Looking for inspiration?
Many of us are inspired by the elegance and speed of the cheetah. We know that they are an endangered species, and there are fewer than 7,500 left in the wild. What can we do to make a difference? What can we do to make a difference?
Well, meet two young people who have answered the call of their passion and are creating artwork that directly helps support cheetahs. They have combined their entrepreneurial and artistic skills to raise funds in their respective communities, and now they have joined forces in creating and selling beautiful drawings and decorative cards.
Meet Jeremy and Ella
This is Jeremy
He is twelve and has been supporting Cheetah Conservation Fund – in the UK and the USA and now in Canada – for more than five years. He makes gorgeous cards – with cheetah images, along with other kinds of wildlife and nature – in a range of designs.
He sells them the old-fashioned way, at a street corner in his community and via charity boxes in Vancouver shops. He highly recommends the face-to-face approach, and has had many encounters where people show great openness to learning about the cheetah, his artwork, and some even share their own experiences with big cats and other wildlife.
Abi, Jeremy’s mom, says, “When we talk with people who like Jeremy’s cards, we can educate them about the innovative methods that Cheetah Conservation Fund uses to address human-wildlife conflict, too.”
And this is Ella
She is ten years old and has been drawing for as long as she can remember.
When her parents gave her a book about big cats a few years ago, Ella immediately began to draw cheetahs, improving her technique through Youtube videos. Ella offered her drawings to CCF UK, and won in the kids’ art competition.
Alison Mees, a renowned wildlife photographer from the UK, working in East Africa, met Ella and has kindly allowed her to make drawings from her wildlife photographs of cheetahs.
We met Ella and Jeremy (and their moms) on a Zoom call in late August, to talk about how their love of art, their growing business skills, and their passion for cheetahs have all come together.
Their hard work and generosity means that the sales of original art work (by Ella) and decorative cards (by Jeremy) are part of their commitment to helping save the cheetah from extinction.
For both of these young people, their mothers have provided advice, moral support and even accompany their children when they are out selling their creations.
Jeremy sums it up this way:
“I’m inspired to help the cheetah, because I don’t want my favourite animal to go extinct.”
Ella is glad that her drawings are raising awareness about her favourite animal and how important they are for their ecosystems:
“It would be sad to lose this amazing animal; I want people to understand the difference between cheetahs and other big cats, like leopards and jaguars”.
These young people have shown remarkable commitment, overcoming some hurdles along the way, gaining from their experience, and finding new ways to create artwork that will help raise money for cheetahs.
Gems from these two young cheetah champions:
- Reach out to people in person, because you can help educate them, and don’t be afraid to ask people directly to help the cheetah
- Recognize that it’s okay to adjust your approach, and that sometimes people will not be interested in your cause
- Make it easy for people to provide payment for the art and the cards, especially through on-line payment platforms (Venmo, ApplePay and other methods)
- Know that your friends and even younger kids are watching you and that you can be a role model for them, too. Invite them along!
- Tap into the knowledge and support of your family and friends (and especially your parents!)
On that last point, it was clear in talking with Ella and Jeremy that their moms are very proud of them, and are encouraging them to express themselves creatively and to make a difference for the cheetah.
Ella’s mom, April, says, “I love how ambitious Ella is in terms of following her passions. She knows she loves cheetahs and loves art, and she puts that together. We are learning a lot from Jeremy and his parents.”
Abi says, “I know Jeremy has a passion for the environment and wildlife and in this case, saving cheetahs, and is also interested in building a business.”
Ella and Jeremy are participating in our CheetahFit Challenge 2022 between September 17th and October 1st.
Along with Canadians from coast to coast, they’ll be helping support CCF’s work in Somaliland to save and care for the cheetah cubs that are rescued from the illegal pet trade from the Horn of Africa.
Please support them in our 2022 Cheetah Fit Challenge – a race for the cheetah’s survival!