“…And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us some e-mail.”
— a 4-year-old girl reciting the Lord’s Prayer
Perhaps this little girl didn’t get it quite right, but she certainly illustrates the point I want to share with you today. The children we sponsor want to hear from us! They need our letters, our photos and yes, even our e-mail.
One-on-one sponsorship is set up to give each of us the opportunity to shepherd and encourage the children of our world. We need to be there for our kids. We parents know how quickly our children grow up. Well, the kids you sponsor grow up just as fast! Don’t waste the opportunity to connect with them — to know them.
Now here is a confession: I have been a sponsor for over two years — two years of very regular, very wonderful correspondence — but I need some help! I need some letter-writing ideas on how to keep my correspondence fresh, and educational and exciting.
So readers in blogland — sponsors, child advocates, former Compassion students, Compassion staff — please share with me some creative things you’ve done, or seen done, for the children. Is there anything that really stands out as special or unique?
Sponsors, is there something you sent that you felt really great about? Is there something a child received that really wowed them?
2,906 Comments |Add a comment
Thank you for your grace filled words. We’ve been working on things for the sponsored kids all weekend and have them ready to go out tomorrow. I just wish it didn’t take so long to get there! 🙂
I have sponsored a little girl in Ecuador since 2013. I have only sent a couple of letters through email. Shortly after we started sponsoring her I went through some major life changes and was severely depressed. Life got away from me. Now that I am better and am taking my life back I am so sorry that I wasn’t writing to her all along. Now I’m nervous to start writing regularly…do I need to tell her why I didn’t or explain in anyway? She turned 7 in November. My daughter and I have prayed for her and think of her every day. But it just wasn’t enough. I had such big plans when we started…things we could send her. I still want to do these things. We signed up to sponsor another little girl in India just this evening. Tomorrow we are going to the dollar tree and picking up a bunch cards, enough to last for months for both of them and a few things that we can send them. We’re also making a calendar and circling days each month to send the girls a letter. I am heartbroken and driven to tears thinking of our little girl in Ecuador waiting for mail and rarely getting it. I hope that we can build a relationship with her.
Mandy, I am so very sorry for the season that you went through and that you were struggling :(. I am so encouraged to hear that the Lord has comforted you and brought you into a place where you have found victory in Christ and strength in the joy He provides :). Please know that we are standing with you in prayer and believing that you will only grow stronger each day!
We understand that things happen in our lives that we don’t anticipate or expect. But it’s never too late to begin a relationship with your girl! She will still be very excited to hear from you and I know that your letter will be so special to her when she receives it. Please know that our staff also try to help these children understand reasons why a sponsor may not have been writing for a while. They communicate that their sponsor may be very busy but still loves them very much, in a way that the child will understand. I would encourage you to keep it brief if you want to explain why you weren’t writing and move forward into continuing to build the beautiful relationship that I know you can still have with your girl :). She is still young and so if you dwell on it too much in your letter, she might not fully understand. You might say something like, “I am sorry that I haven’t been able to write you in a while but I care about you and I am so excited to get to know you better and write you more letters…” You can certainly use your discernment and what you feel comfortable with in regards to how much detail you give about your situation and why you had not written. But regular letters will be very exciting for her so don’t be nervous :).
My prayer is that you would not feel guilty or get discouraged. God has put this sweet little lady in your life for a reason and He will give you the words to say :). I would encourage you not to be nervous and to just let God lead you and use your love and passion for children and for Jesus, to impact this child’s life and let her know how dearly she is loved by her Heavenly Father and treasured by you and your daughter. We are behind you every step of the way!
Thanks for the encouragement. Yes, we are continuing to write and pray for him; I was just struck by how personally convicting the letter writing process was … suddenly very aware of privileges I take for granted every day, and didn’t want to be inadvertently discouraging to him. I know it will get easier with time as we receive his letters and have a better sense of who he is and what his interests are.
If you send a Christmas or Birthday card, packet or money gift through the website several months in advance, will the child development center hold the birthday card until the child’s birthday or will it just be given out that day of the month when everything else is given out?
Hi Sara! Great question. Our projects do not ‘hold’ money to ensure it is given to the child at a certain time. We always encourage sponsor’s to send gifts and letters 2-3 months in advance of when you want it to reach your child to ensure it gets there on time. Gifts and letters are delivered to the child when the projects receive them. For Christmas, the deadline for giving is October 31st of each year because we send the donations at that time so that the project staff have time to go and purchase gifts for all of the children. They have a Christmas party at the project for the children and they receive their gifts at that time. When you send a birthday gift, even if it is a little early or just a bit late, your child will still be encouraged that the gift is being given because it’s their birthday :). In many of our countries, birthdays are not celebrated in their culture and so the fact that you’re recognizing that their birthday is special and a day to be celebrated, means so very much to them!
We are just getting started, and I am finding letter writing hard and convicting. My child is in Uganda, in extreme poverty, living in a home with a dirt floor and mud walls and thatched roof. We haven’t received a letter from him yet. It is hard work to think of things to write about that we have in common, or that don’t ooze the privilege of our lives that we don’t even recognize. This month I spent some time telling him stories about our dog. But even that is so culturally different, I’m sure….
Sondra, I’m so sorry if your feeling discouraged. We certainly want to help you through this because a letter relationship with a child in our program is so rewarding and a blessing to both the sponsor and the child and we want you to experience this friendship! I know it can be hard to talk to someone that you’ve never met before and know little about. It definitely can be a challenge at first, but a challenge that’s worth it, I promise you :).
You’re absolutely right. Our circumstances here in the United States are very different from those of the children we assist and there are some pretty big cultural differences. But I think that differences can also strengthen relationships. These children love to hear about the lives of their sponsor’s! You can help each other understand differences in your cultures such as food,sports or your pets just like you have been doing already! But also be encouraged that although you both may be very different, you have so much in common! You both have dreams, aspirations, and it’s possible that your child may also have a pet, feel free to ask him :).
