Child sponsorship What three things do you wish someone had told you when you first began sponsoring a child? What three things do you wish you understood about our child sponsorship program?

We asked numerous employees throughout our organization the same questions, but with a twist. We asked them to share the three things they thought you should know, based on the questions they frequently receive.

Here’s what they said:

Carl Holmes, Sponsor and Donor Relations Representative

  1. We work only within local evangelical churches. We get lots of calls from people who assume we work in a manner like World Vision does and set up feeding programs, schools, etc.
  2. When you commit to sponsor a child, the child commits to write at least three letters a year to you. The same is expected of you.
  3. We work only in countries with stable governments, where we can take a long-term approach to child development. I get lots of questions about why we aren’t in China, or in Iraq, or Sudan, etc.

Joe Cammaroto, Sponsor Correspondence Supervisor

  1. When using your own stationery to write your sponsored child, or when sending a greeting card, please make sure the child number and sponsor number are included in the letter. This saves us hours of research in determining which child to send the letter to.
  2. Please, send only gifts that are flat paper items, 8 1/2″ x 11,” no more than 1/4″ thick. Anything not meeting this standard will be donated to a local charity.
  3. Write to your child often, and keep in mind it may take several months to receive a response due to shipping, customs, translation, etc. Short frequent letters are better than yearly updates.

William Valero, Program Communications Manager, Compassion Colombia

  1. The most important part of the sponsorship commitment is to cultivate a relationship with the child, through letters and pictures.
  2. You are an example of the goals that the child is now able to dream of.
  3. Behind each letter you receive there is always a hopeful child waiting for a word of encouragement and wise advise that will guide them.

Catherine Hilger, Global Internal Communication Specialist

  1. Sponsorship shouldn’t be about you; it should be about the child. It’s important to keep that in mind when you write to sponsored children and they don’t correspond back in the way you hoped they would.
  2. I have sponsored children who write great letters, thank me for every gift I send, call me “mom,” and send photos every chance they get.

    I also have sponsored children who write only the minimum requirement and when they do, it is from a staff worker, not my child. They don’t thank me for gifts and never send photos. This can be discouraging because my “sponsor fix” isn’t met, but I remind myself that God asked me to sponsor this child, and it is for that child — for that child to be released from poverty – not for me.

    Always know that whatever the level of engagement you have, you ARE making a difference in a life.

  3. Stay the course. The investment of sponsorship takes time; it is not an overnight matter. Releasing children from poverty is done one day at a time; it takes steady, consistent support and prayer. That’s what releases children from poverty – when sponsors stay the course and don’t give up. Your return on investment will come later, much later, and maybe in heaven.
  4. Be transparent and bold. Your sponsored child loves you and wants to know you. Share your prayer requests. Guide that child. Coach his or her just as you would your own child.

    I once served as a volunteer correspondent to a Leadership Development Program (LDP) student in Kenya. After corresponding for a consistent period of time, I began to realize that this young adult saw my advice for living as more precious than anything else in his life. I was the only one on the sidelines telling him things I told my own sons: “Stay away from the girls! Stay focused on your studies! No, you don’t get to chase after some crazy dream right now, you must finish school. Go talk to the LDP Specialist right now about applying for the Moody Scholarship. What did I tell you? Stay away from girls, they are dangerous and will cause you problems!”

    He really appreciated that I would get in his face like I would my own son. It meant I cared about him and he took it to heart. We are still in touch with one another, he still calls me “mom,” and he still comes to me for advice for living. He doesn’t make a move without discussing it with me. He is my son.

Jennifer Holcombe, Sponsor Donor Services Communication Specialist

  1. Compassion partners with the local church.
  2. Letter writing is a very important part of sponsorship. Even if the child’s letters are not that engaging, children absolutely cherish letters from their sponsors.
  3. When people call into the contact center, we check to see if we have the sponsor’s e-mail address on file. Some sponsors decline to give their e-mail to us. However, having a sponsor’s e-mail address on file is important because it helps us to communicate important information to them about their child.

