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Eight-Year-Old Girl Shows Giving Is Easy

Donations+do+help.+Michael%2C+3%2C+drinks+a+glass+of+milk+from+his+family%27s+cows.+Photo+courtesy+of+Heifer.org
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Eight-Year-Old Girl Shows Giving Is Easy

Donations do help. Michael, 3, drinks a glass of milk from his family's cows. Photo courtesy of Heifer.org

Donations do help. Michael, 3, drinks a glass of milk from his family's cows. Photo courtesy of Heifer.org

Heifer International/Olivier Ass

Donations do help. Michael, 3, drinks a glass of milk from his family's cows. Photo courtesy of Heifer.org

Heifer International/Olivier Ass

Heifer International/Olivier Ass

Donations do help. Michael, 3, drinks a glass of milk from his family's cows. Photo courtesy of Heifer.org

Angela Cooper-McCorkle, Alumni Contributor

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Not many 8-year-olds can say they’ve bought their own cow, but that’s only one of the unusual things Charlotte Tristan has done. Even more impressively, she’s done them for charity.

Charlotte, a student at Cedar View Elementary in Bothell, Washington, aimed high in 2014 when she decided to raise the $500 needed to give a cow to a family in need through Heifer International.

“Five hundred is a good round number,” Charlotte said, “but my mom wasn’t so sure.”

After posting a video on YouTube, the Tristans coasted past their goal, raising $9,030 in just 10 days in December 2014.

This year Charlotte has focused on helping civil war-stricken Syrian refugees. Approximately 10.8 million people have been displaced according to the United Nations, more than half of them children. The refugees are struggling against poverty, homelessness, injury, illness, and a lack of schools and jobs.

So in September, Charlotte took on a one week challenge with Worldbuilders, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit that also supports Heifer International.

Charlotte recruited friends from her Girl Scouts troop to costar in her latest YouTube video, a skit educating and encouraging other kids about how to help Syrian families.

She raised $2,840 directly and helped draw attention to the crisis: Worldbuilders received donations of $202,402 toward food, clothing, clean water, medical care and education for the refugees during the brief campaign.

“She is terrific kid but also a completely normal kid,” said mom Heather Tristan. “She is energetic, generous, empathetic and kind, but most children are. It is just human nature to reach out a hand to help someone else up when they are down, and kids do it even more instinctively.”

Charlotte lives in unincorporated Snohomish County with her mom, dad Carlos, and little sister Maggie, but she’s got thousands of miles to her credit already. The family just moved from San Antonio, Texas, in September after nearly five years living in Korea, and vacationing in Thailand.

Heather said the family’s international ties helped Charlotte empathize with the distant Syrian refugees. The family has friends in Uganda, South Africa, Northern Italy, Spain, Germany Belgium, Japan and many parts of the United States. They include a little girl in Mali that the family sponsored when Charlotte was only 5.

“Their constant contact … helps all of us to have a strong feeling of kinship with each of these locales, as we care about individuals who are living there,” Heather said.

In her free time, Charlotte enjoys all the classic pastimes wherever she is: “I like reading, typing stories. I like drawing, playing tag, climbing trees and making stuff out of boxes,” she said.

Heather is adamant that Charlotte’s caring is kept in perspective and that the real story is that there are people in need. “I don’t want her to get the idea that she is any different from any other kid, or even any of her friends. She fund raises because it is fun and it feels good to know that you are helping people who need help.”

Charlotte’s own message is simple: She wants other kids to “learn that you there are people who need help and you can help them too.”

The suffering millions in Syria and other challenged regions need a lot more Charlottes. Budding— and veteran— social entrepreneurs can assist the Syrian refugees at www.mercycorps.org.

Children, especially, may be delighted to learn that if they raise as little as $20, they can gift a flock of chickens, honeybees, a goat, water buffalo or other animal to a family who needs help at Heifer International’s website, www.heifer.org.

A version of this article was originally published in the Snohomish County Tribune.

http://www.snoho.com/publications/HER%2015/HER-web-2015.pdf
www.snoho.com

Click below to watch Charlotte’s YouTube video

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Angela Cooper-McCorkle, Contributor

Angela Cooper-McCorkle is a freelance journalist and recent alumna of National University where earned her B.A. in digital journalism, summa cum laude.

Her...

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Eight-Year-Old Girl Shows Giving Is Easy