Devon Miner holds a donation for the Raptor Education Group Inc. as he stands next to the goal chart he made. The chart is posted in his fourth-grade classroom at Almond-Bancroft Elementary School.
Start Your Week with Kindness is a Daily Tribune feature that highlights the kind deeds of people in the community.
Devon Miner doesn't expect to get any presents for his 10th birthday on Tuesday.
And that's just fine with the Almond-Bancroft fourth-grade student.
"He wants people to donate items for the Raptor Education Group in Antigo," said Patricia Voss, 47, Almond, a neighbor of the Miner family.
The nonprofit group nurtures injured or orphaned native birds. It also works to educate the public on wildlife issues, according to the group's website.
Devon wanted to help others ever since he saw a television segment about a young girl just before Christmas.
"For her birthday, she asked for old shoes for people who don't have shoes," Devon said. "She donated them to an orphanage."
He told his mother, Kathy, he wanted to do something like that, so she and Devon started searching online for ideas. Then something happened that introduced Devon to the raptor group.
Devon found out about the organization after following the progress of a great-horned owl that had been struck and injured by a vehicle. The woman who accidentally hit the owl got it to the bird rehabilitation center. When the owl was ready to be released in the neighborhood, she called her friends and neighbors.
"She asked us if we wanted to go and release it with them," said Devon's sister, Dominique, 18.
The experience affected the young boy, the second youngest in the family of four.
"When the owl was released, it just inspired him," Kathy Miner said. "He said, 'Mom, that's it.'"
The family looked up the organization's website and found many of its needs could be met by students in Devon's class.
A few days later, Devon's family asked him what he wanted for his upcoming birthday. He wanted people to donate items for the raptor group.
Kathy Miner was a bit concerned - would the 9-year-old understand when he didn't get any presents on Tuesday? And would people actually donate?
"I didn't want him to be disappointed; that was a big concern," Kathy Miner said.
Devon and his mom made a chart, setting the goal at 30 items. Already, donations are coming in - from friends, neighbors, community members and classmates.
"On my birthday, we're going to put them all in the truck and get them to (the raptor group)," Devon said, adding he hopes to get a tour while there.
Kathy Miner is quite proud of her young son. Her worries about whether he would be disappointed by not getting gifts were alleviated with Devon's answer:
"'Mom, I have my family. I have a house. I have food and I have clothes,'" he told her. "'What more do I need?'
"And I started to cry," Kathy Miner said.
Carrie Karch, Devon's fourth-grade teacher, isn't surprised by Devon's actions.
"Children really look forward to receiving birthday gifts, so it's a big decision for Devon to choose to not receive anything for himself," Karch said. "Devon is a student who puts a lot of thought into his decisions. He likes to do things the way he thinks is right."
Voss thinks Devon's actions are inspiring.
"What I think is just really great is that we have a younger generation appreciating our wildlife, and his actions are going to educate his fellow classmates who are going to be the next generation of people who are going to be taking care of these birds."
Voss referred to a phrase from the Bible: "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible."
"One little mustard seed can do a lot," Voss said.
If you have been the recipient of a kind deed, please send your name and contact information with a description of how you were helped to email@example.com or call 715-423-7200, ext. 6730.