KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sept. 20 is a special day for a Blue Springs teen and the animal rescue he founded.
Bentley Siems, who turned 18 on Wednesday, founded Pawportunities Animal Rescue five years ago.
To mark the occasion, Bentley and his mom, Carrie, brought cupcakes and a few animals from their nonprofit to a visit with students in the Applied Innovation Middle School program in the Blue Springs School District.
“They’re going to feel that unconditional love of a pet," Carrie Siems said. "They’re not judging them. It doesn’t matter what they’re wearing. It doesn’t matter what your background is."
In addition to meeting the animals, students also heard about the benefits the animals bring to people.
“They’ve definitely helped me out with lots of things like anxiety and depression and helping me work with other people and do things like this," Bentley Siems said. "A few years ago, I would’ve been super anxious, I probably couldn’t do a good interview, but here I am."
Siems founded Pawportunities when he was 13.
He hopes his work inspires other people.
"Anyone, no matter how old they are, what background they come from, they can create a positive change in their community," said Siems. "If you see something you want changed, you can do it.”
Pawportunities is a nonprofit that depends on donations.
People who want to donate can do so on the group's website.
As part of Bentley's birthday, the teen is raising money for food at the animal rescue.