How a Six-Year-Old’s Love for Animals Helped Launch His Business Career
When this Alabama Student began sewing at an early age, his world opened to the possibility of creating sewing projects that make a difference.
Lando Aldridge of Alabaster, 10, was recently honored with a Daily Point of Light Award. Four years ago, Lando learned that many animals are in shelters or foster situations and did not have permanent homes, much less money for food, medicines, and medical care. He decided he needed to help with his own two hands – and with a little help from his sewing machine.
“Lando learned to hand sew when he was six while watching me work on his Halloween costume,” said Francie-Ann Vono, Lando’s mother. “When he was interested in sewing all his Christmas presents, we made him an early Christmas gift of a sewing machine, and he’s been at it ever since.”
Lando applied his sewing skills and his love of animals to start “Hats for Cats,” a homegrown effort to create and sell sewn items to raise funds for shelters, rescues, and sanctuary animals. Lando started out helping two entities, and that has grown to five.
Don’t let the name of his organization fool you – Lando does not make cat hats. He began making fleece hats for people and now has several other items.
“When you are six and start your animal charity with fleece hats, and you love cats, and ‘hats’ rhymes with ‘cats’, that’s the name you get,” said Francie-Ann. “He still does not want to change the name of his charity, so sometimes there is a little explaining to do.”
Lando started out sewing fleece hats, canvas bags, and pet pillow beds. When the COVID pandemic hit and he heard on a local press conference that medical people and other front-line workers needed masks, Lando decided he could help by sewing masks and donating them to front line personnel, and by selling them to the general public.
“It was extremely hard to find masks at that time, and people seemed eager to have some protection. Once they saw how good his masks were, some people referred friends and family, or bought more for themselves,” Francie-Ann recalls. “When Lando’s story was featured in an article by iHeartDogs that went viral, he started receiving mask orders from all over the country!”
All of this is a lot of work for a 10-year-old, but thankfully Alabama Virtual Academy allows Lando a somewhat flexible schedule. Through ALVA, he is getting a top-quality education and learning valuable skills that will even help him with his business. Lando’s parents enrolled him in the online school when COVID cases began to surge in his area. “We have been very pleased with ALVA, from the textbooks and workbooks, outstanding teachers, to being allowed to structure each day a little differently if he chooses,” Francie-Ann shared.
Lando has accomplished a lot at just 10 years old, donating nearly $9,000 to some very deserving animals and helping a lot of humans too.
“Hats for Cats has been a very rewarding experience and he loves when shelters and rescues reach out to him about how he has helped the animals in their organizations,” says Francie-Ann. “We are proud of all he’s accomplished and he doesn’t want to stop helping any time soon. In fact, he wants to start another business.”
To learn more about Alabama Virtual Academy, visit https://alva.k12.com/
Is your child ready for the future?
Make sure your student is ready for life after high school.
Meet a Leader in online education.
See why over two million students have chosen Stride K12-powered schools.