Monday, July 30, 2012

Spotlight Child of the Week, 7/30/12

This week, I would like to introduce to you Claudine. She lives with her three siblings and her parents in Manila. Claudine caught my eye because her favorite pastime is reading--a rarity in children from countries where the emphasis on reading for pleasure isn't as strong as here in the States. Her family's income is only $163 per month, so I imagine she doesn't often receive new and engaging books to read. As her Sponsor you could change that, and encourage her love of literature as she grows into adulthood. Her birthday is August 19th--she will be fourteen years old. What better birthday gift could you give her than the hope and promise of Sponsorship?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Financial Perspective

Last night as I was checking my Children International account for new photos and family reports (a couple are due sometime soon!), I happened to idly click on the "year-to-date contributions" link. Under the "monthly sponsorship" heading, the amount was around $800. "Huh," I thought to myself. "That's about half of one paycheck."

Then I stopped, and really thought about that realization. In seven months, my Sponsorships have cost me only half of one paycheck. Half of one, when I've earned fourteen. That means that my Sponsorships are only 3.5% of my entire after-tax income. "Wow!" I thought upon that realization. "Some people tithe 10% of their income to their church. This is less than half that!"

People have, in the past, expressed various concerns upon learning how many children I Sponsor. The majority of those concerns are phrased something like, "It's wonderful that you're so generous, but are you sure you aren't biting off more than you can chew?"

Now, instead of simply assuring them that it's not more than I can afford, I can reply, "Does 3.5% of my income sound like too much, when you consider that it's changing the lives of EIGHT families in the Philippines?"

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Spotlight Child of the Week, 7/25/2012

This precious little girl is four-year-old Maybel Bernadas from Tabaco in the Philippines. She and her four siblings live with their parents and struggle to get by on only $69 per month. The hope and promise of Sponsorship can turn her sad, hopeless face into a brightly smiling expression of joy. Won't you be the one to turn her frown upside down?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Spotlight Children of the Week, 7/11/12

This week, I bring you a rare occurrence in the Waiting Children list: Twins!

Jhoise Monserra
Martina Belen
Jhoise Monserra and her twin sister Martina Belen live with their parents in Chile. They have no other siblings. Jhoise and Martina turned two in February. They both like to dance and love playing with dolls. What a unique experience it would be to Sponsor twins! Or to team up with a friend and each Sponsor one of them. In fact, if someone wants to team up with ME, send me a message!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

CPs Galore!

There's nothing in the world quite like the feeling of opening the mailbox to find a Children International envelope inside! This one proclaimed, "A special greeting from your Sponsored child Yulliana!" but as I eagerly snatched it from amid the pile of junk mail, I noted that it felt too thick to be only one letter.
Inside were THREE beautiful letters from not only Yulliana but also Joyce and Maria!

Dear Shannon,
Hello! A big hug for you. I've just received your letter and I'm so happy when I read it. The pictures are so nice and I'm happy when I see your picture. I'm happy to know we have the same birthday. So on my next birthday, I'll go to church and pray to God to give you good health and more blessings to come! I'll wait for another letter from you. Take care!
Yulliana Nicole

I love that she sends a hug -- I sign all my letters "With big hugs" and she is the first of my girls to respond to that. =) She's just such a sweet child--and a very happy one, if this letter is any indication!
CP from Joyce
Dear Ms. Dillon,
Hello! I'm fine and especially my family.
I'm happy that you gave me photos of you and your sisters and friends. Are so beautiful and nice. Julio and you are perfect with each other, an Ali`i is so cute.
Hmmf! This summer we bonding with my friends and my family. Me and my friends went to the falls and beach. We swim and play there. Sometimes we go to the playground. My family and I was bonding in our house. We talk about studying and good health of my family.
I'm excited in this coming schooling, because I will meet again new friends and more fun activities in our school. We will have again new lectures in different subjects. I never forget the happy memories in the sophomore level.
Thank you again for the letter and beautiful photos. Say my "hellow" to your friends and to your handsome boyfriends, especially to your family. Once again thank you very much for all the benefits. THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS!
Sincerely Yours,

