By John Burton
FAIR HAVEN – We can all make a difference, at any age.
We hear that time and again, but if you have any doubt just ask Daniel Raphael.
Daniel, a sixth-grade student at Knollwood School, told his parents he wanted to help organize something to raise money to help Sea Bright recover from the awful effects of Super Storm Sandy.
“Of course we said, ‘ah ha, ah ha,’” dismissing it as the fleeting notion of an 11-year-old, said Pat Raphael, Daniel’s mom.
But Daniel persisted and worked with his dad, Richard, to organize a soccer game with other members of his league, the Peninsula Soccer Club, as a benefit to help Sea Bright Rising, a not-for-profit organization working to rebuild the community.
The two went to school officials who offered their support and even sent an electronic copy of the flyer Daniel had designed and had been distributing to students’ homes. Daniel’s older sister, Stephanie, helped by establishing a Facebook page and sending emails, according to Pat Raphael.
As Daniel explained it Super Storm Sandy caused the cancellation of a couple of scheduled league games for his team, the Storming Eagles. “I saw how bad Sea Bright was hurt,” by the storm, when he went with his dad to pick up his mom, who was volunteering.
“So, I decided to put these two together,” he said matter-of-factly.
The plan was to have members of the Storming Eagles and some members of Daniel’s recreation soccer league ask people to attend the game and contribute money and donate canned goods.
Daniel and his parents weren’t expecting much, given they had worked just a little over a week to organize the event.
The end result, however, was the soccer game raised approximately $1,400 and attendees donated 60 cans of food at the game. Another $300 was donated online.
It was an impressive effort for an 11-year-old, Pat Raphael thought.
The money is going for a good cause, certainly, but Daniel’s mother said her son has learned an important lesson. Helping others who are in need was one part of it. But, Pat Raphael said, “Just the fact he thought about this, wanted to do it and really kind of followed through to make it happen … I thought was really something for a young kid to do that.”
Daniel, too, saw a takeaway from this. “If something isn’t right, do something about it,” he said. “Don’t just leave it in your brain, do something about it.”
Daniel hopes to make the fundraising game an annual event, if not for Sea Bright recovery, then for some other worthy cause in the future.