How would you encourage a friend going through a difficult time? What do you say to your best friend when she tells you the dreams that are in her heart? What are your hobbies and things that you hope for your own life or do day to day?
These are the types of things that you can share with your child. Your words don’t have to be eloquent or pages in length. Simple words like, “I love you” and “Work hard in school” and “I am praying for you because God has big plans for your future” might be just what your child needs to hear to keep moving forward and not give up. Please don’t get discouraged because my heart bubbles with excitement thinking about the difference you’re making in his life. You might also be interested in our letter writing ideas on Pinterest! There are some fun ideas on there outside of just letter writing that I think you might enjoy. I pray that God would give you the words to say as you encourage Dicken and speak hope and truth into his life! You’re amazing, remember that :). And know that God has put this boy in your life for a reason!
Sondra! Emily is correct, You can make a difference to your child In letter writing , culture will never be the hindrance for you not to be a blessing to your child, saying words “I love you, I care for you ,I’m praying for you” it will be an encouragement for your child. Just to let you know when a child received a letters they are really excited to reply to that and they feel love and important .Do not be discourage. I believe God will use you to your child, you will create a big impact to the life of your child. Be motivated by your Love to the Lord…
God bless your Heart
My husband and I just started to sponsor a child (Alice) in March. I would love to send her gifts but am unsure how to go about it. I just received a letter from the Pastor of her church and at the top is her name and an address. If I get a few small items for her and send them to that address would she be sure to get them? Also, is there a list of things to send or NOT send to the children? I would love to send her clothing as my husband works a job where he can get things. We have already purchased many items and sent them along with our church family when they go on Missions trips. Any help you can give me would be very much appreciated. Thank you!
Hi Julie! Welcome to Compassion! I just love your heart to bless your child in such tangible ways! Regrettably, we are not able to send letters or packages to the pastors of our church partners at this time. What you’re seeing on the letter is probably the name of the student center that your sponsored child attends and not a full address. We have a list of items that can and can’t be sent here. Also, I’d recommend checking out our Pinterest boards for some more fun ideas! I’m so sorry but we are only able to send paper items in the mail so we wouldn’t be able to send clothing. 🙁 However, if you or your church family is visiting your child’s country, you’re welcome to bring whatever you’d like!
Writing often is great, but my suggestion is to do just 2-3 times a month (instead of 5 or 6) to give the translators time to translate stuff, etc. The kids will have a lot of letters to reply to otherwise. Plus, although you have a lot of time and enthusiasm now to do that many letters, if all of a sudden you get in a writers slump the kids might think something is wrong if the flood of letters doesn’t come like you started off with. I’ve found doing two (one hand written and one online) to be good for me since I’ve taken on several correspondence kids so that takes lots of time too! My suggestion if you have a love of writing would be to take on some correspondence kids since they would love to hear from you and benefit from your letters too 🙂 Have fun.
This may seem an odd question, but it is possible to send too many letters to your sponsored child? My babies have left for college, my husband works, so I am home with many hours to fill. I enjoy writing, but noticed that I am sending letters to our three children every 5 days, give or take a day. I usually enclose a small gift as well. I want our “children” to feel loved, but do not want other sponsored children to feel badly that they may not receive as many letters. Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated. We’ve only been sponsoring since February, 2014.
I do what Susan suggests in her comment; I write to children who have a sponsor but have no one who writes to them. It is a great way to encourage a child without the added financial burden of monthly support if that’s not an option. Another idea is to include materials with your letters and ask your sponsored child to share them with the other children — stickers, coloring pages, mini-books, bookmarks, and so on.
Hi Lisa! I love your heart to write your sponsored children! There is no limit to the number of letters you can write to your children, and we are very careful to hand out letters discreetly to be sensitive to the other children. However, it’s important to keep in mind that since the letters may only be delivered to the centers once a month, if you write every five days or so, your children could receive four letters all at once. Also, the children will respond to each letter you send up to six letters a year or a letter every other month. There will likely be more in the letters than your children will be able to respond to. I normally recommend writing once a month or once every few months for this reason. Since you really love writing, and it sounds like this season of your life is really conducive to that, you might consider becoming a part of our Correspondent program. You would have the opportunity to write to children who have sponsors but their sponsors are unable to write and could take on however many children you feel you could write to. That way you could spread your love of writing letters and sending loving messages among more children. Just let me know if you’re interested in this program, and I’ll get you setup. 🙂
Susan, I would love to get involved! Can you send me the information?
Lisa, I just sent you an email with some more information about getting involved. I’m excited for you. 🙂
Can I send Christian paper dolls, and Christian stickers?
Hi Cheryl! Yes, you can send paper dolls and stickers! The children actually love receiving items like this. 🙂
I started sponsoring a 9 YO girl from Haiti , and this blog has inspired me to write to her more faithfully. I’m definitely going to send her some cloth in my next letter! I found some nice paper dolls to print and color. I think I’ll color some of them and laminate them, and send some she can color. These are the ones I’m using-http://paperthinpersonas.com/category/printable-paper-dolls/poppets/
Thanks for all the awesome ideas!
Cloth is not allowed to be sent…..only paper items. Stickers, coloring pages, and paper dolls are all fine, but not cloth. I just don’t want you to waste time or money on items that won’t be able to go through.
Have fun writing your child! Take family pictures and send those too since they love pictures.
You can send the items in any size package you want to Compassion, boxes, manila envelopes, guitar cases, or padded envelopes. Each item inside the package cannot be more than 8.5” x 11” folded. It doesn’t matter what size the item (map, folder, coloring page) opens up to, as long as folded it does not exceed the dimensions, including ¼” thick. When your package arrives at Compassion, the items are taken out and catalogued/inventoried. They are sent on to the Compassion project in other packaging.
Sometimes I put stickers, bandaids, bookmarks, photos, etc., in a Ziploc bag labeled with my child’s name, ID # and my name and ID#. As far as the scrapbook pages, glue, glue dots, scrapbook tape,…should be fine. You should not need to staple the photos to the scrapbook pages. I’ve also sent a few pages each of different pretty stationery in a folder.
