From the early age of four, Devin Glenn had a heart for the children suffering in Afghanistan. After hearing a news broadcast on the car radio, he said, “All I could think about was how scared the children there must be with bombs dropping everywhere.”
So he decided he was going to make a difference by sending them candy and DVDs. He admits, “I guess those were the two things that made me happy when I was four.” And with the help of his dad’s friend who was in the military, Devin was able to send a big package of candy-DVD–hope to some desperate kids.
But Devin didn’t stop there. At age nine Devin continued to hear about the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said, “It just made me so sad.” So he took the initiative and started No More Wars. This foundation provides comfort and friendship for children in war-torn countries by sending stuffed animals and pen-pal letters. By “extending a hand of friendship,” the foundation “hopes to increase understanding and build positive relationships among the children of the world.” Devin says, “That way when we grow up we won’t want to fight each other. That’s my dream . . . No More Wars.”
So where does one start? How can one kid make a difference?
Devin explains, “I started earning money to send stuffed animals to the children in the Middle East by going door-to-door in my neighbourhood selling snow cones. I could soon see that it was going to take me a long time to earn money that way, so I came up with the idea of putting on a benefit concert with my friends (with singing, dancing, gymnastics, etc.) and asking for donations from the people who attended. That worked really well! Our first show was last fall, and we collected enough donations to buy over 100 brand-new stuffed animals. I also collected over 50 pen pal letters from classmates and friends. We sent the animals and letters to the Middle East in November of last year with Chief ‘Wiggles’ Holton of Operation Give.”
Devin didn’t stop there. This is an ongoing project, and he is already planning the next benefit concert. His goal for this year is to triple the number of stuffed toys and letters, and he hopes to quadruple it by 2010. Not only did Devin conceive of the No More Wars Foundation, but through his vision, enthusiasm, and leadership, he’s kept it going and growing. He has had to raise money, recruit performers, organize and direct shows, secure venues, advertise, purchase stuffed animals, collect pen-pal letters, and find a way to get his boxes of stuffed animals and letters sent to the Middle East.
In addition, Devin contributes much of his own money that he’s earned doing yard work directly to the No More Wars coffers (which, by the way, I’m told “he guards with fierce protectiveness and integrity”). His pledge to all his donors is that “every single penny” will go directly to No More Wars. So determined was he to keep that promise that he threw the 13 pennies that were left over from the purchase of stuffed toys right into the boxes to be shipped to the Middle East. “Maybe some of the children will want an American penny!” he said. What a remarkable young man!
Want to get involved? Devin closes with this advice: “Just do it. Don’t just think about it and dream about it—do it!”
Unfortunately, the No More Wars Foundation doesn’t have a website yet, but if Devin has inspired you to get involved, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will be happy to pass your email on to him.