By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer
Not all children have toys.
This was a sad lesson to learn for 11-year-old Joshua Stegall of Temple.
He doesn't want that to be the truth, so he's trying to fix it - one ball at a time.
'Every kid needs a ball to play with,' Joshua said. 'It doesn't matter where you are or how rich you are.'
That's the premise behind a mission project he started called 'Children Being Children.'
'It's a way for the children in Haiti to be able to get balls,' Joshua said. 'Soccer balls, basketballs, baseballs, any kind of ball you can make a game with.'
He chose Haiti because of a friend. His family sponsors a young boy in Haiti via Hope for the Hungry, an international ministry devoted to providing food for orphans.
'Because of him, I know what the living conditions are like there,' Joshua said. 'They don't have much of anything.'
So with the aid of First United Methodist Church of Temple, Joshua hopes to get the project underway. He's asking the community to donate new and gently used balls for 'Children Being Children.' Drop-off sites are at FUMC in the youth center and the front-entrance foyer. Cash donations are welcome in person or by mail at 102 N. Second, Temple, Tx 76501.
'We've got some cash donations already,' Joshua said. 'But we haven't gotten any balls yet.'
That's OK though, said his dad, Jeff Stegall - the FUMC youth minister.
'We're just now starting to get the word out,' Stegall said. 'This is Joshua's project, and he's building it as he learns it. He's getting off to a great start.'
FUMC pastor Tom Robbins agrees.
'Children Being Children is a worthwhile effort,' Robbins said. 'And it's all the more heart-warming when you think it was a child who took the initiative to start it.'
The balls FUMC collects will be shipped to Haiti via a partnership with Hope for the Hungry. Stegall said the non-profit organization makes routine shipments of food to the area; the balls can be added to that for a nominal cost that 'Children Being Children' will finance.'
To market his ministry, young Joshua plans to post flyers at area schools and playgrounds and send information sheets to youth organizations.
'And hopefully people will start talking,' Joshua said. 'And maybe they'll want to donate some balls.'
If you're thinking he should start a Web site, don't. The kid's beat you to it. Up for two months, the site is www.childrenbeingchildren.org.
'People can go there to find out how they can help,' Joshua said.
Very proud of the Web site, Joshua said he wrote all the words and chose the pictures that decorate it.
And he paid for it.
'It costs $120 a year to run it,' Joshua said. 'I started saving my allowance last year, and my birthday money, and my Christmas money to collect enough.'
For the technical work in starting his Web site, Joshua needed a little help.
'Eric Stanfield got it working,' Joshua said. 'He's a man who works with computers as his job. I know him from my sister's soccer team.'
Stanfield was happy to help.
'I thought it was pretty cool for a kid to come up with an idea like that,' Stanfield said. 'He told me what he wanted done, and I was glad to have been of service.'
Taken by Stegall on a recent mission trip, the photos on the Web site are of Haiti orphans - the kids Joshua wants to help.