Eight-year-old Julia Goldstein has spent many Sunday afternoons selling mangoes at the corner of Paddock Drive and Big Blue Trace to raise money for an orphanage in Pourrier, Haiti.
It started as an entrepreneurial project, explained Julia’s father, Gabriel.
“After I spent a couple of days in Haiti,” he said, “we decided that the next year we had a crop, we could turn this into a learning, entrepreneurial and nonprofit venture.”
Picking the mangoes from the family’s large, and extremely fruitful, mango tree is quite the adventure. Julia and 3-year-old Luca pick what they can reach, and then their mother Barbra and father Gabriel help out with an extendable picker.
The mangoes then go on sale, three for $5 or $2 each. Last year, Julia was able to raise $110 for the orphanage, full of children she had never met.
“We want to get more people to be healthy and not sick,” she said, by helping the kids with their medical needs.
As Julia gets ready to enter the third grade at Binks Forest Elementary School, her project helps her develop valuable life skills, such as leadership, compassion, curiosity and ingenuity.
Her little helper, Luca, often checks to see if the mangoes are ripe, and helps sell them by holding a sign.
This year, her goal is to raise $200, and she’s well on her way toward reaching that goal, which makes her parents extremely proud.
“It’s important to give money to Haiti,” Gabriel said, reminiscing about his experience in the poverty-stricken Caribbean nation. “There are causes outside of our little world that we’re used to.”
As Julia and Luca gathered mangoes, Barbra explained that the learning goes beyond helping children they don’t know.
“I think it’s a great thing to teach them about other people,” she said. “There are kids who are not as privileged as they are.”
By helping the children in Haiti, Julia and Luca are able to learn about a different culture and way of life.
“It’s still our responsibility to help take care of the world and not just focus on ourselves all of the time,” Barbra said.
This isn’t Julia’s first fundraising effort for the children of Haiti, and it probably won’t be her last.
“Every year, it’s something nice for us to do together, and it helps spend some focus on the rest of the world,” Gabriel said.
To contact Gabriel Goldstein for mangoes, or to coordinate a donation, send a Facebook message to www.facebook.com/carguy944. Posts about selling mangoes are made public.
To learn more about the orphanage in Haiti, visit www.tfchaiti.com.
ABOVE: Julia Goldstein with one of the mangoes from her family’s tree.