Four years ago, 10-year-old Owen Schneider asked his parents if they would throw him a birthday party in lieu of getting a giant toy train from them. Baffled, and assuming Owen wanted to hold the party simply to receive more presents (quantity over quality), they turned down his request.
Owen insisted, asking his parents whether it was more important to get a toy or spend time with his friends.
"You can give all my presents away," Owen said.
He wanted quality time with his friends instead.
That story inspired a long track-record of giving for Owen, who began giving his presents away to charity every birthday and Christmas. It also earned Owen a 9Kids Who Care award for 2011.
Over the past eight years, Owen has logged more than 1,300 hours of service and given away literally hundreds of toys. In some cases, those toys were donated to Owen thanks to his volunteering efforts.
Owen, an aspiring Boy Scout, has taken charge in the service side of his Cub Scout pack. During a recent service project, Owen led five other Cub Scouts through an effort to provide Valentine's Day presents for kids spending the holiday in the hospital away from friends at school.
"[We do this] so we can be generous and nice to other kids, because we know we're going to get valentines from other people," Owen said. "Why can't they get valentines, and we still get valentines?"
Owen says volunteering has made him a better person, giving him a new perspective about what's important in life.
"It kind of [turns into something where] you and your friends participate in the same thing. You and your friends are in that world where it's actually fun to [do service] with each other," Owen said.
Please help us congratulate Owen Schneider, one of our 2011 9Kids Who Care.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)