Saniyya Sidney, best known for her roles in films like Hidden Figures and Fences, and TV shows among the likes of The Passage and American Horror Story, is so much more than just a talented actress. She's also a true volunteer.
Sidney had the opportunity to honor wounded warriors and their furry friends for the K9s For Warriors veteran cohort's graduation ceremony, as she revealed to PopCulture.com in an exclusive interview.
"I have a bunch of uncles and great grandparents who have been in World War II and Vietnam," Sidney told PopCulture.com. "So, I have always connected to people who are in the military because I think it's so brave for them to just fight for our country and for our freedom."
The celebration was held at the non-profit's facility in Jacksonville, Florida where she honored families along side the organization's CEO, Rory Diamond.
K9s For Warriors is a non-profit that train rescue service dogs and pair them with military veterans who are living with trauma post-9/11.
"I hope I get to meet people [at the ceremony] that I can be able to sit down and connect with them and if they want they can talk to me about their story and their journey, and how their animal — or whoever — has gotten them through what they've gone through," she explained on what she hopes to gain from this special night. "
Sidney revealed it was "so important" for her to get involved, also because she really loves dogs. The young actress has two puppies herself, a Morkie named Biscuit and a Beagle named Leo.
"They make me happy when I'm sad and they know how to connect to your emotions and I connect with them when I'm upset or need to just get through things," Sidney said of her two fur babies. "They lick away my tears and certain things like that."
As Sidney flourishes from a 12-year-old into a teen, she plans on continuing volunteer work that involves rescuing animals and raising money for heart disease. As someone who is incredibly close to her mom and grandmother, she didn't fail to mention that she wants to be involved with organizations that are close to her family.
In the midst of her dedicating time between volunteering and school, Sidney keeps busier than most kids her age because she maintains a job in Hollywood as an actress.
In her humble words, she acknowledges the work she's accomplished, but states that she's still growing in her craft as an actress.
"I honestly think I'm still growing," the Roots actress explained. "Every role that you do is a learning experience. Even if you work with someone big, like Denzel Washington, you learn off of them because everybody is learning in everything they do."
"I've been learning from so many things, but I can say I've taken confidence from my other peers that I've worked with and to work, and I've gained 100% focus, and trying to stay humble and trying to do the best I can and bring it to the screen."
Sidney made a name for herself when she was only 6 years old when she played the role of Kizzy on the TV mini-series Roots. Since then, she graced the big screen with big named actors and actresses like Denzel Washington, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Kevin Hart.
Sidney's most recent movie Fast Color just released to the public and features a story of a woman who has superhuman powers and is forced run away when people find out about her abilities.