IRVING, Texas – A mirrored map behind her kitchen table is a constant reminder for April Cooper.
"I wish I had more resources to travel more often,” she said.
That’s tough with a full-time job and while raising a teenage daughter. It was one such trip she took in 2012 that forever changed the 37-year-old mother.
"You know traveling for fun is fun, but it's a lot more meaningful to travel and help people, too," Cooper explained.
All alone, she joined a mission trip to take shoes to children in Haiti. It's called voluntourism and isn’t just for college students anymore.
Within a month of returning home to Irving, Cooper decided to start her own non-profit called Magic Beans Corp.
"Once you go there and have a connection with the children, you have this burden to support them,” said Cooper.
In the last four years, she and her volunteers have re-roofed a school, built a church and served 100,000 meals to children, among other things.
“For all of our mission trips, we collect children's clothing, all sizes boy girl, all sizes of shoes. We also collect first aid supplies, band-aids, gauze, things like that,” Cooper continued.
Magic Beans Corp. also collects sundresses for the six women who prepare the daily meal for children at Feeding Hope. Her organization also partners to assist New Hope Orphanage, which is located about a half hour away.
April planned to take another group down there this spring but considered calling it off after her mother, at age 52, lost her fight against blood cancer.
"I wasn't really sure if I was ready to give that much of myself after so much has been taken from me. But like I had mentioned on Facebook and to my friends, I didn't feel like the love that had been poured into me there could possibly be a bad thing,” Cooper said wiping away tears.
That what she finds fulfilling. After generously giving countless hours to so many little lives in this Caribbean country it is now Haiti's turn to help her heal.
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