Ruth Cortese, Sponsor Donor Relations Representative

  1. Writing consistently is important! It will take some time (even up to a year) to establish a good “flow of conversation” between you and your child.
  2. There is no set time commitment for sponsoring a child, but our hope is that you can sponsor a child until he/she finishes the program.
  3. Not all sponsored children will be engaged in the program the same way. Each child and culture is different with different backgrounds and ideals. For example: Try not to compare how often your friend’s sponsored child writes vs. how often your child writes you; or “his sponsored child is smiling in his picture but mine is not”; or “his sponsored child answers questions and acknowledges gifts in his letters but mine does not,” etc.

Katy Balsis, International Partner Development Web & Marketing Specialist

  1. Letter writing is important to the kids. While it may seem like a burden to us, but to them, it means the world to hear from their sponsor. It’s a privilege to speak into their lives!
  2. Be proud of your kids! Make them a part of your family. Share them with your family and friends and communicate to others what it means to you to be a sponsor. It might not only encourage other people to sponsor, but it will make your relationship with the child more personal.
  3. Last and not least, JOIN OURCOMPASSION. It’s a great community to help you learn more about letter writing and connecting with your child. :-)

Bob Cleary, Product Strategy Director

  1. Understand the context for children in poverty. Relief, by design, is temporary. It focuses only on physical needs, which is why Compassion focuses on holistic child development.
  2. Poverty does more than rob a child of his or her physical life; the child loses his or her God-given sense of dignity and self-worth. Children in poverty miss out on the understanding that God loves them. Releasing children from poverty through ongoing, long-term holistic child development rebuilds a child’s sense of God-given value, and meets their spiritual, physical, educational and relational needs.
  3. Sponsors are part of a strategic partnership along with local churches and committed families. The sponsor’s role in the partnership is a commitment to prioritize the needs of the child foremost through regular correspondence, prayer, and gifts that build joy and faith in God’s people.

Becky Giovagnoni, Complementary Interventions Specialist

  1. Your sponsorship will likely be a very different experience than what you initially think it will be. Be okay with letting it be exactly what God wants it to be.
  2. For me, I had long dreamed of the day I’d get to meet my sponsored child in Haiti. I’d heard so many stories of tearful meetings, exuberant hugs and heart-wrenching goodbyes. When I met the 4-year-old boy I sponsored, he was extremely shy. He didn’t want to talk to me. Even after several hours, when we said goodbye, he barely looked at me.

    It took me some time to accept the fact that meeting my child for the first time was not the instant connection I had always expected. I had to be okay with allowing him to be the child God had chosen for me, not the one I expected based on the experience of other sponsors.

  3. Just because you cannot see a difference does not mean you are not making one. You may never know the full impact of your sponsorship on your child’s life.I often find myself having certain expectations of my child – what they should be writing about in their letters, when they should start writing their own letters, how they should be doing in school, how they should be growing, etc. Basically, I want tangible evidence that my sponsorship is making a difference. The fact is, your sponsorship is making difference, whether or not you ever get to see it yourself.
  4. If you let it, sponsorship will change your life. It’s easy to believe that by sponsoring a child, you are doing something good. That you are doing God a favor. However, sponsorship is ultimately not about you or even about what God has called you to do. It’s about Him. And just like any other life experience, it will transform you only as much you allow God to use it in your life.
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  1. Kristen
    May 24, 2010
    at 7:05 am

    I love this blog – thanks for sharing all of these tidbits with us!

  2. May 24, 2010
    at 7:09 am

    Whoever thought of this idea for a post-THANK YOU!!! I’ve been a sponsor for about 10 years, and I still learned from these posts.

    I recently got a letter in which my child (age 10) answered multiple questions I’d written him, and I was thrilled for the additional information. However, it is convicting to realize that my letters to him shouldn’t change based upon what he tells me (somehow, I know that without really ‘knowing it’). I need to continually realize my letters will make a difference regardless of the responses I get back as multiple staffers mentioned.

  3. Nina
    May 24, 2010
    at 7:20 am

    Great blog – thank you. This is good information for all sponsors – new and long-term.

