Amazing Kids! Magazine

Amazing Kid! of the Month – Caleb Smith – February 2016

Written by Catherine Cheng, AKOM Writer
Caleb Smith, 11-year-old Founder of STEM Bunnies

 

Quote of the Month

“It makes my heart warm when someone who is going through a really rough time just sits and holds one of our bunnies and something heals on the inside.”
– Caleb Smith, 11-year-old Founder of STEM Bunnies

February Amazing Kid! of the Month

February celebrates our purest emotion. Whether it be the love between couples, parents and their children, siblings, or friends, February commends our genuine care and acceptance for one another. Love has been herald as the most powerful substance on Earth as far back as we can remember and it remains potent today. There’s no telling where we could go if we all just loved one another and the world around us a tiny bit more. Amazing Kids! encourages you to take up the reins of February and spread love and joy wherever your journey may take you.

Caleb Smith started STEM Bunnies out of love. After his very special bunny Snickers died, he tracked Minnesota rabbits for months, eventually discovering the very real problem of bunny abandonment in the States. This made his heart break and propelled the beginning of something amazing. His story is one that shows one boy’s love creating something immensely beautiful.

Keeping reading to find out more about Caleb and his bunnies!

Caleb Smith cuddles with three white rabbits and smiles for the camera.

Caleb Smith cuddles with three white rabbits and smiles for the camera.

Nature’s Fluffiness

Caleb has loved bunnies his entire life, so when he saw that there were over 350 rabbits available in Minnesota, his heart shattered. He asked himself why people weren’t keeping their rabbits and whether or not he could do something to save at least some of the abandoned animals.

The answer was yes.

As he continued to track trends, he realized that the reason people abandoned the creatures was because most buyers bought rabbits on impulse without knowing much about them. He gets it – rabbits are super cute – but buying a rabbit isn’t like buying a toy, it’s a commitment to take care of something living. Knowing this, Caleb decided to start STEM Bunnies.

STEM Bunnies does a lot of cool things, but when it first started out, its goal was simple. Caleb simply wanted to help people make more informed decisions about getting a bunny. To achieve this goal, the program offers Bunny Boot Camp and a foster program. In Bunny Boot Camp, people can learn about how to take care of rabbits and what to expect after getting one. In the foster program, people can “check out” a rabbit, cage, food, and supplies for two months. If they fall in love with the rabbit and are willing to commit to 10 years of ownership, Caleb then sells them a rabbit or helps them connect with breeders.

Bunnies are sweet creatures and from the way Caleb describes them, you can really sense his love for the species. In his words – “I like how they bond with me and come to me when they see me coming or hear me talking.” As a result, it’s important for us to understand rabbits better and curb impulse buys.

A picture of Wachamacallit, one of Caleb’s angora rabbits that always captures the crowd’s heart.

A picture of Wachamacallit, one of Caleb’s angora rabbits that always captures the crowd’s heart.

Caleb’s program has already seen incredible success. Last Easter, several hundred people went to his bunny events. He was super excited about getting emails from families thanking him for helping them realize that maybe a rabbit wasn’t for them.

However, we haven’t even gotten to the most amazing parts of STEM Bunnies. Keep reading to find out what else Caleb’s program does!

The Connections Between Everything

It’s hard not to be impressed with STEM Bunnies original goal and function, but it’s even harder to keep calm when learning about the rest of its programs. In the end, STEM Bunnies is about so much more than just saving bunnies, it’s about STEM education, healthy habits, and finding the connections between humans and nature.

From the very beginning, Caleb wanted his non-profit to be more than a petting zoo. It started when he wrote down all the things he thought were cool about bunnies and realized that these cool things were all science and math related. For example, did you know that all mammals with eyes on the side of their heads are herbivores? When he made this connection, he knew that he could potentially use bunnies to help kids become interested in science.

While some kids aren’t necessarily interested in STEM topics, a lot of kids are interested in bunnies and their fluffy tails and large eyes. As a result, STEM Bunnies lends out bunnies to schools and camps along with an eight week curriculum to help kids enjoy learning new concepts. It is tailored to both grade level and state requirements. Kids calculate how much food to buy, design cages, and explore bunny biology. Learning is everywhere and fun.

Caleb’s vision only grew from there. He decided that bunnies could be applied to so many human situations. For example, he realized that taking care of bunnies made him increasingly aware of how important it was to monitor what he put in his own body. This fact combined with the knowledge that one in three kids born after 2000 will develop Type 2 Diabetes made him determined to use bunnies to encourage kids to eat healthier.

Caleb poses with a carrot and a bunny, reminding us that the vegetable is good for both us and bunnies.

Caleb poses with a carrot and a bunny, reminding us that the vegetable is good for both us and bunnies.

Nowadays, he invites kids to bunny camp where STEM Bunnies includes topics about making good food choices, portion control, and limiting snacks all of which help not only bunnies live longer and become healthier but also improve our own lives.

Of course, accomplishing all this isn’t easy and Caleb has to make difficult choices about time management. He can’t go to every event and can’t take in every rabbit, but in the end he does what he can even if it means skipping out on a few Boy Scout camps. His energy is inspiring.

The Sweetest Moments

STEM Bunnies started out of Caleb’s love for bunnies. It began because he discovered a problem in his community that broke his heart. It prospered because he was willing to work hard to reach his goal. The rewards he has reaped are well worth the sacrifices he made.

In his own words:

“Everywhere I go, I bring joy and somehow the bunnies bring out the best in me and in the people they meet. Wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

Amazing Kids! wouldn’t either and we wish him the best of luck in his journey and hope that our readers will be able to find something to love and feel passionate about as well. Love colors our days and inspires our actions. Each day we love is a sunny day without the harshness of storms. Let love encourage you this February and inspire.

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