How would you respond to that question? You can just imagine the surprise on Gwendalyn Levine’s face when her 7-year-old asked this question.
Owen is about to celebrate his 8th birthday and like most children he has been planning his birthday party since the day after his last birthday. For the last year he has been trying to figure a way to give his birthday to children in need. He thought it would be a good idea to have everybody bring presents and he would send the presents to children in Africa. Well, he that might be hard to do.
Then the idea came to him while riding in the car listening to Way FM, 88.1.Lake Worth, Fl. The station was promoting “World Malaria Day”, April 25, 2013. Even though malaria mortality rates have reduced by 25% over the last 10 years, malaria kills a child every 45 seconds. Hearing these statistics, Owen was energized. He could ask his friends and family – sometimes as many as 60 people come to his party. Each could bring a can of bug spray. He could send bug spray to children in Africa.
As adults bug spray sounds like such a silly idea but coming from a 7-year-old child who is willing to give up his birthday presents to save children on the other side of the world, it is far from a silly. It is amazing! Owen’s mom, Gwen, did not want to discourage this selfless act so she asked Owen to pray about it. Gwen then went to their church, Common Ground in Lake Worth, Florida, for a suggestion. Kelly Olive, the pastor’s wife had a solution. “Call Debi Frock of Ghanaian Mothers’ Hope. She works in Ghana, West Africa and I am sure she knows a way to encourage Owen.”
This is where I come in. After Gwen told me the story, I had to meet Owen. He is everything you expect in a 7-year-old; full of energy and ideas. He loves Lego’s and reading about things. He had already gone to our website and then began to research malaria. I brought him a malaria net from Ghana and some coloring books. His parents will hang the net at the party. I told Owen about the problems children have with malaria and worms. He had seen the video “The Secret to Being Strong” on our YouTube channel and wanted to provide shoes for children. His friends will learn about germs and worms through our Coloring Book Project. His party invitation will ask people to donate malaria nets and coloring books through our website. I will personally deliver malaria nets and coloring books to one of our new villages then share photos with Owen and his friends. I also hope to set up Skype while at reading camp so Owen and some of his friends can talk with children in Ghana.
You know that I love touching the hearts of the children in Ghana and now my heart has been touched and inspired by Owen, a little boy who knows the value of giving back at such a young age. Time to grab a few tissues.
Many blessings, Debi
Owen’s enthusiasm is so infectious that his little brother Caleb had to get in on the fun.