Born in Haiti, Elizabeth was joined with her adoptive parents in the United States after her mother died. When an earthquake struck Haiti, Elizabeth wanted to help her birth country.
Talking with her parents, she came up with a plan for a coin drive in the parking lot of a nearby marina. She told her story on the radio and in the newspaper and made posters seeking help for the devastated country. “Make a change with change for Haiti” was her slogan. She got up early in the morning, and with bucket in hand, took in only a few donations in the first couple hours. But the momentum built and soon the money came in a deluge. Radio listeners came by – children emptied their piggy banks of pennies and adults gave up vacation savings. Eventually, Elizabeth took in $15,000 in cash and checks, more than $6,000 of it in coins alone.
The money helped build a house for orphans in Haiti. Since the coin drive, Elizabeth has been to Haiti to visit family and see the house.
Closer to home, Elizabeth worked to help people in Indiana following floods in 2008. She cleaned out waterlogged homes and tended to babies and toddlers while parents sought relief aid.
For her efforts, she was honored as a Hoosier Rising Star by Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman. Elizabeth, who likes to cook and bake and one day hopes to open a bakery and restaurant in Los Angeles, is now working on a fundraising dinner featuring Haitian food. For fun, Elizabeth likes to ice-skate (she’s been skating for 8 years), swim and hang out with friends.
“No matter what your age is,” says Elizabeth, “you can make a difference, a little thing can make a difference to other people.”
It's amazing what a girl can do.