  4. Lindy
    May 24, 2010
    at 7:39 am

    These are all so, so helpful! Maybe you should make them available to all new sponsors in the sponsorship packets! Thank you so much for this blog!

  5. Amy Wallace
    May 24, 2010
    at 7:39 am

    A repeated theme in this exercise – write letters!!

  6. jennifer
    May 24, 2010
    at 8:14 am

    Great post! This is one that new sponsors can be pointed to for a long time to come. Just remember that they are going to read your letters again and again like you do theirs. They will notice recurring themes. I tell my Mateo in just about every letter that I am proud of him. I’ve been sponsoring him since he was 6- he’s now 13. A sentence in his last letter really melted my heart. He thanked me for being his sponsor and for always believing that he can do great things. Then he asked me to keep writing him.

  7. kathleen spurrell
    May 24, 2010
    at 8:51 am

    Even though I have been sponsoring since the early seventies, I found the info here very helpful. I visited one of my children in DR. and we were fortunate in that we did make an instant connection.

  8. May 24, 2010
    at 9:54 am

    Wow…this is great information for us as sponsors and advocates!

    Thank you

  9. Stephanie Green
    May 24, 2010
    at 1:45 pm

    You are an example of the goals that the child is now able to dream of.

    This comment by William Valero leapt off the page at me and brought a tear to my eyes.What an inspiration that is for things to say to and do for each of my children…something we could all think about as we begin a letter.

    Loved this post and hope to see more like it!Thank you so much!

  10. May 24, 2010
    at 2:55 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for reminding me of what is really important. I love my (sponsored) kids so much, and this is motivation for me to tell them more frequently. :)

  11. May 24, 2010
    at 3:50 pm

    Here are some more thoughts from our employees in East Indonesia:

    “The sponsor is like a visible form of God, Jesus Christ. The children may feel that God loves and cares for them and it is shown to them through their sponsors.” – Claudia Ong

    “That our children are in another part of Indonesia, which is East Indonesia. East Indonesia is islands that include many small islands and some big islands. It isn’t a separate country but it is a separate Compassion office.” – Maya P. Rambing

    “Some children think that it’s their fault the sponsor does not send letters or cancels the sponsorship.” – Sarah J. Rahardja

    “Where the child’s country is located on a map, the child’s birthdate, and the child’s dream for the future.” – Shoji Pitoy

    “General description about East Indonesia, especially the uniqueness of East Indonesia in terms of the cultures, the people, languages, food, natural resources and the specific needs of the people of East Indonesia.” – Dave Karamoy

  12. May 24, 2010
    at 4:00 pm

    I received the following from our Program Communications Manager in Honduras, Ayax Hernandez:

    Greetings from Honduras, the heart of Central America!

    1. Your letters are important to the children!

    Many children feel discouraged when they don’t receive letters from their sponsors and other children do. Many tutors have expressed their concern for those children that don’t receive letters; the tutors keep encouraging the children to write and pray but when a letter from the sponsor doesn’t come it is heart breaking.

    Children feel so much more motivated when they receive letters from their sponsors, it makes the children feel loved, motivated and encouraged to keep at the Compassion program. The children and their families treasure the letters as very valuable items.

    2. Latin American Culture is oral.

    We like to make jokes, to hug, to laugh out loud, to express orally but we are not used to express by writing. This is why sometimes sponsors can find some letters repetitive, shallow or like if they were written by someone else. Sometimes tutors help children to write their letters so they can answer the questions made by the sponsor by keeping the flow of the communication from the last letter exchanged, but it still represents a challenge.

    3. Both worlds are different.

    The child and the sponsor live in two different worlds. Sponsors should understand that most of the time things surrounding the child bring many challenges for them and for the work we do, and this sometimes can delay a response to a request for information.

  13. May 24, 2010
    at 4:08 pm

    Your child is helped through a local partner church—not a community center. The child comes to the church center, and is ministered to by the church-based staff. Your child is known by name, and will not be lost in a huge community-wide program.

