An 11-year-old's vision 'Fore Change'
Taylor Pratte knew she wanted to make the world a better place, so she decided to launch her own nonprofit.
That was way back in 2012 ... when she was 11.
Originally, the Springettsbury Township girl and her friends just wanted to collect money to feed the hungry in Haiti, but there was a lot of red tape for independent fundraisers, and some people didn't take the youngsters seriously.
Apparently, pleas for helping the less fortunate carry a bit more weight coming from the founder of a nonprofit, even if she still needs permission to watch a PG-13 movie.
Taylor, now 15, started Fore Change after her church, LCBC Church in Manheim Township, asked children in the congregation what they were going to do to make the world better.
She had heard a statistic that stated every 5 seconds a child dies from hunger around the world, and she knew that was where she wanted to start.
Taylor's mother, BethAnn Pratte, eventually helped her and her friends form the nonprofit so they could make a bigger difference.
"It's really kept the world in perspective," Taylor said. "Having the organization keeps it in my mind, 'Wow, we really have a lot here.'"
The mission of the nonprofit? To "eliminate world hunger by providing food, seeds for planting and the knowledge of farming; thus, creating sustainable change," according to the organization's website.
Local and worldwide: Taylor is a student with Commonwealth Charter Academy, Pennsylvania's online charter school. With the help of her friends in the nonprofit, Fore Change has raised more than $35,000, which has either gone to help people in Haiti learn to farm their own food or to Haven Home for Girls.
Haven Home for Girls is a maternity group home for pregnant young girls. According to its website, the organization provides a number of services, including prenatal care, a young mothers program, a program for mothers who have been separated from their children and an after care program to transition girls from Haven Home for Girls to a post-discharge home.
Fore Change holds and participates in different fundraising events throughout the year to purchase garden boxes for the Haven Home for Girls. The garden boxes are assembled by Cedar Ridge Landscapes for free; the nonprofit simply pays for the supplies.
"Being young moms, they need to be able to provide food for their little ones," Taylor said. "If they don't have money for food, it can be stressful, but if they have seeds and can grow their own food, it takes one thing off their plate."
As for Haiti, Fore Change donates the funds it raises to Food for the Hungry, a worldwide organization that teaches people in poverty-stricken areas throughout the world to farm, using garden boxes similar to those used for the Haven Home for Girls.
Taylor hopes to begin donating to another area of the world, but after Hurricane Matthew destroyed the last few years of work Fore Change and Food for the Hungry have done in Haiti, she and her fellow volunteers are going to continue focusing their efforts there.
In addition to raising money for those two organizations, Taylor and others who are a part of Fore Change try to donate their time to another local charity each month. BethAnn Pratte explained that while they may donate their time or other supplies, all money raised for Fore Change either goes to Haiti or Haven Home for Girls.
Support: Taylor said a huge reason she's able to work with her own nonprofit at such a young age is because of the support of her family and the flexibility in her schedule due to her online schooling.
BethAnn Pratte said she's proud of her daughter.
"To me as a parent, you need to give them the tools to change the world, because kids can change the world," she said. "Anyone can."
Taylor's grandmother, Ruth Johnson, echoed BethAnn's pride, saying Taylor has a positive attitude and tackles any challenge thrown her way.
"There seems to be nothing too difficult for her to tackle," Johnson said while proudly looking at her granddaughter.
When she's not working on school work, volunteering or running Fore change, Taylor said she loves to travel, cook and play golf. That's where Fore Change gets its name: "Fore" is a term to let other golf players know if there's an incoming ball. Taylor is letting the world know there's change coming when it comes to hunger.
"I hope to see more kids being generous with their time in the future," Taylor said. "That would be cool."
To help Fore Change, Taylor suggested coming to the events it holds throughout the year, which can be found by liking the Fore Change Facebook page. Interested students can become a part of Fore Change by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.