Last weekend at a writing workshop, I met a vivacious young woman, who is the wife of a Marine and the mother of a ten year old Young Marine. From the beginning Amie Longstaff’s son loved to draw. This supportive mom scanned her son’s work to make digital files as well as hanging pictures all over the house.
One day, this young artist found Amie throwing away a piece of his art work. He was very upset. This wise mom asked her son to come up with a practical way to use his art. Trenton came back to her with an idea. At first he called it “Picture in my Pocket”. He said,”I want to send my pictures to soldiers away at war.” Trenton explained that he wanted all the troops to carry a picture in their pocket to look at whenever they wanted– to be reminded that we care. This was the beginning of his project now called Project ART (Always Remember Troops).
At age 7, he didn’t understand the entire scope of the war. When he heard on a news program just how many Americans were fighting for our country, he cried because he couldn’t draw enough pictures for everyone. Trenton told a couple of his friends about what he wanted to do and they started to draw too. That’s when he decided his entire school could help.
Now Trenton not only has his whole school drawing pictures for soldiers, but the entire school district as well. 2009 was the official kick off for Project ART with 1000 pictures sent overseas to two battalions.
Amie interjects, “We check each picture to make sure it’s appropriate and then ship them to a representative for the battalion.” The troops wallpapered their mess halls with the art.
Trenton has big plans to make Project ART a nationwide program. When he was little, he lived with his family on military bases and went to the Child Development Centers (like daycare). Trenton worries that these little kids are missing their moms or dads and he would like to send them boxes of art too.
This Young Marine is showing us already that he is on his way to becoming one of the best of the best. Thanks to you Amie and to your husband, Christopher for raising such a compassionate young man. Thank you Trenton for all your good work. Keep on drawing. Semper Fi