  14. May 24, 2010
    at 4:24 pm

    Thoughts from our staff in Guatemala:

    1. In Guatemala, we don`t provide formal education to our registered children. What we do is to reinforce math and Spanish grammar, and we teach the topics included in the Compassion Development Curriculum.

    Generally our registered children start attending school until they are 7 or 8 years old, and they start in first grade (without going to kindergarten).

    Also, in the majority of our communities out of Guatemala City, formal education is not that important for many parents, so they are not interested in sending them to school, although the government provides free education at public schools.

    2. Children in Guatemala, are not able to write and read very well until they are in third grade of elementary school. That is why many letters are written by a tutor or a parent, until they are able to write in a legible way. And in many instances, even the parents don’t know how to write and read, so almost every letter is written by the child’s tutor.

    3. In Guatemala we have 23 different languages, and that is one reason children raised with their native language find difficulties in learning how to express correctly in Spanish, until they are 11 or 12 years old.

    Besides that, many volunteers at the development centers don`t understand Spanish so they can`t help to write letters, and the ones who barely understand Spanish, find difficulties to write good quality letters. They also are not used to writing letters.

    For LDP sponsors:

    1. In Guatemala, we don`t have university dorms. The students stay at home with their parents, and travel to the university every day, or if they are attending a weekend program, they just travel on Saturdays, when they stay at the university from 8:00 to 17:00.

    2. A bachelor`s degree completion time requires five years to complete class work, and then every student must pass a private exam and then complete a professional thesis as graduation requirements, which make the completion time of at least 6.5 years depending on various factors.

    3. We only have one public university, and eight private universities. That is why superior education is not accessible for everyone.

    • Gail
      Nov 11, 2010
      at 7:21 pm

      This is wonderfully insightful. I feel like I’ve been able to glance through a window into the way of life in Guatemala. Thanks so much :)

  15. May 24, 2010
    at 5:39 pm

    Wonderful post… Thanks so much for the great information!

  16. Marci in MO
    May 24, 2010
    at 5:58 pm

    This is just excellent! I will be holding a Compassion Sponsorship 101 Class at church and for neighboring area sponsors. This article will be one in their take home binder for sure! Thank you so much!

  17. RoseAnn
    May 24, 2010
    at 11:25 pm

    Thank you so much for the tips.
    I know that it will help me when I write to my child again.

    I do get excited when I receive letters from my child. No matter what is written, it is like I am getting a gift. I may not answer the day I get the letter because of this excitement. I want to concentrate on my child and not on me.

    I have sponsored children previously. But this is all new to have as a guide.

  18. stephanie
    May 25, 2010
    at 1:00 am

    can you do another post with the thoughts from overseas staff? i see a few in the comments but didn’t see those on my RSS feed so perhaps others are missing that valuable input!

    thanks!

  19. Kristen
    May 25, 2010
    at 7:22 am

    Okay Chris, now you have me worried. In your comments from Honduras you mentioned how the children get discouraged when they don’t get letters and I can see how this would further hurt their self-image. When the tutors become concerned for the child’s mental well-being in these circumstances, can they put in a call to have a correspondent sponsor assigned to the child?

    • May 25, 2010
      at 12:45 pm

      @Kristen,

      You asked if staff at a child’s development center can request a sponsor correspondent be assigned to a child who doesn’t receive letters from his or her sponsor.

      The short answer is no.

      The relationship is between the sponsor and the child, and even though we feel a stronger relationship is established through letter writing, as compared to a sponsorship where no letters are sent to the child, it is our desire to respect the sponsor in this process. If the sponsor does not ask for someone to correspond with the child, we do not require the sponsor to allow someone to do so.

      We do not ask sponsors to consider having someone correspond on their behalf, but we do send periodic reminders to sponsors who haven’t written their children in a while in order to encourage the sponsors to write. We also talk about the importance of letter writing as much as we can in forums like this blog so that sponsors understand the importance of letter writing.

      We only assign a correspondent to a child when the sponsor asks us to do so. So it’s possible and does happen that a sponsor faithfully supports a child financially and never writes a letter at all. However, if a sponsor asks us to assign a correspondent and we find that the correspondent has not written in a year, we will assign a new correspondent to the child.

      If you would like to request a child to correspond with you can use this form on compassion.com to do so.

      Also, this blog post, Write to a Child, is all about becoming a correspondent.

      • May 31, 2010
        at 8:53 pm

        The one thing that I wonder about in this process is that the sponsors that don’t write would probably not check out the blog, check out the other resources to even know that the option of having a correspondent exists.

        They might have gone to a concert and seen the plight for poverty and then decide to help out and set up automatic payment and from then on consider most mail from Compassion as mass mailings. Thus the whole idea of a correspondent and the importance of letter writing never crosses their mind. I wonder if there could be something where the non writing sponsor could be asked in a very non confrontive way if they would have a correspondent write their letters for them. They might actually decide to start writing some letters then.

        Waiting on them to make this request in writing, I would think result in relatively few requests for this. Because they first of all don’t know about the option, second of all, they by nature aren’t letter writers, thus they probably wouldn’t take the time out to write that letter. This week, I was talking to someone, who handles all the letters for one of the biggest projects in Bolivia. It has many LDP students and includes a CSP too. Anyways, I asked her what percent get letters. Her answer was about 50%. Then I asked about the correspondent program. She said it was very few.

        Anyways, just some thoughts….

  20. Joann Cousin
    May 25, 2010
    at 7:34 am

    Thanks for all the info about sponsorship. Thanks to you Chris for all of the updates from additional countries. Katy thanks for mentioning OC. Without the support of OC these past months waiting for info about my child in Haiti,it would have been so hard without my friends.

  21. May 25, 2010
    at 1:01 pm

    Our Program Communications Manager in Brazil, Tania Mara Mendes, shared this thought about what sponsors should know:

    “Avoid exchanging e-mail addresses with the children. Sponsors should know that this policy exists to protect the child.”

    We ask that you don’t communicate directly with your sponsored child, via e-mail, phone, Facebook, etc., outside of the letter-writing channel we offer, not to hinder or interfere with your relationship but as protection for both you and the child. Direct communication can develop into potentially problematic situations – for you, the child and us.

    One example of a problem which can occur is when a family member demands money from the sponsor to guarantee the safety of the child.

    Before a child is registered in our program, the children and the parents agree to our communication guidelines. Initiating contact outside of Compassion places the child, family and church partner staff in a difficult situation.

  22. May 25, 2010
    at 1:33 pm

    And from our East India office:

    “In the region where we work, we would like sponsors to know the threats and challenges we face in sharing the Gospel with children.”

    • Linda Olin
      Jun 5, 2010
      at 4:53 pm

      I am a new sponsor for a young boy from Bangladesh. I imagine this area must face the same threats and challenges sharing the Gospel, as the East India office mentioned. Can you tell us more about what those problems are?
      Thank you all for your good work!

  23. May 25, 2010
    at 4:09 pm

    Great post – super info – good job Web Team! Hey Ethiopia office, I hope you’ll send in some tips. :)

  24. May 25, 2010
    at 5:12 pm

    BRILLIANT post!!!!! Much of this I already knew, but it still left so much valuable information.

    The very last paragraph really spoke to my heart — … “Sponsorship is ultimately not about you or even about what God has called you to do. It’s about Him. And just like any other life experience, it will transform you only as much you allow God to use it in your life.”

    Amen! I wrote a post on Compassion.ca’s blog today on how God used sponsorship to not only help the 5 children we sponsor, but also to bring the gospel to my husband, whose heart is being transformed through sponsorship.

    Here’s the post:

    http://compassionloop.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/we-are-making-a-difference/

  25. May 25, 2010
    at 8:03 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I enjoyed reading perspecitives from many different departments and offices within Compassion. I would enjoy more coments from other offices, and more posts of this kind in the future.

  26. May 27, 2010
    at 8:58 am

    From the Philippines office:

    1. Children highly value their sponsor letters and usually keep them inside a special box (e.g., an old shoebox made beautiful with colorful designs and drawings).

    There have been documented cases when during typhoons and floods, this box was one of the first things the children thought of rescuing. 

    Older children who may have opportunities to access the Internet still prefer to receive sponsor letters that are sent via surface/airmail instead of the Internet because they have a more personal appeal.

    2. We process and quality assure more than 8,000 letters a month per person. Despite the number of letters each person processes, they still get affected by both the happy and sad stories they read in the letters and frequently share these “special” letters with other members of the team.

    3. Children are very shy the first time they meet their sponsors. Some won’t even talk or smile to their sponsor. 

    Children tend to forget their shyness during the fun day when they are playing in the water (swimming pool or beach) or going through some amusement or theme park (like the oceanarium or children’s museum, etc). 

    Children who experience a fun day far from their homes sometimes get overwhelmed with the new things they see and get excited by things that most city folks take for granted. We’ve hosted children who thought one of the most fun part of their visit is a ride up and down an escalator.

  27. Caitlin
    May 27, 2010
    at 9:09 am

    I loved escalators, and they were not a novelty to me!

  28. jennifer
    May 27, 2010
    at 10:00 am

    I just want to say thanks for the input from the other countries. I really like hearing their thoughts on how we can serve our kids. Maybe we can hear from Colombia, Ecuador or Bangladesh next… :) Thanks for all you do!

  29. May 27, 2010
    at 1:31 pm

    Great post. I especially love hearing from the country offices, especially the Philippines, which I just visited last week!

  30. Marvin
    May 27, 2010
    at 4:15 pm

    Some interesting answers…
    A lot is said from the country offices about people never writing….
    But how much is too much? How often are letters sent on to the projects? I typically send 1 maybe 2 letters a month but it looks like they all arrive on the same day…maybe even 2 months worth of letters. Once I received a letter saying they just received 3 letters and I had only written 1 per month. Also I work in full time ministry and often travel in Asia. Is visiting the child once a year or every other year to much? I feel a little obligated to visit if I am in Asia. If I just left a package at the country office would this offend the family…”why didn’t you visit”…? I had them once say…we are only a 6 hour boat ride from Cebu we are sad you did not stop and visit us…. I have already visited all of them…. Thanks

    • Jun 3, 2010
      at 4:02 pm

      Marvin,

      I haven’t overlooked your question. I just failed to respond because of the timing of the post (i.e., right before the new blog design launched.)

      I’ve asked the Philippines office if they’d answer your questions.

    • Jun 3, 2010
      at 9:25 pm

      Marvin,

      This is the reply from the Philippines:

      “A lot is said from the country offices about people never writing….But how much is too much? How often are letters sent on to the projects?

       From the child/family’s perspective, they can never receive too many letters. They always are excited when letters arrive. On the other hand, too little is from zero to two letters a year. 

      Letters are sent on to the development centers after being quality checked and translated in our office first. Our mailing schedule to the centers is once a month. 

      On the other hand letters from the children are mailed to the Global Ministry Center in Colorado Springs weekly, that is after they have been quality checked and translated.

      “Is visiting the child once a year or every other year to much? I feel a little obligated to visit if I am in Asia. If I just left a package at the country office would this offend the family…”why didn’t you visit”…?”

      Children feel loved and important when they are visited or when they receive gifts. Thus visiting once a year will never be too much. 

      Having said that, they will also not hold it against their sponsor if the sponsor doesn’t visit because the children don’t have any expectation of being visited. 

      However, it would be common for Filipinos to express disappointment if they learn that the sponsor was already in the area but did not take time to visit. (One of our national characteristics is hospitality so locals are always eager to have visitors). 

      Then again, receiving a gift in lieu of a visit will still be appreciated by the child especially if it includes a message from the sponsor. 

  31. James H.
    May 27, 2010
    at 7:11 pm

    Thanks for a great post, I was especially glad to hear about Honduras where one of my kids lives. Thanks for the reminder about letter writing, I haven’t responded yet to a letter from the mom. Again, thanks for the reminder about letter writing and the notes from the country staffers.