The projects normally have some kind of coloring medium whether colored pencils, crayons, and/or paint. I’ve sent the “paint with water” pages to my sponsored children. All four of them have used crayons or colored pencils on the drawings on their letters, too.
If you send anything Compassion cannot send on, they usually contact you by mail, email, or phone. Once I tried to send an embroidered patch. They were unable to forward that to my child, so they called and asked if they could donate it by sending it along with a group going on a Compassion tour. It did not end up going to my sponsored child, but it went to a child in a Compassion project, and that was fine with me!
Thank you so much for answering my questions, the information was so helpful. I will definitely be using your suggestions. I’m planning on sending my first letter and items this week!
I just started sponsoring my child this week, and I’m so excited to start sending her letters! I have a couple questions, so I hope someone can help me out! (This is my second attempt to post something on here, so I apologize if it shows up twice!)
I’m making her scrapbooking pages of my family and I, and I was thinking of putting them into a cute folder to send. That way, she could put other scrapbooking pages, coloring pages, pictures, or anything she wants into the folder for ‘safekeeping’. However, I called Compassion today and they told me the folder is too large (it’s 9.5×11.75). Would it be ok to still send the folder if I cut it down to 8.5×11? It opens up to larger than 11 inches, is that a problem? Should I cut it apart and put it back together with yarn? Or is it something that I just shouldn’t send?
With the scrapbooking pages, should I staple the pictures to the page to ensure they stay on?
Also, do the kids have access to crayons? I found a coloring book with bible stories in it, and was wanting to send her the pages of one of the stories, but didn’t want to send it before I checked about the crayons!
Can we send everything in an envelope that is larger than 8.5×11 as long as the contents do not exceed these dimensions? Can it be a padded envelope?
Sorry for all the questions! I’m just so excited to get started! I’ve already got one scrapbook page done!
Thank you for any input/advice you have! Also, I have been reading a lot of comments on here, and there are tons of good ideas, so thanks in advance! 🙂
Hi, I’m fairly new at this, and had a question. Is it appropriate to ask my sponsored child the age and likes of her siblings, or is that something she would be uncomfortable or un-allowed to share? I was reading through some of the posts and someone said that much of the time only one child out of a family is sponsored. Is it ok to send extra color pages and stickers to include her sister?
Yes, of course you can ask about her siblings and what they all like to do for fun. Then you can tell them about your siblings as well (and anything else in your life). It gives you something to talk about and relate to them about. As far as sending extra coloring pages and stickers, that is definitely a great idea too. You can send extra and then just write in your letter “please feel free to share these with your siblings or friends too”. They probably do anyways. A few times I’ve sent things that might be below their level but I told them they could use it to play “school” with their younger sister or whatnot. I always tell them I love them and their family….since its a package deal for me 🙂 That way they all feel included and loved.
[quote comment=”50598″]Hi, I’m fairly new at this, and had a question. Is it appropriate to ask my sponsored child the age and likes of her siblings, or is that something she would be uncomfortable or un-allowed to share? I was reading through some of the posts and someone said that much of the time only one child out of a family is sponsored. Is it ok to send extra color pages and stickers to include her sister?[/quote]
Yes, ask your girl about her family and siblings! I often ask my younger girl about her little sister and brother. And often times my kiddos share about their siblings.
That is true – your child may be the only one sponsored in her family. You can call Compassion to double check if you like. And definitely feel free to send lots of extra stickers and such for her family and friends 🙂
I hope you’ll check out ourcompassion.org where a bunch of us sponsors share ideas and talk about our kiddos! 🙂
Hi can anyone tell me how to send stuff to my child? Do I just send it in an envelope to Compassion with the child name and id # on the back of each item? Or do I need to put it inside an envelope, inside the envelope that I send to compassion? Does that make sense?
Hi, You need to put your childs name and ID #, plus your name and Sponsor ID # on all letters, stickers, coloring pages, etc. I make up little address label stickers with this information on it so that I can quickly label the items I send. You mail all letters and coloring pages and such to the Compassion office in Colorado. If you only have one kid, put all the stuff together in an envelope and mail it to them. They will take it out of the envelope and group it together to send on. If you have more than one child, either staple it all together or paperclip them together in a group (that’s what I do, and then I put the stack of paper clipped bunches into a big manilla envelope to mail). I hope that helps!
I am confused on how to send stuff to my children. I have to send it to Compassion first, right? And do I need to have it inside an envelope inside the envelope addressed to compassion? Or do I just label to the child and send to compassion?
Here is an idea for sending a photo of yourself holding the most recent letter you received from your sponsored child… with a printable template to download! http://familiar-little-frog.blogspot.com/2013/07/letters-make-us-happy-too.html
I’m new to the program and i have been reading the different ideas of what i could sent my little girl. So basically it has to be flat and fit in an envelope? What i don’t get is why we can’t send actual toys and hygeine or coloring supplies etc ..but yet i help my church make shoebox’s at christmas time to send to children in other countries and that’s a big box. Are those boxes not sent to the same areas that compassion works in and thats why the reguations on what you can send are different? I know these are two different organizations but they are both going overseas….. I’m just curious to why the regualtions on here are so strict to what you can send.
Samantha, I had trouble with that, too, at first. I’ve come to understand it a little better. For one, Compassion pays (out of our sponsorship $) for shipping the letters to the centers based on the condition that they are “documents”, ie., ALL paper. Sending other items in our correspondence could jeopardize the shipping rates Compassion has to pay. Additionally, sending $ for items to be purchased in the child’s own country is more cost-effective, and contributes to the economy of that country. (I like to think of it as giving business to [possibly] another Compassion child’s parent!) Finally, I feel like there could be serious inequity issues between children in the centers if a few are receiving frequent Care Packages, and many are not. Just a thought.
I searched for “paper crafts” and “photo crafts” and found this website http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/craftsbytheme.html Good idea for little boys who like sports. All made out of paper to fit in an envelope.
