Child Slavery, Illness and Disability Couldn’t Stop Cas Mastropaolo

Cas Mastropaolo has has taken his second chance in life and made the most of it.

Mastropaolo was born in the poorest area of Haiti. While Mastropaolo’s actual birthday is unclear and the memories are foggy at best, he knows his brother took care of him during his youngest part of his life. Mastropaolo’s brother would hunt for food and search out shelters for them so they would have a place to sleep.

“We don’t really know when my birthday is so when I came to America they made it December 15, 1999,” said Mastropaolo.

Living in the streets, Mastropaolo and his brother were captured by slave owners and became restaveks. The resatvek system is acceptable in the Haitian culture, but falls under the international guidelines for modern day slavery and child trafficking.

While Mastraopolo was in the restavek system, his owner put him up for sale in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. A missionary was walking by and was drawn to the young restavek, something about him made her want to help. She purchased Mastropaolo for 60 dollars and brought him to the Lambs of St. Michael orphanage.

While the orphanage was better than being in captivity Mastropaolo had a lot of issues he was dealing with.

“I was miserable, dealing with hearing loss, malnutrition, tuberculosis and a bunch of other diseases,” said Mastropaolo.

Ken and Laura Mastropaolo found their son online and through their own volition. Haiti’s government was in turmoil at the time and the American Adoption Agencies wouldn’t work with Haiti, so the Mastropaolo’s had to do all the connection themselves. It was a grueling process and they had to be very patient due to certain issues that only Haiti presents.

“Working with the orphanage was a very slow process that required us to be patient,” said Laura Mastropaolo “the electricity would only be turned on certain times of the day and it made communication difficult.”

The Mastropaolos wanted to adopt and older boy since those are the hardest to place. When they were going to look at children the first picture that popped up was Cas. They instantly knew he was the one. They process took two years.

“When we were finally ready to get our son we had to make the choice not to go to Haiti to get him. There was a lot of kidnapping of westerners going on, so we had a missionary bring him to Miami,” said Laura Mastropaolo

The Mastropaolo’s prayers were finally answered, but with this type of adoption comes hard work. Cas Mastropaolo had to learn how to play with children, use a toilet, speak English and much more. Introducing a child from a poor and deprived culture to Western civilization, while some may think would be happiness overload, was really a struggle.

“It was very challenging for me especially not knowing english and being hearing impaired,” said Mastropaolo.

Through time things became easier for Cas Mastropaolo, and he settled into his life. He had been treated for any illnesses, received hearing aids and started to appreciate his new life with his loving parents and two sisters.

Cas Mastropaolo started playing football in fifth grade. His true love for the sport came when he was asked to runt he ball in the last play of a game and ended up scoring the winning touchdown.

“My Dad put me in to run the ball on the last play of the game. I scored the winning touchdown and fell in love with football right then,” said Cas Mastropaolo

This was just the beginning. Mastropaolo would continue to pay football every year going forward and played all different positions. When he started playing at Edison High School they put him at nose guard. Mastropaolo was 180 pounds and going up against guards and tackles that were 220 pounds and more. Mastropaolo has since played nose guard and running back.

Eric Jordan, owner of Next Level Fit Academy, thinks strength and determination have helped Mastropaolo get to this point.

“Cas’s work ethic is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said Jordan. “He’s willing to do whatever it takes to be the best.”

Mastropaolo credits hard work and dedication from the people around him for his success. Training every day and cracking down on his academics has become a lifestyle. This hard work led Mastropaolo to receive the Max Preps, Semper Fidelis Athlete of the Month in February of 2018.

“I wanted my family and my trainer are my inspiration and I want them to be proud of me,” said Cas Mastropaolo

Mastropaolo has done nothing, but make his family proud. Mastropaolo will be playing football for the NCAA DIII Gallaudet University football team in Washington D.C. starting in the fall on 2019. Gallaudet is the premier university for the hearing impaired in the North East. Mastropaolo said he doesn’t think his hearing loss will be a factor in college. Gallaudet posted a 3-5 overall record in 2018 and was were 3-3 in ECFC conference play.

“I’m so excited about playing for Coach Goldstein and the fact they use sign language when calling in plays is great,” he said. 

 

 

 

 

 

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