Most children would probably spend $1,000 received as gifts on toys and gadgets.
But Tomas Perez, who got that money from family and friends in honor of his first communion last month, had other plans on what to do with the cash.
Tomas, who turned 9 on Friday, donated the entire amount to the Three Little Flowers Center in Petit-Goave, Haiti, the sister school to Pine Crest School, where Tomas attends the Fort Lauderdale campus.
“I learned that my sister donated money for her first communion and my mom knew about our sister school so we came up with an idea,” the boy said.
His parents, Daniel and Alejandra Perez, both of whom are physicians, said she asked for money in lieu of gifts after their son said he wanted to help Haitians at their sister school.
“You see how fortunate our kids are here and everyone does not have the same means,” said Tomas’ mother Alejandra Perez. “Our family knew what we were doing so they only gave gifts in the form of money.”
“There was no doubt in his mind,’’ she said of Tomas’ desire to donate his gift. “He was very excited to collect the money to donate.”
The family contacted Pine Crest School’s Lower School Head, Kristin Shealy, to set up a way to donate through a Three Little Flowers liaison and representatives from Food For The Poor.
Perez’s donation will help with the construction costs for a new school building, according to Food For The Poor.
“I was thrilled and was so proud of him,” Shealy said. “But I’m not surprised; they’re a wonderful family and wonderful families raise wonderful children.”
Tomas’ donation also will provide the students with soccer balls, a special request made by Tomas, who loves to play the sport.
Tomas received a certificate award from Pine Crest for his donation and is thrilled that his actions will help children his age get a better learning environment.
“They will fix the damage from the  earthquake and help the kids get a new building, desks, pens and pencils,” Tomas said. “I feel happy that I can give people stuff.”
Pine Crest, a private school with campuses in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, began its partnership with Three Little Flowers in 2007. The school has since given time and resources to help the small Haitian school get through many obstacles. Three Little Flowers is run by a non-profit organization that offers education from pre-K to fifth grade.
Tomas, an aspiring film director and avid Lego player, said he hopes to one day visit the school in Haiti.