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'They called me John Cena' Chandler Cox becomes big kid in Dominican
July 6, 2017

"I walked into the classroom and everyone started yelling, "John Cena!"

From the minute Chandler Cox arrived in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, he felt his inner kid emerge. During the week-long trip, there was rarely a moment, Cox wasn't completely surrounded by young faces. It could have been because of mistaken identity with the famous American wrestler, or it could have been the obvious instant connection he had with the joyous children of the Dominican.

Cox in Dominican Republic

"We spent the first day in a village called Hole of the Pigs. It was really special getting to hang with the kids. I wish I had known my Spanish better so I could have talked with them directly. They're just such cute kids and so full of life.

"We only planned on being there for about an hour but we ended up staying for about three hours because the kids were so fun. I was showing the kids snapchat and the filters where you can put different images on your face. They had never seen anything like it and were all so amazed and excited at how it could change their faces."

Cox in Dominican Republic

"Their classroom was a good learning environment. I could tell they loved going to school. I believe the kids enjoy going to school because it's a lot nicer than where they live. They actually have doors and windows and they get food and water."

Cox in Dominican Republic

"One thing I noticed is that the kids in the Dominican loved the camera, they kept saying, 'let's take another picture.' The kids are very affectionate. They want to be loved. They want to be held and talked to. I love to work with kids, so this is where I could serve best.

"They kept asking us when we were coming back to play. It was an amazing time to have fellowship with them. It really opened up the eyes of our team because the kids were all so grateful for what they had."

Cox in Dominican Republic

"This was one of our last days when we were delivering solar lights for their huts. When we walked in, the kids immediately started jumping on us. You don't even have to say anything to them, they just grab your hand. That's what this little boy wanted. He wanted to be picked up and be loved. That's what the kids are looking for there. They just want to be loved and I loved getting to spend time with them.

"We were walking down the pathway and this little boy jumped in my arms. He saw the camera and immediately wanted to take a picture. He ended up staying with me the entire rest of the day. He was really excited that he was able to see the picture after we took it so he could see himself."

Cox in Dominican Republic

"They love running around and playing games. We were doing very basic things but they were so excited to do be doing them with us. It was just a field of grass and we were running around for hours. John Franklin and Stephen Roberts were racing, and the kids were loving it."

Cox in Dominican Republic

"This is Chenon (left of Chandler). This was the hardest moment for me because I had a connection with him. He was so fun and loving. At one point, I took Chenon on top of the hill where our cars were parked and put him in to feel the air conditioner. He had never felt it before. He put his hand up on the vent and I gave him a bottle of water. I wanted him to have what I have. That was when I realized that I want to go back. I want to help and hopefully make enough money some day so I can give more to their community."

Cox in Dominican Republic

"My big takeaway from this trip is just to be grateful for the little things. For the water, clothes and shoes that we have. They have nothing and we have everything in America. Everything is beautiful for us and these kids don't know any different. Be grateful. Always love one another and enjoy each day.

"It was a life changing experience for me, and I knew it was going to be. I loved seeing what it did to some of the guys on our team.

"It was an experience of a lifetime and something I will always take with me."



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