And they’re off!
Sam Specht, Nick Gagliardi (owner of Café Castello), Rae Specht, Maddie Joinnides, Amelia Kocay and Eloise Kocay at a Four Girls for Families pop-up store at Café Castello in 2016.

Courtesy photo

And they’re off!

Story By: TARA SMITH
2/23/2017


Six years ago, Joanne Specht and her family spent their holiday vacation in Cambodia and began a life-changing mission. Though the intention of their trip was to visit the historic Angkor temples, the Specht family was soon moved by the discovery that local Cambodians were living without access to running water. 

Thus began Four Girls for Families, a charity founded by Rae and Emmy Specht, Maddie Joinnides and Eloise Kocay, four young girls dedicated to improving the lives of people on the other side of the world. Since 2010, in response to a family trip, the Specht sisters, now 14 and 17, joined with friends in Bellport/Brookhaven hamlet, to raise money for poverty-stricken villagers in Cambodia. 

To date, they have raised over $280,000 and have handed out over 3,000 water filters that have helped provide clean water for approximately 25,000 people.

Recently, the charity’s work has expanded to include construction of a 500-student school in Sret Village, funding over 20 deep-water wells, four rainwater catchers and building houses for homeless families in Takem, Cambodia.

With the help of a Global Grant from Rotary International and the Bellport Rotary Club, Four Girls for Families is transforming the entire village of Beung Kok through sustainable farming, livestock, wells, education and sanitation.

Last Friday, the girls and their families left for their annual trip, which will allow them to personally see the completed schoolhouse and deliver water filters to rural villages outside of Siem Riep.