Pet Pins

Ava Sampias has always loved animals. When she found out about an after school camp at the Naperville Area Humane Society, she asked her mom to go.

“They told us in our camp that sometimes they have to turn away animals because they don’t have enough space,” said Ava.

“She came to me and said ‘You know, I need to do something to help these animals,’” said Monica Sampias, Ava’s mom.

Ava recruited her friend Ella Hilbrant and decided to start a dog walking business, but their moms said they were too little. They brainstormed and came up with the idea of the 1980’s friendship pins and Pet Pins was born.

“You basically take a safety pin and you get all these beads and you put the beads on the pins and you get to customize them however you want,” said Ava.

“I knew she probably couldn’t do it by herself because that would just be too hard with a lot of orders,” said Hilbrant.

The girls, along with their siblings and a few friends got to work. Their moms set up a Facebook page, and email, and a PayPal account. The kids went door to door and set up booths outside their house, selling the pins for a dollar. By the end of the first week the group had raised more than $300.

“We knew our family, we knew grandma and grandpa were going to buy pins, but we really had no idea that we would be getting emails from strangers,” said Monica.

After less than a month, Pet Pins donated a check to the Humane Society for more than $850.

“I was really surprised at the amount,” said Angie Wood, Executive Director of the Naperville Area Humane Society.

“I’m hoping that they can buy more kennels and stuff so they’ll have more space for more animals,” said Ava.

The kids aren’t stopping there. In addition to the Humane Society, they’re now raising money to help some furry friends that are sick.

“Now some of the money will go to Angels on Wheels because we’re fostering these puppies and their litter all got parvo and it’s way too much money for the lady that handles those, that’s why we’re doing it,” said Hilbrant.

At only ten and eight years old, Ava and Ella are making a big difference, and they have no plans to quit in the near future.

“It’s not about raising money for you, but it’s about raising money for things in the community because with your own money you can just buy whatever you want, but raising money for other community stuff, maybe they can buy something really important that they need,” said Ava.

“Even though they’re little they can make a difference,” said Theresa Hilbrant, Ella’s mom. “The seven of them working together have raised quite a bit of money for little kids. It gave them that encouragement of once you set your mind to something and follow it through, then you can accomplish a bigger task.”

“It’s been really fun to just see them learn that their efforts, their creativity, their passion can make a difference and help the animals,” said Monica.

To order, visit their Facebook page at, or send them an email at


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