Two Palm Beach County Students Have One Goal, Helping the Poor in Haiti
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (April 5, 2018) Two Palm Beach Day Academy students recently visited Haiti for the first time with Food For The Poor to meet families they helped through their passion to give back.
Rafe Cochran, 13, began making a name in the golfing world at the age of 6. When he was 9, he became one of Food For The Poor's youngest donors, using his talents on the greens to raise money to build nine homes for families in Haiti, families he finally got to meet recently.
Christopher Evans, 9, also has a desire to help the poor. His first fundraising project was turning lemons into lemonade at the age of 6, and then he organized a Hope Walk for Homes, when he was 7. Thanks to the support of family, friends and private donations, he raised enough money to build two homes in Haiti and is fundraising for a water well to benefit a Haitian community.
"I've been waiting for this moment for a long time," said Rafe in Gressier, Haiti. "I want to thank you for an amazingly warm welcome and I am happy to meet all of you. Being here has taught me life lessons, and about what I want to do in future campaigning, which is to help all of you."
Rafe's words resulted in thunderous cheers and even moved some of the women in the New Alpha Village in Gressier to tears. Many wanted to see the young philanthropist who helped to transform their lives for the better.
"Hearing about how I am helping families is encouraging, but to come here with my parents and to see it and to meet the families is a feeling I can't really put into words," Rafe said.
While visiting the community in Chalette, Rafe met a teen mother and her young child living in extreme destitute conditions. Moved by what he saw, and with his parents' permission, he decided to donate money from his personal savings to build a home for the young family.
"Jay and I are very proud of our son, he sincerely has a heart for others and wants to help people," Rafe's mother Diahann said. "When he was 8 and first learned about Food For The Poor, he told us he wanted to help children in Haiti. We supported his idea, but stressed if this was what he wanted, he had to fundraise for it on his own. Now here we are, five years later in Haiti. Rafe is the one who's taking us on his journey and we're learning a lot from him."
Rafe's journey has resulted in a successful golf tournament that he started at age 11, now the Rafe Cochran Golf Classic is on the path to becoming a South Florida tradition. Dozens of local golfers will tee up for charity for the third time on Saturday, April 28, at the Mayacoo Lakes Country Club, 9697 Mayacoo Club Drive, West Palm Beach.
On Christopher's first day in Haiti, the soft-spoken third-grader visited the Ti Haiti School in Cite Soleil where he received a vibrant welcome from the students.
While there, he helped to construct a heart-shaped garden bed, which was designed by the third-grade students of Palm Beach Day Academy. Three of the school's teachers, Vasantha Siva, George Yeagar and Sarah Evans, Christopher's mother, also were on the trip.
"It was exciting to see the teachers working on this garden seed project with their students, because it gives us a lot of hope about the future," Sarah said. "It's also our hope that this one heart-shaped garden bed will inspire others. Just like the seeds planted here will continue to grow, so will the hope of creating the ‘ripple effect' to help others."
This ripple effort can be seen in Christopher, who bonded with a group of boys during a visit to a Food For The Poor orphanage in Titiyan, where he played a competitive game of soccer, taking the older boys by surprise.
Christopher also met the families, who live in homes built through his fundraising, which he said was a very special moment for him.
"I am glad my work didn't go to waste," Christopher said. "I'll definitely put more effort into building homes and wells, I feel glad that I can do this. This trip was life-changing for me."
"I've been to Haiti countless times, but there's something very special about traveling with our young donors, for me it's like taking a glimpse into the future," said Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma. "People so often tend to focus on the negative news about young people. Rafe and Christopher are both wonderful examples of the good that we rarely hear about. Their generosity is transforming lives, but the fact that they took the time to meet people they are helping is a priceless gift for everyone involved."
For registration information on the Third Annual Rafe Cochran Golf Classic, please contact, LeToya Boyne at 954-427-2222 ext. 6901 or at letoyab@FoodForThePoor.com.
Registration and a light lunch start at 11:30 a.m. on the day of the event. This year's golf tournament will be for a school in Jamaica.
To learn more about Rafe's Food For The Poor projects visit: www.FoodForThePoor.org/rafe
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
954-427-2222 x 6079