  32. Patty Y.
    May 30, 2010
    at 2:05 am

    Wow, good info. My first time on the blog. Thanks for all you do.

  33. Linda R.
    May 30, 2010
    at 1:18 pm

    This has been so helpful to me. I love writing letters to my little girl in Brazil but it can sometimes be discouraging when I hear from her so seldom. But I know that my sponsorship is helping her and that is my focus always.

  34. Elizabeth B.
    May 31, 2010
    at 2:55 pm

    Thanks so much! This really does help explain why the letters I’ve gotten for many years (from an African project) seem to be written in a formula – same four subjects addressed in the same order in every letter, almost verbatim – and why my sponsored children sometimes ask questions like “Do you have children?” that I’ve written about in many letters over the years. Every sentence outside the typical “formula” has been like gold – even something simple like, “I like to eat (whatever)”. I’ll admit I’ve gotten discouraged over the years, but now that I understand better, I’m more encouraged to stay the course!

  35. Chris D
    Jun 1, 2010
    at 12:38 am

    Mr. Joe Cammaroto stated that flat gifts of paper sized dimensions should only be sent, that gifts exceeding this size would be donated to local charity. I am a new sponsor, am I understanding this correctly, that if I were to send a gift to our sponsored child that exceeds that size that it will not make it to her? If that is so, its slightly disheartening as the website encourages sponsors to send gifts to the sponsored children. Although I understand that there are other children in need in the area, I just would like to know the details before I send gifts to her. Thanks.

    • Jun 8, 2010
      at 6:35 am

      Chris D: You can send financial gifts to your child and family. Compassion staff will work with the family to determine what would be the best things to buy. The website is clear with what sort of gifts you can send through the mail (they give size restrictions etc.) and when you see Send a Birthday Gift or Send a Family Gift, those take you to links to send money. 100% of the gift money goes to the family.

  36. Jun 1, 2010
    at 10:03 am

    Compassion-you think of EVERYTHING! God has trully blessed this organization and everyone whose heart has been touched by it. I appreciate that you are forever looking at ways to improve. I know that you are all about serving God and this strengthens my own faith. Thank you. As much time as I spend on here, I have nevered seen a “Live Chat” offered. Where do I find this? Also, what I enjoy most on here is the individual country posts by staff members. Naturally, it would really be super if I heard from the countries where my children are from-Burkina Faso, Nicaragua, and Kenya.

  37. Jun 3, 2010
    at 10:28 pm

    QUESTION: What is the average size of a Compassion child center? What is the largest number of kids in a center? What is the smallest number of kids in a center? What is the ratio of adults to children?

  38. Shaina
    Jun 4, 2010
    at 10:08 am

    Hi Lisa, each project is different in size and ratio. Compassion wants the project to develop their own guidelines to best serve the needs of the community. Some projects have 50 children enrolled while others have 400. It is up to the church to determine how many volunteers and staff are needed to run the program, and they plan accordingly.

  39. Archie Oestreicher
    Jun 6, 2010
    at 11:41 pm

    4 years ago I visited my child in Colombia. I had a great time with the family and the project staff. It is so encouraging to the child to meet their sponsor, and encouraging to me to see the vast difference between the project kids and the ones outside.
    The staff treated me like a king, and before I left I asked how many sponsors had visited their kids, and the answer was “you’re the first one”. This blew my mind. I can’t immagine NOT visiting my kids.

    • Sep 8, 2010
      at 4:20 pm

      I’ve had that same experience several times. It is the dream of many of the Compassion children to one day meet their sponsor. And that child will be known in the project as the one, who actually got to meet their sponsor.

      I spoke with a director of a project a while back and we were talking about her future plans. She was actually quite young….. about 25 years young, I would guess….. (I learned from my mom, not to ask a lady for her age…) Anyways, I asked her if she could see herself doing this for the rest of her life…. She said “No.” I was almost a little shocked by the answer and asked what she wanted to do in the future. She told me that she wanted to sponsor a child in the future…

  40. Jun 8, 2010
    at 6:42 am

    Super post – thank you for this rich topic. Would love more blog posts on this if more field offices chime in!