All these wonderful comments remind me of how important it can be to include items. I came across Memory Cross cards that unfold in a unique way that will be so interesting to children. They even have some resources in Spanish and many Christian stickers to include. Their website address is:
I never thought of using these for our sponsor children until now. Thanks!
Foam? I thought foam was a no-no. In the past foam stickers have not been permitted
I go to our local dollar store and purchase foam airplanes that you put together. The pieces are flat and can be put into a single envelope. My two kids have written back to say thank you for the gliders. It’s a fun toy that is easy to send. To the girl I was able to send a bird glider and to the boy an airplane. I also send stickers, photos, homemade cards. I also purchased disney cue cards for math, reading and more. I send 8-16 cards at a time and eventually my kids have a complete set. The project manager actually contacted me and thanked me for sending the cue cards, noting that they will help my one sponsor child with his learning. Hope this ideas help.
Hi! I’m new too! We sponsored a 3 yr old. So he draws pictures. I write twice a month and give stickers of animals. One time I had a drawing of disciples catching fish. I cut a slit in the net, taped an open envelope to the back and put paper cut outs of colorful fish he can put them in the pocket himself. Just be creative and fun. Know receiving mail from you is so specia!
My family just sponsored a 4 year old child. I was wondering if sending a letter my email from this site,,,how long does it take to get to the child. Do they prefer letters by mail? Sorry I am new to all this!
Oh don’t be sorry! I had a bunch of questions when I started sponsoring too. In fact one of my favorite things is answering questions about Compassion.
Anyway, welcome to the Compassion family!! 🙂 I am so glad that you want to write to your child!! It will impact him/her much more than you can imagine. Yes, you can send a letter online. Compassion’s GMC in Colorado will print it off and mail it to your child (the process of how your letter gets to your child can be found here- https://blog.compassion.com/a-sponsors-letter-from-gayle-to-her-child/) You can send a letter from your online account. You can set up one really easy if you haven’t already.
I have not heard if a child prefers handwritten or printed letters. But I do know this, they LOVE letters! Everything you send to your child is such a blessing! (You can send anything that is paper 8.5x11x.25 inches)
It takes about 2-3 months for a letter to go each way. However, feel free to write before you get a letter back. Many sponsors write once a month, and some twice a month (like me). As long as you write consistently, you should receive six letters from your child each year. A family member, neighbor, tutor, or another adult will help your child fill out a form letter. Compassion has 18 different templates. Each one is themed (for example, family, my project, my dreams, etc) and has a space for a drawing and personal note.
And last but not least, I really recommend that you join OurCompassion.org It is a community of sponsors. We share letters from our kids, experiences from sponsor tours (a lot of people go on them), prayer requests, and everything Compassion 🙂 I joined two months ago and it has encouraged me and blessed me so much!
If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!!
Thanks! One more question…will we receive any type of noticification when our letter has been received?
My sponsored children always thank me for the letter and whatever I sent with it such as stickers, photos, etc. I’ve never had a problem with my letters not being received. Compassion is really on top of things, organized. I have been notified when a child is no longer in the program and they always invite you to write a last farewell letter. Have confidence, faith, and fun communicating, loving, and praying for your Compassion child!! <3
no. However children often thank you for the letters. My one girl (she’s 20) always answers my questions in detail, so I know she gets my letters. But most of my kids (ranging from 4-20) comment on my letters or thank me for them. Anyway, you can be sure that they will get your letters. One time the Fedex carrying the letters was robbed, and I was e-mail notified of this (this is once out of many many times as I have sent hundreds of letters).
Need ideas of things to send. Can we send a scrapbook for them to put their items in?
That is a great idea, Dawn! As long as the scrapbook is paper and is under 8 1/2″ x 11″ and a 1/4″ thick we can send it. 🙂
I would like to make a lapbook for my sponsored child. If I make it like it is shown with file folders how can it be sent. Won’t the lap book be larger than what would fit into a 8.5×11 envelope.
Hi Kelly, when you tape or glue the folders together in the configuration that you want, you may have to trim the outer edges a bit so the finished folded lapbook is 8 & 1/2 x 11. You also may want to crease the folders a bit differently to make it the correct size. That’s what I did. Before I started adding things to it, I trimmed it so that it would fit into a clear page protector. In fact, if you’d like you can buy page protectors that are large-capacity, that will hold a slightly thicker folder that is still the correct size.
Hi Kelly! A lapbook made out of a file folder should fold down to a flat 8 1/2″ x 11″. However, it unfolds to a larger size. There are several threads on http://www.ourcompassion.com that I would recommend looking at. Other sponsors have posted more photos to give you ideas of how to make lapbooks. Just search “lapbook” in the search engine on the website.
Hi! I just wanted to say thanks for all the letter-writing ideas. I am posting some ideas and some recent stuff I sent our sponsored kids at my blog here:
Happy letter writing!
Here is a blog post with a downloadable “cootie catcher” I made with Bible verses that you can print out, fold, and send to your sponsored child. Enjoy! http://familiar-little-frog.blogspot.com/2012/12/things-to-send-sponsored-children-bible.html
Hello, I was just wondering if it takes as long for a monetary donation to reach my child in Honduras as long as it takes for her to receive my letters? Does anybody know?
Hi Kathy — It’s been my experience that it takes about 2-3 months for a monetary donation to reach your child. If I’m trying to time a monetary gift for something like a birthday, my rule of thumb is to send it 3 months in advance.
Are we allowed to send cash to our sponsored child?
You can send them monetary contributions through compassion either by calling their offices or by logging in to your account online. You can give up to $100 for birthdays, $100 just because, and $1000 for a family gift. If the gift is more than $50, they will send you a picture of what they bought with it. Hope this helps!
Our child sponsor is in Indonesia. Do you know if he would have access to scissors and tape or glue? We were thinking we could send him some printed sheets of creatures that he can cut out, fold up, and tape together. Thanks for the feedback!
Every center has different supplies, so there is no guarantee that he would have those things at his disposal. Maybe you could send the creatures already put together?
