An 11 year old Arnprior student has amassed thousands of pennies to help children in Afghanistan.
Devon Dean, who lives on a farm near Highway 17 on the Galetta Side Road and goes to school at Walter Zadow, has been collecting the pennies for three years.
A class project called Who Is NOBODY? run in his Grade 6 class taught by Angie Miller provided the impetus for Devon to cash in his pennies and donate them to the Pennies for Peace Foundation which is building schools in war torn Afghanistan.
This helps kids in Afghanistan mostly in mountainous areas get schools so that they can have jobs in the future— Devon Dean, grade 6 student
After Devon’s family helped him wrap 53 rolls of pennies from his many jars they decided there must be a better way. Devon took the initiative to write Arnprior Metro manager Don Erskine to ask if he would consider paying the eight cent per dollar fee it would cost to use the Coinstar coin sorting machine in the grocery store.
He explained to Erskine that the Pennies for Peace program ‘helps kids in Afghanistan mostly in mountainous areas get schools so that they can have jobs in the future.”
Erskine said he was delighted to look after the machine’s fee to assist the youngster in such a generous undertaking.
Devon built up such a huge collection of coins through determination, hard work and by leaving jars at friends and family members. Several classmates also helped him by contributing their pennies the last few weeks.
As he was processing some of this collection in the Coinstar machine Monday, it became obvious just how many coins he has. The machine flashed the message “you have a lot of coins, please let the machine catch up.”
The Monday total was $101.25 which is 10, 125 pennies, and that’s just a fraction of his collection. His mother estimates the total will be close to $350 by the time he’s finished processing them.
Devon says he will continue to collect coins for worthy causes.
The Pennies for Peace program helps children learn to share and work together to promote global awareness and understanding.
The program’s goal is to encourage children, who are the word’s future leaders, to share one penny out of every dollar to go toward global peace.
It notes that while a penny may be almost worthless in Canada, in countries such as Afghanistan it can buy a pencil and empower a child to read and write.
For more on Pennies for Peace which was founded by Greg Mortenson, see the website www.penniesforpeace.org.
Miller’s Grade 6 class has embarked on a different but related project to promote awareness of the plight of Third World children. Students discuss ways to help turn a “nobody bear” into a ‘somebody bear’ by supporting global assistance programs.
This article was published in the Arnprior Chronicle-Guide on January 28th 2010