Palm Beach Sixth-Grader Uses Golfing Skills to Build School in Jamaica

Rafe Cochran,12, has been making a name for himself in the golfing world for more than half of his life, competing in local, regional and international tournaments, and even hosting his own golf classic to help build homes in Haiti through Food For The Poor.

Now he’s turning his talents to Jamaica so that other children can have a better life. On April 22, the Palm Beach Day Academy sixth-grader will host the Second Annual Rafe Cochran Golf Classic, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Proceeds will build a school in Chester District, St. Ann, Jamaica.

“I am just truly honored that I had the chance to come here. I am excited to be able to help the young ones to build a pre-primary school,” said Rafe, who visited the school last week. “It was really fun just being with the kids, hearing what they have to say and just having fun with them.”

Rafe and his parents, Jay and Diahann, visited Chester Primary and Infant School with Food For The Poor. The school needs repairs and is severely overcrowded because the 3-to-5 year-old students are sharing the school with elementary and middle school students. The Cochran family met with the teachers and spent time with the students. Rafe bonded with the boys his age, playing a game of soccer.

Rafe’s project will build a separate school building for the younger children. This will give the teachers separate and spacious classrooms with fewer distractions. The new infant department also will help improve the readiness levels of students entering primary school.

“I am hoping to come back and help with every block being built,” said Rafe. “Seeing the school for myself, I really realized just how needy they were.”

“They have come here to see how they can help develop the educational system in Jamaica and we really appreciate this gesture. Rafe has such a dedicated heart to the poor and wants to improve people’s lives. This is really an inspiration to me,” said David Mair, Executive Director of Food For The Poor-Jamaica. “It was a pleasure meeting this young philanthropist who is already making a big difference in the lives of the less fortunate.”

Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma presented Rafe with the One For Change Award at the March 3 The One Event at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, for his past commitments to build homes in Haiti and to help build a school in Jamaica.

“Rafe was very deserving of the One For Change Award, he is a spirited young man who has a genuine desire to make a difference, which is very refreshing,” said Aloma. “Food For The Poor wants to express its sincere gratitude to Rafe and his family for all that they’re doing to help the less fortunate in Haiti and now Jamaica.”

The tournament will start at 1 p.m. at the Mayacoo Lakes Country Club, 9697 Mayacoo Club Dr., West Palm Beach. Registration and a light lunch start at 11:30 a.m. on the day of the event.

For registration information for the Rafe Cochran Golf Classic please contact Kyra Poulos at 954-427-2222 ext. 6634 or at [email protected].

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. Over the last 10 years, fundraising and other administrative costs averaged less than 5 percent of our expenses; more than 95 percent of all donations went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit