PGA Golfer Gives Winnings to Children in Need

Cameron Tringale funds classrooms and water projects in impoverished countries.  
The staff at a Compassion center in El Salvador welcomed Cameron Tringale, third from left.

The impoverished neighborhoods of El Salvador look nothing like the lush golf courses where PGA tournaments take place. But when golfer Cameron Tringale walks onto the grass in hopes of winning a tournament, he’s already thinking of how he can use his earnings to help Salvadoran children.

“For some reason the Lord has given me this great opportunity financially and blessed my career,” Cameron says. “And I know He wants me to use it not for my own gain but to go and pass it on, and use it for His glory and the good of others.”

Cameron’s faith inspires him to help children who don’t have the opportunities he enjoyed growing up in a wealthy area of southern California. He says that through prayer “the Lord is just growing my affection for missions and to reach more people who are lost.” So in 2014 he traveled to El Salvador to learn how Compassion works with churches there to serve more than 60,000 children in the sponsorship program. Cameron played with kids at child development centers, spoke with church leaders who run Compassion’s programs, and witnessed poverty while visiting communities where sponsored children and their families live.

“I thought I knew what poverty was, and it was just really eye-opening,” he says. “The worst neighborhood of downtown L.A. or Miami or whatever would be the Ritz-Carlton-plus-plus” in El Salvador.

Nearly 35 percent of El Salvador’s population lives beneath the poverty line. But the strong faith of the people who live in such an environment stuck with Cameron when he returned home to Florida. “The power of prayer of the people on staff and the families was incredible,” he says.
“… The people living there have a need for their God every day, just from a physical standpoint. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from; they don’t know if they’ll have medicine for their babies. So they’re leaning on Him for things that we all don’t think twice about.”

 

“It really imprinted this idea of how these people pray and how much they value that. And it’s such an afterthought at times for us who don’t have the physical dependence upon God, necessarily, right in the front of our minds like they do.”

Cameron’s experiences motivated him to make a meaningful, long-term impact on the families who live in the neighborhoods he walked. He began funding projects, including the construction of classrooms at more than 20 Compassion centers. These classrooms are crucial in developing countries like El Salvador, where only 50 percent of children complete junior high school and 25 percent graduate high school. Low-quality public education as well as fear of violence leads to the high rates of school desertion, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.

 

The children Cameron met on his trip to El Salvador inspired him to donate money to help improve their lives.
Cameron recently had Compassion's logo embroidered on his club bag in hopes of starting conversations about why he supports the organization.

Cameron has also donated money to provide water filters to families of sponsored children at several Compassion centers across El Salvador, as well as training courses to teach the families how to maintain the filters and prevent waterborne illnesses. He also funded a classroom in Colombia, where his sponsored girl, Zuleima, lives.

“In terms of Zuleima … I see when I sit and pray specifically for her how the Lord uses that to draw me closer into caring for her and caring about others in her situation, and caring about the millions of kids like her who are under the oppression of poverty.”

Thanks to Cameron’s gifts, more children are able to get tutoring and vocational training that will prepare them for steady jobs as adults. They also learn about the peace and love of Christ, which helps shape them into leaders equipped to change their country’s future.

So when Cameron swings his club, he’s not only doing it for a championship trophy. He’s doing it for the students raising their hands in a brightly painted classroom. Mothers pouring glasses of purified water for their children. And little Zuleima swinging on a Compassion center playground in Colombia.

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