Thanks! There are some really fun Asian ones with market places, etc. They are basically paper dollhouses. The instructions are in Chinese, but there are pictures of how to assemble them. Hopefully we can find a way to assemble them and then fold them flat without ruining them! http://paperm.jp/craft/dollhouse/index.html
We found a great nativity set too! http://marloesdevee.blogspot.com/2010/12/make-your-own-christmas-crib.html
Thanks soooo much!!! Bookmarked. Would be PERFECT to send to my almost ten year old girl in Indonesia (for her birthday maybe). any ways thanks so much 🙂
FREE shipping on everything until November 26, 2012 with Oriental Trading use this code- WCE3699 Hope this helps some of you!! 🙂
Is anybody collecting Christmas Cards for the children who don’t get letters again this year? If yes who do I contact?
So I know that I can’t send a story book to my child. He really loves lions, so I was thinking of writing a story for my child about lions. I wanted to use the lapbook format with manilla folders. Would it be okay to cut and glue the just the pictures from the book for illustrations? I might be a writer, but I’m certainly not an artist! I wasn’t for sure if this would violate any copyright laws, or be an okay project! I’d appreciated the input!
Of course you can use the pictures — sounds like a great idea! The copyright laws only apply if you are copying the pictures to re-publish or sell them, not if you are cutting them out to send to someone. You could also print pictures from the internet — just go to Google images and search for lion, or whatever you’d like pictures of. Another idea is to get a thin story book and have the binding cut off (like at OfficeMax or Staples) so the pages are loose, have a hole punched through the pages, and tie together with string.
You can send books, you just have to remove the cover so that it does not have resale value for customs purposes. Feel free to send kid books, just removing the cover….otherwise it would be a fun idea to make your own book too if you have the time.
I want to sent a few items to my child but i read that you have to send it in an 8 1/2 x 11 envelop. I can only find ones bigger than this. Is this the size I have to send it or once it makes it to Colorado will they transfer it into a correct sizing.
Also I bought a thin book that I wanted to include but then realized it was in English. Will this get translated or is it better to send items without words or very few words to my child.
Hi Julie! We’ll place everything in the correct size envelope when it gets to Colorado. The book won’t be translated. If you can find items in your child’s language that’s great but I know that’s not always possible. Depending on your child’s age something with less words or all pictures may be better. But if they are older here’s an idea — perhaps you could use Google translate to help you translate a few key words in the book you bought and then write the words in your child’s language next to the word in English. Depending on the age of your child, that could be a great learning tool.
One of the ideas for a gift to send was Paper Dolls. I LOVE that idea, but have no idea where to find them! Does anyone know how to go about finding them?? I KNOW they have to be out there somewhere! Thought they would make a nice birthday present for a 7 yr old. Waiting to hear:-) Thanks!
OK! Dollar General, where the coloring books are, have books of paper dolls. There are several “styles”, all for $2, and each book comes with 80 something pieces. Its 2-3 dolls, outfits, accessories, and more. It takes a little bit to punch it all out in order to put it in a baggie, but it’s well worth it.
I also have seen and sent 2 sets at Michaels in the $1 section. One is a cinderella set and the other is tinker bell. Tinker Bell’s outfit was a little skimpier than cinderalla’s so I went that route just in case the other was a little too risque. I did take them out of the little package and put them in a thin plastic bag as well just in case the cardboard backing wouldn’t go through.
Hope that helps you out!
I looked on E Bay, also Amazon and found some real nice ones. I watched that the doll was clothed well as not to upset others.
I agree with Sandra, words of encouragement are the most important. I still send stickers to the 13 yr old boy I write. I also send things like mazes, hidden picture puzzles (you cand find free ones on highlights for teachers, I like them because they show a picture of the hidden items, not just the name), and simple “how to draw” pictures. There is a Slylock Fox section in our Sunday newspaper comics that has a “how to draw” section and a spot the diffreces between the panels. I cut those out and tape a few to index cards. I also send baseballcards (his favorit sport). I really enjoy taking pictures soI like to send pictures of the changing seasons too. I hope this helps a little.
Hi, Can someone tell me what to send to a 12 year old boy. I have been sponsoring him for two years now and I am running out of ideas. Thank you.
I don’t know what you have already sent — but here are some things I send to our 11-yr-old: thin notebook-sized atlas or laminated maps; large world map folded to 8×11; sports posters folded to 8×11; sports pictures; animal and nature color pictures from calendars and books; nature coloring pages and mazes; geography activity sheets (free online); time zone maps; pictures of scenery from our state and country; pictures of the four seasons here; pictures of popular foods people eat here and how they are made; Bible story pictures with verses; cards from educational boxed sets (dollar section at Target, send a few cards at a time); stickers of cars, trucks, animals, sea life, flags of the world; pages from kids’ educational books, a few at a time; how-to-draw pages with extra blank sheets; bookmarks; coloring pictures — one that you have colored and one for him to color; and so on. Sometimes I sent extras and tell him to share with a friend. I keep a couple of folders full of items to send over the next year or so.
I think words of encouragement are the most important thing to send. I know it doesn’t seem as tangible as the stickers and coloring pages, but kids that age are being hit by lots of messages in their communities that they will never amount to anything, and encouraging them to stay in school and study, to dream (ask them what they want to do for a vocation and then tell them, “I believe you can do it.”), to love Jesus, and to help others is going to do more for them than gifts.
Does anyone know if the 1/4″ maximum thickness is for the full manilla padded envelope, or is it for each of the items in the envelope. Thank you:)
Thought I’d share some websites with free printables: Highlights has hidden picture puzzles. They add new ones all the time.
The national wildlife federation has some really cure animal coloring pages
Disney Junior has a ton of free stuff, to include printable coloring pages, printable cards you can customize, mazes, and calendars.