I love to hear that she gets to enjoy fun passtimes at the beach and falls (and I guess that answers the question of whether she likes to swim! hehe). I can't wait to tell Julio that she called him my "handsome boyfriend"--he'll love that! =)

Dear Miss Dillon,
Hello! I have just received your letter. I am very surprised. You are pretty. You look very kind and energetic. Your friends are also friendly. About me, I am in good health. Classes are here again. I am in grade five. I will study hard because I want to reach and fulfill my ambition. I also don't forget to help my parents in doing household chores. I take care of my younger sister and brother. Thank you so much for all of the gifts you have given to me and to my family. Thank you also for the time you've shared in spite of your schedule at work and with friends.
I will always keep in my heart your kindness and goodness to me.
Take care.
Truly yours,
Maria Cristina

I continue to be impressed with Maria's proper grammar and spelling -- her English is extraordinary for an eleven-year-old! I had to chuckle when she said I look "energetic" and also at how she ascertains that my friends are friendly based on the photos I sent.

Friday, July 6, 2012

July Letters

I finally had an evening when I wasn't so exhausted from work that I fell immediately asleep, and so I took the opportunity to sit down and write letters to each of my girls. I started off this month telling them about how hot the weather here has been (above 100*F most days!), and followed up by telling them Julio and I will get to escape the heat for a short vacation with my family at Raquette Lake, in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. Writing about the lake also afforded me the opportunity to ask each of them if they like to swim -- crucial information, since I hope to take them on an outing to the pool at La Mesa when I go visit!

The other portion of this month's correspondence was already written -- I included the postcards I have received so far from having updated my Postcrossing profile to request cards for my girls instead of for myself. To date I've received nearly thirty cards for them from all over the world! I think I will let them accumulate and send them once a quarter, from now on.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Feeling Voiceless

I have been a Sponsor for sixteen years.  Throughout that time I have gone through varying levels of excitedness and dedication, it's true. But one thing that has remained very constant is my wish for other people to Sponsor as well. If I could Sponsor every child on the waiting list, I would. Since I am not financially able to do that, however, I have always strove to bring others in to help.

When I was younger and still living at home, I cut out all of the Children International postings I found in magazines and saved them. Combining them with the fliers CI used to send to us in the mail, I would set up a table at family garage sales. I talked to people about Gisel and showed them her photos and letters. They would smile and say, "Oh, how nice!" ... and  then walk away. I never managed to convince even one person to take a flier, nevermind actually send it in and begin Sponsoring.

When LiftOne was first created, I made a page. I linked to the page from my MySpace account, and I mentioned Sponsorship and LiftOne frequently in my MySpace blogs. For my birthday and Christmas, I asked people to Sponsor instead of giving me gifts. All to no avail.

Now, I have an arsenal of tools with which to spread the word of Sponsorship. Facebook, Twitter, LiftOne, Postcrossing, and of course this blog. I carry my girls' photos at work and share them with my coworkers. And still I feel like no one is hearing my message nor being moved to help. Most of my readers here, I know, are already Sponsors themselves. Most of my Facebook posts go unheeded, not even acknowledged with a simple click of the "Like" button.

On an intellectual level, I suppose I understand. Everyone has their own causes for which they are passionate. A lot of my friends, for example, are very involved in the Susan B. Coleman foundation. Others work with animal rescue agencies, or volunteer for the Ronald McDonald House. So it's not a matter of everyone I know being heartless and unfeeling, but rather it's a question of where child sponsorship falls in their list of priority causes--for most of them, it's far, far down the list. I understand that.

On an emotional level, I'm just so frustrated by it. Understanding that they do have hearts makes it somehow WORSE--How can they care so much about animals and cancer and yet not care at all about poverty-stricken children?!--and I wind up feeling like I've failed, somehow, to communicate my cause effectively. I don't know what else I can do. I hate feeling this powerless about something for which I have such passion.

"Perseverance is a great element of success. 
If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, 
you are sure to wake up somebody.”
 -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow