Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Anyone can be great, because anyone can serve.” You don’t have to be big to serve. You don’t have to be big to have a loving heart and lots of determination. Greatness comes in all sizes. Little Austin Brown, a ten-year-old boy from Springdale, Arkansas, is an example of this. He worked and raised $21,000 USD to help build a school for kids in Zihuatanejo. Awesome!
Austin Brown is ten years old and is in the fifth grade at Providence Christian Academy in Springdale, Arkansas, USA.
Austin and his parents first visited Zihuatanejo in 2010, when they met members of the Por Los Niños (For the Children) educational charity, who took them to visit some of the poorer schools in the outlying areas. “I have a wonderful school at home,” said Austin. “Some of the schools in Zihuatanejo look like chicken coops. I felt bad for the kids. I thought maybe I could help.”
This is the old school that Austin visited in the Colonia 3 de Diciembre community of Zihuatanejo.
Austin’s parents operate a logo business (Snappylogos.com), where they produce iron-on patches for various organizations like the boy scouts. They have business connections and outlets for their products with various youth groups. So, Austin had the idea to make packages of “fun sand” (like Play-Doh®) and artificial snow and sell them at carnivals and outlets with his parents. He sold packages for $5, $10, and $20 USD.
Austin made “fun sand” (like Play-Doh®) and artificial snow, and sold packages for $5, $10, and $20 USD at carnivals and outlets with his parents.
“He worked hard!” says his father, Greg Brown. “We attended shows in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. We’d leave home after school and travel for hours. Austin would help set-up his sales booth and work all weekend.”
In addition to making and selling his products, Austin had saved about $3,500 USD that he acquired from birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, and other presents. He asked his dad, “How much of my money can I give to help the kids of Zihuatanejo?”
“I was struck by this,” said his dad. “He didn’t ask me how much he had to give; he asked how much could he give. He was willing to give everything he had to help some kids that he doesn’t even know. His mother and I are so proud of him!”
Austin’s dad told him he needed to leave $100 USD in his savings account to keep it open, but the decision on how much to donate was his. So, Austin gave $3,400 USD of the $3,500 in his savings account, ninety percent of his net worth, to the children of Zihuatanejo. Combined with his product sales, he donated a total of $21,000 USD!
This child, a ten-year-old boy, saw that other children in the world were in need—and he did something about it! He gave his money, talent, and time to make a change.
Austin’s donation, combined with contributions from Por Los Niños charity; Rotary clubs in Springdale, Arkansas and Zihuatanejo; the municipality of Zihuatanejo; local businesses; and a variety of other organizations and entities, was used to build a new kindergarten and elementary school at Colonia 3 de Diciembre in the Barrio Nuevo community of Zihuatanejo.
Austin Brown joins representatives of Por Los Niños charity and other local officials at the opening of the new kindergarten and elementary school at Colonia 3 de Diciembre in the Barrio Nuevo community of Zihuatanejo on September 10, 2014.
Austin has received many awards and recognitions for his charity work. He is an example for adults and children to follow.
Austin receives a special recognition from Mayor Eric Fernández Ballesteros of Zihuatanejo. He is shown (left) with his parents, Sharon and Greg Brown, from Springdale, Arkansas. Austin was also the guest of honor at Club Rotario (Rotary) de Zihuatanejo (right).
But no one can express the sentiments better than the children of Zihuatanejo who received the benefit of a new school!
For more information about Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and the surrounding areas, see: