Ideas for writing the child or teen you sponsor are a very popular topic on this blog, on Pinterest, on Facebook … pretty much everywhere. In the contact center, we hear lots of questions about what you should and should not write.
While this list is not comprehensive, I hope it’s a helpful guide for you.
Topics to write about:
Share everything you are comfortable sharing that is age appropriate for the child you sponsor.
Talk about your children, parents, cousins, etc. Tell stories about family members and friends, and tell him or her why you’re thankful for them.
I know that my dogs are like family to my husband and me. Share pictures of your pets, things they like to do (go to the park or play fetch) and your favorite memories of having them as part of your household.
Tell the child you sponsor funny stories (remember that time Fido ate the Thanksgiving turkey right off the table when the family wasn’t looking?!).
Your Community, State, and Country
Share educational and fun information about where you live. Be descriptive and send photos if you have some.
Your Favorite Things
Have a favorite memory of growing up or a favorite Bible verse? Share it with the child you sponsor and let him or her know why it means so much to you.
It may seem like you aren’t doing much, but you are! Your words of encouragement provide hope and fill the child you sponsor with love.
Don’t you remember that person who spoke into your life when you most needed it? That’s YOU to your sponsored child! Don’t take the honor lightly.
Holidays and Traditions
Tell him or her how you celebrate Christmas or why Easter is such a big deal to your family. Share Fourth of July memories and write about the history of the holiday.
Just as you are interested to know about your child and his or her family, they are delighted to hear details from you!
School and Work
As you want to know what he or she is learning at school, your child wants to know what you are learning at school or what your job is like. You might even find out you share a common interest.
No, your questions might not always be answered (do you answer EVERY question you get in an email?) but they will show the child or teen you sponsor that you truly want to know him or her.
Share Your Pictures
The children LOVE pictures. Be wise in the ones you choose, but send them often. My sponsored children can’t seem to get enough!
Topics to Avoid:
First, let me state that this is not meant in any way to make you feel guilty. You are already doing an incredible thing by sponsoring a child. This information is just to help you be wise in how you communicate with the precious child you have chosen.
If you’re feeling the pangs of guilt, stop and read this first: Not Guilty: Using Your Blessings for Good.
Don’t talk to the child you sponsor about money. You both come from very different places. This topic won’t bring children joy, but it could promote jealousy and, possibly, anger.
Have you ever thought about what he or she eats? Definitely not the same things you do. You can find out what they typically eat in their region by logging in to your account on our website.
Want to try your child’s diet for a while? Check this out: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor.
Your Home or Other Belongings
Go ahead and talk all you want about memories that were made in your home; just avoid the actual thing.
Don’t talk about the size of your home or that you have a car (or multiple). Be cautious not to be callous when talking about things you own.
Avoid sharing pictures that may not be appropriate, and remember that he or she lives in a completely different country and culture. While that family picture at the water park may be the “best one you’ve taken in years,” the bathing suits may be quite a shock. Also, try not to send pictures of your home or belongings.
I’ve been asked if a picture of a theme park would be okay to send; I think that’s fine. Bottom line, use your best judgment and if you’re not sure, it’s best to call and ask us or don’t send it at all.
Finally, I’ve compiled some resources for you. Feel free to share your own ideas and resources for letter writing ideas in the comments!