When the George Mason University senior Dacheka Kolcum heard about the August 2021 earthquake that devastated Haiti, she immediately jumped into action to help by creating a GoFundMe page that raised $5,000 to help provide basic necessities for those most adversely impacted by quake.
The women’s soccer standout from Leesburg, Virginia, was born and raised in Haiti until being adopted by an American family at age 6. She’s since reconnected with her biological family and wasted no time in lending a helping hand after the earthquake.
“It was really hard [hearing the news],” said Kolcum, who is a sport management major. “The first thing I wanted to do was call my family. When I knew they were OK, then I knew how to do something. I knew this was a calling for me to step forward and take some action.”
The earthquake killed more than 2,000 people and injured more than 12,000 others. More than 136,000 of the nation’s buildings were either damaged or destroyed. Working through the nonprofit organization An'n Met Me (Let's Join Hands), Kolcum raised money for necessities, including clean water, clothes, food, and toiletries, for those directly impacted.
Kolcum said she was struck by the overwhelming generosity of the Mason community and others. Patriots coach Manya Puppione said she was happy to help when Kolcum first approached her about contributing to people in need.
“I am just in awe of Dacheka's leadership, empathy, and her willingness to take action,” Puppione said. “I know that she wants to be there to help out with her feet on the Haitian ground, and I know she will get there when she can.”
In November, Kolcum was recognized with Mason OrthoVirginia Student Achiever Award, which honors outstanding student-athletes for their efforts in the classroom and out in the community, for her Haiti work.
“Haiti is my roots, Haiti is my family, Haiti is what I wake up every day to work toward,” Kolcum said. “I think I’ve been put on this Earth to give back to my home country. Haiti is my motivator.”