Hi I was wondering can I write to my sponsored child with my own stationary or just online?
thanks I’m vary evcited to write to her
You can write with your own stationary or online. 🙂
Free oriental trading shipping until Tuesday, October 16, 2012. Use promo code WCE3642 Lots of cheap stickers that are great for Christmas packages. Hope you can use it 🙂
Can I send items that have a ribbon tied to them? (like a bookmark or paper tied together)
I am confused about the baggies. I thought only paper is allowed. So, if I put items in a baggie, will they be taken out?
If baggies are allowed, I was thinking of decorating one and putting the all of the items for each child in a bag.
As far as the items themselves go, they can only be paper. They can, however, be collected in baggies! I use baggies (with flat zippers that you press together) and plastic sheet protectors that have been decorated with stickers to send my kiddos their items. They do get forwarded it on and I have had this verified. 🙂
I cut out the picture that is on the box of what the puzzle looks like completed. Also if it comes assembled, take a picture of it with your camera/phone and print out the picture, or scan it to your computer and print it out.
Yeah these are not boxed… I will try making a color copy of them tho.
Google Translate is an awesome resource, but take care to translate short messages and not a whole letter, etc. It is not entirely accurate! Also, you cannot choose between European Spanish and Central American Spanish, nor does it take into account the different dialects of Spanish especially in Central America.
For postcards, you can find them at convenience stores especially truck stops, museum stores, airport stores, drugstores, and stationery/card stores. Tourist spots always have postcards… Have Fun!
http://www.freetranslation.com is pretty good, according to our EL teacher. She makes less corrections to correspondence for us when we use this site. It also has different dialects for some languages, which really helps us at school.
Thanks Melissa… I translated some very short bible verses for my lttle guy.
Do we send puzzles UNassembled in a baggie? How does a hild know what the picture if of if they are unassembled? I tought I read something about that on here but I just can’t seem to find the information now. Thanks!
“Assembled puzzles in zip lock bags, sealed with tape or glue to remain assembled in the mail (see above size restrictions)”
I just found the greatest website. Translate.Google.com. You type in the words in English and as you type, it translates your words to the language you choose. I just made up about 10 index cards with things like, ‘Listen To Your Teachers’… ‘Always be kind to Other’…. etc. etc… all written in hand in Spanish for my child.
Liz: this is so awsome! I try to add new items in my mail and I an sure she will be as pleased as I am to have this. I am sure I will use this often. Thank you: Vivian
It’s great to be able to send stuff to the children in their own language, especially as I believe only the letters are translated, not anything written on “extras”. I have heard many people saying to be careful with Google translate though, as sometimes although the exact words are translated, the meaning might be changed. Your best bet might be to do your best with Google translate then post the sentences you plan to send on Our Compassion – there are several Spanish speakers on there who are kind enough to check translations before sending. For scripture verses, I believe the website Bible Gateway has an online Spanish Bible – you can cut and paste from there.
I know I read something somewhere about sending puzzles. Should they be UNassembled puzzles, in other words take the pieces out of the frame and put them into a baggie…. how will the child be able to tell what the puzzle should look like when its done?
I understand that books can’t be sent, and pages from coloring books are ok, but I bought a book to help learn to print letters for K-1, removed the staples and pulled out a few pages at a time…is it still considered a book and won’t be sent or will it be okay since it’s loose pages only?
You are ok to sent that Michele as long as it isn’t more than 1/4 in thick.
Can I send a calendar? would i have to remove the staples?
You do not have to remove the staples. Just make sure it is 8.5″ x 11″ or less, and less than 1/4″ thick. If it comes with a cardboard insert, remove that. I just found some cute 2013 calendars in the dollar spot at Target…puppies, kittens, wild animals, scenic, etc.
LizzieH: In addition to tourist spots, you can find postcards in places like CVS Pharmacy and other similar stores, many book stores or stationery stores sell postcards. I am buying postcards all the time and once you know where to look, it shouldn’t be difficult.
There used to be hundreds of postcards available and it seems like they are a dying art… I will check CVS and Walgreens. MY local book stores have none. Thanks Bev.
Usually, at the front of Wal-mart, all the way in front of the cash registers and not too far from the front bathrooms/customer service, there’s a little pinwheel type thing full of postcards. I found this to be true in both Texas and Arkansas. They’re just “state” related but those can be really neat for the kids to be able to visualize your state! 🙂
Yes, and exactly what I am looking for! Thanks… I will check my local Walmart.
Yep, just as I suspected… they have none at Walmarts here in Michigan. I will have to just keep loooking and will sedn some for his b’day in February.
in Michigan I’ve found them at the family-owned drugstore, and at museums.
you can also make your own- take a picture of something scenic in your town and have it printed as a 4×6 or 5×7 picture
Well I just set up a new user on ourcompassion; however, now that I am on there I have no idea how to find other people in my area and that’s what I wanted to be on there for, predominantly.
Liz, you can just do a search (top right hand corner) for your city/location and it will return a list of people who match your query.
Justine, I typed in my city/zip and it come up with ‘No results found’. I even just started typing my city and it immediately went to ‘no results found’.
Oh yes I joined a while back but still can’t get on. Thats why I sent for a password this morning; however, that didn’t help because I still cannot get on. And I called 800-336-7676 and spoke to two different people. No one had any clue as to how to fix it. I would love to be ab advocate! How do I go about doing that?! First I have to be able to get onto Our Compassion, I am sure.
Hey Lizzie! I’m sorry you aren’t able to login to OurCompassion. It would probably be best for you to email us at [email protected]. I’m sorry you weren’t able to get help over the phone. 🙂
Thanks Jacquie! At least I know now it’s not my computer acting up. For a minute I was going to take it in for repairs.. LOL I am having a problem however with Ourcompassion.org. I can’t seem to log in there and I would like to because I understand there are over 300 sponsors in my zip code alone and I would love to hook up with some of them and put our heads together regarding projects and ideas. Is OurCompassion the only way to see if anyone is interested or is there some other way? I understand, of course, no one can give out addresses to other sponsors but i think it would be fun to meet for show-and-tell ideas!
