When I was in high school, I decided I wanted to help someone. I grew up in a very nice area of town, went to private school, had a part-time job, played volleyball, and landed the SMALLEST of roles in the school plays. That is to say, I was busy, and it didn’t leave much time for ministry to the needy.
If you’ve been hanging around here for any amount of time, you know I’m a Christian, and as such I believe it’s my responsibility to help others in the best way I can. (Not to say that helping others is a strictly Christian thing; it’s not. But it is a core part of our beliefs.) I felt the weight of that charge as a very young child, but it got REAL heavy as a teenager. I wanted to help. I HAD to help.
But as a high schooler, what could I do? I had ZERO time and not a lot of money.
Enter Compassion International.
A large organization whose business model was the best I’d seen (and I did a lot of research before committing to Compassion), it was easy for me to get connected with a child I could sponsor. His name was Edwin, and he was from Colombia. I wish I had a copy of my first photo of him; he was 6 or 7 years old and completely adorable. I’ve moved 8 times since the beginning of my sponsorship, though, and I think most of the photos are tucked away somewhere in some unknown box.
But trust me: He was ADORABLE.
When I went to college and took some time off from working (I’ve worked at least part-time since I was 15 years old, with the exception of my first semester of college), my parents took over with Edwin. They sent in the monthly contribution that provided him with food, medical care, and education.
When I started working again, I took him back. And guess who graduated from the program this year? My little Edwin.
Okay, he’s not so little anymore. He’s . . . a grown man, for heaven’s sake. He’s educated, motivated, and ready to make a difference in this world.
All for $38 a month.
After his graduation, Compassion sent us a letter that basically said, Hey guess what? Your little guy doesn’t need you anymore (bittersweet to hear that, you know) but there is someone else that does, and you don’t HAVE to sponsor her, but maybe you could just take a look?
I mean, come ON.
Heidy is 3 years old and her favorite hobbies are playing with her dolls, singing, and playing house. According to her personal information, she lives with her mother, she is responsible for cleaning and running errands (to where?!), and her mother is “sometimes employed.”
I could not put my form in the mail fast enough. YES I want to sponsor her, because here’s the thing:
This morning, my Baby Girl woke up in a warm, leak-free house. She ate breakfast without worrying about where it would come from. Then she got in her safe, comfy carseat and we went to her 12-month checkup at the doctor, where she got three vaccinations for diseases she’ll never have to worry about getting.
We came home and she took a nap in her clean, comfortable crib, for as long as she wanted. Then we went to Target, where we bought everything we needed with the money Rob and I make at our full-time jobs. She wore clean shoes that are made especially for “beginning walkers,” and when we came home, she played and ate some more. Tonight she will see her Daddy, who lives with us and loves both of us and does everything he can to be the best Daddy and husband possible. She has never known true hunger, and she probably never will.
Our biggest dilemma today has been which type of sippy cup to buy.
So yes, sweet little Heidy, the Riley family will sponsor you. We will do what we can do to help you break the cycle of poverty in your town, where most adults earn $205 per month as street vendors.
We understand that $38 per month–a tank of gas to us–provides Compassion with the resources to educate, feed, clothe, and vaccinate you.
Not only does Compassion do all this, they will also nurture you socially and spiritually, making sure you know that you are loved, that you are special, that you have potential to be more. They will give you a safe place to go when your mother isn’t home–a place where you can play with other children and be loved on by caring adults.
So, Readers, if you’re looking for a way to give back in 2012, and you’re strapped for time, consider Compassion International. I know there are other organizations out there that do a great job of helping needy kids; this just happens to be the one I work with. It’s a little over one dollar per day, and it’s a world of difference to children that otherwise have nowhere to turn.
Compassion did not ask me to write this post and I wasn’t compensated for it in any way. I wrote this because I truly believe in what they do–Edwin is proof of their effectiveness.