Teen believes in giving; Owens recognized for his generosity

December 28, 2017 Times and Democrat  article (reprinted with permission)

Article by DIONNE GLEATON T&D Staff Writer

citizen of the month - december 2017 - generosity

christian Darby owens

Christian Darby Owens is focused and driven in his efforts to make his community a better place, including donating warm socks to the elderly in area nursing homes.

Going above and beyond what is expected of him is something the 17-year-old doesn't mind doing because of the unwavering support and encouragement he receives from his loving family and high school principal.

A collector of vibrant socks in an array of colors and patterns, Owens thought it would be good to gather them not just for himself, but for seniors who may need the warmth and comfort of a new pair of socks in any hue.

He launched his own service project called "Comforts of Caring" to demonstrate the importance of giving back to his community.

His collection has grown to over 100 socks, which he distributed to area nursing homes before Christmas.

Owens' willingness to give his time and talents beyond what is necessary or expected led to his designation as the exemplification of generosity as part of the Orangeburg County Community of Character initiative.

It is an honor which took the teen by surprise.

"I was very surprised and honored," Owens said. He learned of the designation on his mother's birthday, which he said made it "feel very special."

Owens said anybody can be generous, any time of the day.

“Just opening the door for someone or getting someone something means a lot," he said.

Being generous to others is important him.

Owens said, “I watched how my family was always generous to other people. The trait was kind of brought down to me. My uncle is a pharmacist and I saw the feedback he got back just from being generous to all types of people.

“I saw that from my great-grandmother’s experience working in the hospital, telling us stories about being generous. And then there’s my mom. I think it’s just a family trait and something they taught me. Kindness matters. You never know what someone’s going through.”

His service project began early in the school year.

He said, "My mom challenged me to become better than my circumstances. She emphasized that giving back is what service is all about. I like to collect a lot of crazy socks with all different kinds of patterns and colors.

"I thought, 'Wouldn't it be cool and different to have some cozy comfort socks for the elderly to keep warm?' Most people don't think of socks. They usually think of blankets and clothing.”

Owens is the son of Dr. Vickel Miranda Darby and Clarence Owens Jr. He attends the High School of Health Professions in Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5.

Owens said his parents and his principal have all been sources of encouragement and inspiration for him.

He added, "My principal, Mrs. Angel Malone, reminds me daily that I have the potential to be anything. I plan to major in chemistry to become a pharmacist and open my very own pharmacy and a health clinic for the homeless."

Owens is already thinking of other service projects he would like to launch before attending college.

"Right now I'm thinking of different projects for the spring and summer. I'm thinking about targeting at-risk students, like students who have dropped out of school. I'm mainly targeting those students during the summer because that's when you usually get out of focus," he said.

Owens said he appreciates all that the Community of Character initiative does to spread good character within the community.

"I feel like they're doing a great job because Orangeburg really needs character right now. A lot is going on not just in Orangeburg, but in the world. It's a wonderful thing to spread positivity," he said.