International Youth Day: Miami Beach Teens Inspire and Lend a Helping Hand to Haiti
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (August 12, 2022) Twins David and Jonathan Tamen soon will begin their first year of college, but the brothers already are making a difference, both in Haiti and here at home in South Florida.
On International Youth Day, observed each year on August 12, Food For The Poor recognizes the generosity and achievements of the Tamen brothers in serving others in need. The United Nations created the special awareness day for youth to draw global attention to the positive contributions that young people make to their communities.
Earlier this year, David and Jonathan delivered eight 3D-printed prosthetic hands and forearms they created to help children in Haiti who suffered the loss of their hands due to an illness or injury.
The teens founded the nonprofit Helping Hands MB and the 3D Printing Club at Miami Beach Senior High School, where they graduated last spring. The club also collected various toys, including a Barbie doll with prosthetic limbs, for children living in orphanages in Haiti.
In a few weeks, David will begin attending Boston University to study Mechanical Engineering. Jonathan will be 47 miles away at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., where he will study Community Planning.
Although they will be in different colleges, they have no intention of abandoning the nonprofit they started. In fact, they are laying the groundwork for it to grow nationwide.
“We’re moving to a different state, but we want to continue working with Food For The Poor and our fellow high schoolers,” Jonathan said. “We’re trying to establish connections with different upcoming leaders and students to continue our work in South Florida so the two of us can expand our project in Boston.”
FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said David and Jonathan Tamen are inspiring young men who are devoted to making the world a better place.
“We have been so blessed to be supported by the community to help us provide relief to the families that we serve in many ways. But when it comes from young people, it’s especially meaningful,” Raine said. “Seeing compassion in our youth encourages all of us to do what we can.”
Recently, David fitted a 7-year-old boy from Puerto Rico with a prosthetic hand. The boy’s relatives in South Florida reached out to the Tamens after seeing a story about their work on a local newscast.
The boy, Alexier, took to his new prosthetic hand immediately and began playing catch.
“I was really nervous at first,” David said. “But when I saw the smile on his face when he was able to pick up something for the first time in his life, it was very heartwarming to see that. I’m glad we were able to help him out and as he grows older, we hope we can help him get a bigger prosthetic hand.”
In addition to the prosthetic arms, the Tamens have helped FFTP in other meaningful ways.
When the brothers heard on the news that medical personnel in Haiti had no personal equipment for caring for COVID patients, they made 42 plastic face shields on their personal 3D printer and laminator to send to first responders at Bernard Mevs Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The brothers hand-delivered them to the charity’s office in Coconut Creek.
And after the Aug. 14, 2021, earthquake in Haiti, the brothers talked to the Rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom about holding a food drive and they made the trip to FFTP to deliver about 100 pounds of food and supplies.
The brothers have some advice to encourage others to dream big.
“Everyone has something they can do with their own skill set,” David said. “They can bring something new to the table that is valuable.”
Added Jonathan: “Speak up and speak to others. Share what you want to do. There are a lot of people that want to support you and help. Second, understand the value of working on a team. That has really guided us.”
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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