No, not your computer. 🙂 Have you joined OurCompassion yet? You have to join before you can log on. You can click here to join. If you’ve already joined and still having problems logging on, give us a call: (800) 336-7676!
OurCompassion is set up for sponsors to connect through the online community. If you became an advocate, there are occasions advocates meet in person to help out with events, etc.
I wrote a question on oct 6th. It is still awaiting moderation….??? So I called Compassion and they had no idea what’s up with that. I then tried signing in to OurCompassion.org and had to reset my password, which they sent me a new one of, and that didn’t work either. Who do I call about this? And maybe this won’t go through either. I am getting frustrated.
Lizzie, there are several reasons why comments don’t get moderated right away. Sometimes comments get caught up in spam or sometimes the weekend will cause a delay in moderation, things like that. We appreciate your patience with us.
I have a question. I have already sent my family Christmas gifts via online site. However, today I want to send a Christmas card to my sponsored child along with some sports cards. I have about 25 cards to send. Can anyone tell me the best way to do this? Should I label each one and staple them to the card… should I label each one and put them into a baggie… HOW shall I send these cards. I also have a paper party garland banner (soccer related). Should I just label that with our names and stick it into the 8-l/2 by 11 envelope when i am ready?? I wish we had some sort of group meeting about every 3 months in my area where we could work on projects and put our heads together. That would be so cool… but I don’t know who the other sponsors are in my area.
The sports cards would do excellent in a baggie! I find it necessary to individually label each item just to keep everything “coded” in case something gets lost in the mix.
Just a tip: If I don’t want to write directly on the item because it might ruin it, I use those white mailing labels that you can get at Wal-Mart. I usually buy one big pack and put my name, my sponsor number, my child’s name, and their number on the labels. I sponsor 3 kiddos so I just divide the sheets up & go to printing. It makes for some quick attaching when you send packages and letters on a regular basis. You can slap them on baggies, envelopes, items, or whatever your heart desires.
I recently fell in love with plastic sleeve protectors as well. I verified that they do indeed go through so you can slip all of your loose items into one of those. here is the link to the ones I purchased:
I hope that helps you! 🙂
Crystal, I am so sorry I didnt answer this in a timely manner but better late than never! I did put the cards into a baggie so hopefully he gets those and yes, I love sheet protectors also and I am going to go and buy some soon before I forget about them. Thanks for your help.
Great suggestion! That expires tonight — eek! I’d better get to ordering. 🙂
I absolutely love Oriental Trading’s make a sticker scenes. They have so many great ones and they are the best for mailing to sponsored kids. Here’s a link:
Oriental Trading has FREE SHIPPING through 9/20 and has so many paper Christmas items on sale right now! Thought some sponsors looking to get their Christmas packages together would benefit. The promo code is: wce3583. Hope this helps!
Thanks soooo much! Bought some Christmas stickers! 🙂
Ok – this is my first attempt at a package. I’ve read the tips and the blog and still have a couple of questions.
Does the 1/4″ thick rule apply to the individual item or everything I send in my manilla envelope?
Can I send a greeting card with embellishments like a jewel?
I bought a folded up world map poster to show my child where we both live. UNFOLDED it is larger than the requirements. Folded it meets the size requirements easily. Will this go through?
I also found small, flexible pocket notebooks that are glued together (not spiral bound) and are less than 1/4″. Will these go through?
THANKS for your feedback. We are trying to put together fun things for our first package which will also reach her around Christmas.
The 1/4 rule applies to the individual item itself. I send multiple items in every package I send.
The poster is absolutely going to go through. I send giant coloring pages folded up just like that.
And I’m not sure about the notebooks, but typically anything like that isn’t your best idea. Anything that has any kind of an actual cover on it will usually end up with the cover being removed. I found tiny, miniature coloring books that I took the covers off of, hole punches, and tied together with a little piece of string & that was fine. Maybe an actual Compassion rep will get back to you on that one though!
And most greeting cards go through-even the ones that sing. I hope that helps!
Thanks, Crystal! I really appreciate your reply! I’m just excited to get something in the mail 🙂
Are there mailing deadlines to mail packages, to ensure delivery for Christmas?
Hi Renee! It can take 2-3 months for your child to receive something from you so I’d like to say by 9/30 just to be safe but you could send something as late as 10/25. Please make sure that whatever you send, you follow these guidelines: https://www.compassion.com/letter-writing/tips-for-mailing-small-gifts.htm. If you send items we can’t ship, that slows the process down. If you find something you want to send and aren’t sure about it, you can always give us a call to make sure. (800.336.7676)
Can you mail gumto the children?
And hard candy?
No, sorry Renee you can’t. I really appreciate you asking! Here’s a great resource to give you an idea of what you can send: https://www.compassion.com/letter-writing/tips-for-mailing-small-gifts.htm
I hope that helps! 🙂
I just called Compassion and I am still confused. I am going to send a packet for my child for Christmas – sports cards, stickers, bible verses. etc… and a Christmas card for the family, if I can find any of those out there yet! I also want to send a monetary family gift and I assume I do NOT simply enclose a check in my packet, right?? I therefore assume I need to call and use my credit card over the phone to make my monetary gift(s)..???
If you want to include a check for a family gift along with your packet, just make sure it is not tucked away with all of the other items you are sending. It’ll also be helpful if you attach a note to the check stating it is for a family gift. I personally like to keep any monetary gifts separate so I’ll pay online under my account. You can always call and use your credit card over the phone as well.
Make sure the check is made out to Compassion!
I want to send my Christmas/Family gift to my child now – is there a way to do that on the site through Paypal or something?? I know I need to do it very soon so as to get it there by Christmas! Thank you!!
To send a donation to the Christmas gift program, here is the link:
This money gets pooled and EVERY Compassion kids gets a Christmas gift.
If you want to send a family or child gift to your individual child, go into your online account and select “family gift” or “child gift.” Or you can call Compassion (800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT. and they will help you with that. Those can be sent any time of the year, but Christmas is a lovely time to do it. 🙂
I sponsor 1 child right now and was wondering if it is possible to write to more than one, even though I can not sponsor them?
