By Danielle Frost, reporter from the Camas-Washougal Post Record
A local couple recently combined their love of running and passion for helping others, to raise $10,000 to build a home for a Haitian widow and her children.
Ken and Jen Goheen, 11-year Camas residents, participated on the Hoofin’ It for Haiti team, sponsored by Vancouver non-profit Forward Edge.
The organization partners with different faith-based organizations to help transform the lives of vulnerable children and disaster victims.
In addition to helping build a home, they also donated 100 pairs of new shoes to children.
“We both love to run and already had a trip to Haiti planned, so we thought that would be a great way to raise money for the house,” Jen said.
The couple first got the idea to go to Haiti last year while on a Forward Edge mission trip to Colorado.
“We first got connected with Forward Edge in 2011 and went to Nicaragua, and that was an amazing experience,” Jen said. “We actually started volunteering in the office in Vancouver, too.”
Wendell Robinson, a Camas resident, is the senior program officer for the organization. He said families in need of homes are identified by a local pastor, Louighins Jean.
“We try to raise as much money as possible to cover the cost of the home and then have local families work side-by-side with us to build it,” he said. “Our philosophy is sustainable development and to help people carry on after we leave. We look for them to contribute to the cause. This helps foster healthy, cross cultural relationships.
While in Haiti, the group got to know Chantel, the single mom of four who had lost her husband just before the 2010 earthquake that destroyed their house.
“She was working so hard,” Ken said. “Her kids got right in and worked, too. We actually had to stop and take breaks just so that they would play.”
Robinson said Forward Edge is dedicated to giving with dignity, and helping people realize their worth and self value.