By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Rodrigo Noronha has a strong connection to his faith and has always lived by the mottos: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,” and “Love thy Neighbor.” A life-changing summer mission trip to the Philippines in 2017 was the catalyst for creating his nonprofit organization, Beacon for Children in February 2018.
Noronha was born in the United States to parents who left their native Brazil so that he and his sister could have a better life. He graduated from Marlborough High School in 2010 and has a business management degree from Framingham State University where he graduated in 2016.
“My parents have always worked so hard to make life easier for my sister and me. They instilled in us the drive to persevere and not give up,” said Noronha.
While in high school, he wanted to run soccer camps in Africa and thought he would enjoy teaching children through a sport that he was passionate about. While he did not end up in Africa, he spent 21 days in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines with seven other young adults doing humanitarian work, including speaking in the schools, promoting feeding programs and being a big brother/mentor to some of the younger children.
“The trip was through the Connect Church in Ashland, where my family and I belong,” Noronha explained. “They partnered with Adventures in Mission (AIM). The trip was funded partly by myself, my mom, and a visitor to the church, named Johnny Johnson who gifted me $1,000 to help cover the cost, which was incredibly generous.”
Prior to embarking on this journey, Noronha had only been outside of the United States to visit Brazil.
“After returning from the first mission, I had time to reflect and look at my life. I realized that my problems were minute compared to others around the world. It made me see just how much bigger the world is than myself,” said Noronha.
The mission of Beacon for Children is to give kids a fair opportunity at doing something with their life. Noronha’s initial visit to the Philippines was a starting point for all that he hopes to accomplish, not just in the Philippines, but also in other countries around the world and the United States. Their motto is: “We don’t hope for a better future, we provide it.”
“The impact that I can have on the children’s lives is very powerful,” he said. “Someone came and gave me hope and I have an opportunity to chase my dreams.”
Noronha is getting ready to embark on another mission trip in February and returning over the summer. The goal is to create a child development center with local partners there.
Noronha is passionate about all that he hopes to accomplish and believes that helping others is his calling.
“We’re going to change the world or we’re going to die trying,” he said.