  41. Jan C
    Jun 8, 2010
    at 9:03 am

    I have learned so much from this and am so appreciative to the project directors who took the time to write in and present their “side of the story.” I look forward to hearing from more countries as each culture has an effect on our sponsored kids’ relationships with us. Thank you!

  42. Sep 5, 2010
    at 10:36 pm

    can u support a child for only one year

    • Shaina
      Sep 8, 2010
      at 3:40 pm

      You are able to sponsor a child for as long as you would like. However, it is our hope that you will sponsor a child until they complete our program and encourage them as they grow.

      • Sep 8, 2010
        at 4:16 pm

        I spoke at a Christian Sorority one time about Compassion. One of the girls asked me if she could sponsor a child for a year. I said, “Yes, that’s definitely possible, but it’s like asking if you could date a guy for a year. If you’re going to do that, it’d be better not to start it.” Sometimes sponsors view the sponsorship as a financial commitment, but the child views the sponsorship as a relationship. If you are going to sponsor a child for only a year, I would think that it would be good to tell the child in a letter at the very beginning, so that the child wouldn’t get hurt. A few weeks ago, I asked a director of a project how the children react when they lose their sponsor. She told me that many of them are sad and cry. Then I asked if the children that don’t get letters react the same way and she said that they were sad also.

        • Gail
          Nov 11, 2010
          at 7:25 pm

          Perfect way to explain the sponsor-child relationship Kees. I think I’ll borrow that analogy.

  43. Lynne
    Oct 11, 2010
    at 1:49 pm

    I recently asked some of my older sponsored children what they think is important for new sponsors to know. I am looking forward to their answers.

    • Nov 11, 2010
      at 10:20 pm

      The two things that are far more important than the financial commitment are the prayers of the sponsor for their children and the letters. The children look at the sponsorship as a relationship primarily. When they don’t get letters and they write them all the time, it gets very discouraging for them. They want to know their sponsor.

  44. Oct 11, 2010
    at 2:01 pm

    This is a great blog post!! Love it! I hope many, many sponsors read it and learn of the importance of those letters!!!

  45. Gail
    Nov 11, 2010
    at 8:10 pm

    As a sponsor I like to tell new sponsors these three things:

    1) Let these children become part of your family.Put their photo in a frame on your wall with you’re other family pictures. Pray for them daily. Talk about them with family and friends. Open your heart with them. Be their mentor and friend. Learn about them, who they are, their country and their culture. They are all unique and the more we invest into the relationship the more we both learn and benefit from it.

    2) Write letters! Often and fill them with love and encouragement.

    3) You can do a lot more than just give money – pray, write, give gifts, visit, join OC, volunteer, write to politians, be an advocate for children etc Check out the website, blog, magazines etc to find new ways you can get involved in this wonderful ministry.

  46. alyssa
    Jan 3, 2011
    at 9:13 pm

    i sometimes feel that my children are disappointed with my letters, especially the older ones (i sponsor a 19-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy, and correspond with a 14-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl) because i’m 19 myself and don’t have much wisdom to share… i’ve really been encouraged to embrace what my sponsorships are now, that our relationships are a blessing, ‘perfect’ or not, and to be assured that they will continue to grow in the future… thanks for the awesome post!!

  47. Laure Krueger
    Jun 14, 2011
    at 9:12 am

    Thank you to all who participated in this. So very helpful. I’m so thankful to God to be a sponsor through CI.

  48. Lana Wells
    Feb 19, 2014
    at 7:34 pm

    I am a brand new sponsor I just got the name of my little Indian boy. I am extremely excited. I love to write letters so my little Hming might get too many letters from me. But I will do my best to pace myself and to write the same letters I would have written to my boys. I will love Hming as my own and with the knowledge that he is a child of God.

    • Susan Sayler
      Feb 20, 2014
      at 9:00 am

      Lana, You’re going to be a great sponsor! Thank you so much for encouraging and supporting these kiddos as your own!

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