DENHAM SPRINGS — Jade Mitchell is ringing in the new year with a continued commitment to helping animals.
The 11-year-old and her mother, Julie Robertson, are the minds behind Jade’s Flowers, an organization that raises money for animals in shelters and for rescue organizations.
The duo, both of Denham Springs, are selling their 2015 “Saved By Love” calendars — a project Robertson said they had hoped to launch in 2014 but had to delay after a fire destroyed their home on Aug. 20, 2013.
Now back in their home, Jade and her mother are working hard to sell more than 800 calendars to help several rescue organizations, including the Denham Springs Animal Shelter, the Walker Animal Shelter and the Livingston Parish Animal Shelter.
The calendars aim to raise money and promote pet adoptions, something Jade became increasingly passionate about after visiting several animal shelters and pet adoption events.
“As she got older, she started realizing that some of them are put down,” Robertson said. “She had expressed wanting to branch out to help animals get adopted.”
To teach the public the importance of animal adoption, the calendar each month features a rescue animal and its rescue story, and the back cover includes an array of pictures of animals that have been rescued.
Jade, who received more than 100 rescue stories to be included in the 2015 calendar, said she chose the ones that “tugged on heart” the most.
While this is the first year for Jades Flowers to sell calendars, Jade’s crusade to help animals began when she was only 8 and quickly flourished thanks to her love for animals — combined with creativity and ingenuity.
In 2011, Jade began making flower pencils from duct tape, sharing her colorful creations with friends. The more she made, the more expensive the duct-tape hobby became. Instead of asking her friends to pay $1 or $2 for the flower pencils, Jade and her mom put their heads together and decided to sell her wares, donating the proceeds to a charity. Jade, who said she wants to become a veterinarian, chose to benefit animals.
Jade began to sell the flower pencils at garage sales and then knocked on neighbors’ doors. During her first run through the neighborhood, Jade netted more than $50 to help area animals.
“That’s when it just exploded,” Robertson said. Neighbors began asking Jade to create pen flowers with the duct tape.
The two then set up a Jades Flowers Facebook page, and requests for the pens poured in. She has raised more than $13,000 for animals by making and selling flower pens, shoe clips, rings, bracelets, head bands and homemade dog treats.
Jade attends festivals, such as the Fall Festival in Denham Springs, and adoption events, such as SPCA’s Rock-N-Roll Rescue in Denham Springs.
In addition, Jade collects items during her annual Give A Dog A Bone and Blanket Drive, which is going on through Jan. 15. Items such as blankets, dog food, dog treats and toys can be dropped off at Dodge City Farm Supply, 101 Hatchell Lane, Denham Springs.
Visit www.jadesflowers.org to order a 2015 calendar. The cost is two for $20.
For more information, to purchase any Jade’s item or to donate to the drive, call Robertson at (225) 937-4431.