Rafe Cochran, a 17-year-old Florida resident and golf prodigy, is preparing to host the sixth annual Rafe Cochran Golf Classic on May 6, this year at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.
Proceeds will provide classrooms for a school in Jamaica through international relief and development organisation Food For The Poor (FFTP) Inc.
This year, Rafe is supporting McGrath High School in Treadways, St Catherine. Originally built to accommodate 600 students ages 12 to 15, the school presently has a population of 1,200 students, ages 12 to 18, with many from low-income families. Many students attend classes outdoors beneath gazebos or trees and in open areas under staircases and in corridors. The golf classic will fund the construction of two buildings with six classrooms to accommodate 140 children and six staff members.
Speaking of his rationale for organising the charity tournament, Rafe said, “Education is something that will last forever, and a lot of the people in developing countries lack the education that they deserve. I believe that having a good school helps the community as well as the kids because the kids are going to help the community when they get older.”
Ed Raine, president/CEO of FFTP, said of the project, “It is going to create a setting where students will be able to better apply themselves and focus on their studies, ultimately building a brighter future for themselves and their community, and we have Rafe to thank for that,” adding, “All of us at Food For The Poor hold him in high regard, not just for the level of his generosity but also because of his vision and commitment. “
Rafe’s love for golf started when he was six. Three years later, he became one of FFTP’s youngest donors, raising money to build ten homes in Haiti and later building or expanding three schools in Jamaica by the age of 14.
Since creating and hosting his first classic in 2016, at age 11, the event has been an annual one, pausing only in 2020 due to coronavirus restrictions. Each year, the classic has made a difference in the lives of persons living in poverty with little hope of having a better life.
Rafe’s efforts gained him recognition by the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), which recently honoured him with the Jerry Ole Sportsmanship Award, presented to junior golfers who best display exemplary sportsmanship and integrity. The AJGA is dedicated to the growth and development of young men and women who hope to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf.
This year, the tournament will include a variety of special raffle items, including sport outings and local attractions, with proceeds going toward the project.