, Director of Operations at the Humane Society of Whitley County, said of Morgan, “she’s just an extraordinarily wonderful kid.” Now people are donating money to the shelter on Morgan’s behalf without purchasing bows. Morgan didn’t want anything in exchange for her donation, but the shelter gave her a t-shirt with her name embroidered on it.
Morgan and her mom attend local craft fairs, including one this Saturday (February 11) in Columbia City. They will be set up next to the Humane Society. Morgan’s family are all so impressed with how humble she’s been through this process while receiving a lot of attention. Morgan just wants all the attention (and donations) to go to the shelter. She comes from a family of givers. She and her grandparents and dad did a polar plunge together, and her grandparents started the Haunted Jail in Columbia City to raise money. Morgan’s grandfather says one of the things he loves most about Morgan is how she notices the little things in life. She stops to appreciate the beauty that other people usually miss.