Parachute from trauma

February 12, 2020 by Elana Bowman
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Alex and Charley Cowen are 15-year-old twins from Melbourne about to launch a new charity Parachute aimed to offer micro-grants to help kids who are going through trauma, divorce, or any kind of financial stress.

Alex and Charley Cowen

The twins told J-Wire: “After our dad Ben Cowen died in a paragliding accident three years ago., we were unsure of what our future would be like, and slowly with the help of our mother and many people in the community, our lives have slowly gone back on track.”

Ben Cowen was a son of the late Sir Zelman Cowen a former Governor-General of Australia.
They added: “We were just happy kids but we started to realise that our trauma should not stop us or any other kids.
The idea for our charity started after a sporting event when we began discussing how people have helped and impacted us and how we can help and impact others.
Our father had always been a philanthropist and he was always stressing how we can help other people, so we approached our school principal to discuss how we can help other kids who were going through any kind of trauma.” the girls said.
We understand that necessities come first but we came to realise that kids are missing out on parties, uniforms, sports activities, and music lessons.
We also recently spoke with a psychologist who understands kids needs and believes that extra activities, and getting together with other kids (through school activities, parties, sports activities etc) can have a positive affect on their mental health.”
The girls both reiterated that there is a wide need and that they will help anyone.
Dean Cohen who is the CEO of Flying Fox helped us narrow down how we can help kids, and helped us to find the perfect solution. We have also approached AJAX  and other people in our community. So this charity actually started at the end of 2017, we formed a board and a team to help this become a reality.”
AJAX is a Jewish Australian  Rules club.
The girls continued: “We were on a podcast recently, and one of our dad’s old friends listened to it and contacted us to let us know that as a kid, this kind of support would have changed his life.”
“Parachute will help us to continue our dad’s legacy. The amount of stuff that we have had to learn, and the learning is continuing. It has helped us to improve.
We chose the name Parachute which is totally inspired by our father, and that is why there is an orange parachute in our logo.”
Parachute relies on its sponsors, donors, partners, and volunteers to help make a difference To receive Parachute services, apply or nominate someone you know. It’s an application process, which details on what you intend to do with the loan and asks to supply references. Alex and Charley stated “It is completely accessible and it’s important not to discriminate”
Alex and Charley are poised to be impactful leaders in the Jewish community.

Dean Cohen

Dean Cohen said: “My role, and the role of the board, is to support Alex and Charley through the early stages of the organisation’s development but ultimately this doesn’t belong to the board, it belongs to them. They are the drivers and it is their responsibility to make the organisation a success. The small contribution I make is guiding Alex and Charley wherever I can in the hope that they can avoid making the same mistakes I did in the early days of running Flying Fox. But at the age of 15 they are already fast outgrowing my advice. They are extremely capable and are ready to take on the world.

They are excellent at surrounding themselves by the right people and at asking for advice and help. They are passionate about learning and doing everything to set themselves and Parachute up for success.

Parachute will succeed with Alex and Charley at the helm. I have no doubt that they will devote themselves wholeheartedly to ensuring that they can support as many kids as possible to work through difficult times and trauma.” 

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