Yes, that is absolutely possible Renee. And we’d love to have you! Give us a call tomorrow (800.336.7676) and let the rep know that you’d like to become a correspondent sponsor.
Thank you I will!
This may have been addressed before and so if this question is redundant then I apologize.
I got a Compassion birthday card from my local Christian bookstore and wrote to my little guy in Tanzania. I left plenty of space for translation (at least in my opinion) but I wasn’t sure about the etiquette regarding sending greeting cards. The card had a Bible verse printed in it, and I was just wondering if all that gets translated as well?
Hi Eric — From what I’ve heard, the words on a greeting card do get translated. I think the translators would be extra-sure to translate those Bible verses.
BUT….something I’ve done, just to be extra sure, is to take a piece of paper and write — “Here is what my birthday card to you says….” and then I write whatever the text is in the card.
I write it on the left hand side of the paper, leave room on the right for translation, and make sure my child’s number and my sponsor number are on the paper. I pop that in the envelope along with the card, to ensure that the message gets translated and gets to my child.
And while I’m thinking of it….if you send musical greeting cards, it’s a good idea to write the text of the song on a piece of paper, pop it in with the card and have that translated. The first time I sent a musical Christmas card to my child he immediately wrote back and asked what the song said. 🙂 Now musical greeting cards WON’T get translated unless you write out the lyrics yourself. 🙂
Thanks for the quick reply. I’ll take them out of the plastic wrapping and put them a baggie with their info on them individually from here on out. Now that I know this, I’m hoping that they’ve received everything I’ve sent without any issue. (I absolutely always send stickers with my letters.)
I was wondering if my sponsor child actually gets to see my hand writing or if the letter has to be translated onto different paper? Thanks!
Your child receives your original letter with translation on the same page. If you’re using your own stationery, be sure to leave room for translation!
I’ve actually asked this before on this forum and then later I think I emailed Compassion directly, but wanted to verify that I understood correctly. Will the plastic sleeve that comes around stickers when you purchase them to hold the sheets together actually stay in tact or does it get taken apart once it gets to Compassion? I know the Compassion representative said we were welcome to send them that way and that it was no problem so I’ve been just attaching a mailing label with the child’s information to the outside of the sticker packet. However, if it gets taken apart at Compassion for any reason, the sticker sheets do not have their information on them individually. So, I wanted to go ahead and ask again to be absolutely sure that the way I’m doing it is okay and that the sticker sheets aren’t getting separated in the process. Thanks!
Hey there! We will not send the plastic sleeve on to your sponsored child. It would be a good idea to include your child’s information on the actual stickers instead of the plastic sleeve.
I don’t understand how one could take the stickers out of the pkg and either write or put a label on each individual sticker. The stickers are stuck to a backing – does that also need to be removed?? Or will the stickers along with the backing go through?
The stickers and the backing go through. Compassion just removes additional packaging.
If you have a sheet of stickers, put a label on the back. If you’re sending a handful of individual stickers, put them in an envelope, put your child’s name and number and your name and sponsor number on the front of the envelope. The envelope with the stickers will get attached to your letter and it will all go through together.
When I send stickers, I remove the stickers from the plastic packaging, throw out any extra cardboard in the package, write the child’s name and number on the back of the sticker sheet, and staple it to the child’s letter, which also has their name and number. Some sticker packages have 2-4 sheets, so I send one sheet at a time.
Gotcha…. and the envelope with the stickers can be sealed? I have a lot of sports cards I want to send; is the best way just to put them all into one envelope, seal that, then put that into the larger envelope with my letter?
Don’t seal the envelope because Compassion needs to look in the envelope and approve the contents before it is shipped overseas. That’s part of the process that happens in Colorado. If you’re concerned about something falling out of the envelope, you could put a greeting card in the envelope and tuck the stickers inside. (Just as an extra layer of protection for the contents.)
I’ve always sent sport cards in an envelope. Same process. I take the cards out of the packaging, tuck a few sports cards in a greeting card, put the greeting card in an unsealed envelope, and put sponsor name/number and child name/number on the front of the envelope.
Compassion does work hard to ensure that everything makes it to your child successfully. And, in Colorado, they’ll assemble things in a way that you don’t really have to worry. But I do like to make sure things are packaged as best as they can be when I ship things off. If for no other reason than it saves time for the folks in Colorado. 🙂
The key to remember is, when your item goes through customs, will customs view it as a “paper document” — which is the category our items need to fit into — or is it something else, which will cause a problem. All of that extra packaging is removed to better enable items to fit into the “paper document” category AND to remove any resale value on the item, because something with resale value is more likely to be stolen.
Lisa, I just made some similar books, sketch books actually, but with blank pages for them to draw their own pictures. I made one for my sponsored child and one for each of his 4 siblings. I painted names and such on the front and was wanting to put contact paper on the front to protect it. I believe I had 2 different answers regarding the use on contact paper and don’t want to use if there is any doubt they will not go through. I would also like to use the contact paper on my lapbooks and such. Here are photos of a my sketchbooks and one lapbook.
Kim, those are amazing! Love them. 🙂 The contact paper is a great idea. As Michelle said, laminated items and items covered with contact paper will go through.
I have sent many items through with contact paper …. and have received replies back from the children saying the items made it! Also, you get a phone call from Compassion if something WON’T make it….. So I am completely comfortable saying that items covered in contact paper WILL make it through! 🙂 Items that are laminated will make it through as well.
Your sketch books and lapbook are great! The kids will love them, and I think protecting them with contact paper would be a great idea!
been thinking of sending one of my older girls a packet of loose leaf paper so she has it for school or whatever can I do this? Also was wondering if I can buy and send each a Bible in Spanish so that they may learn about Our Lord?
Hi Chris — You can certainly send looseleaf paper. What a great idea! To add onto that, you could also buy a folder, (the simple paper kind without the metal clasps in the middle), and put a sheaf of paper in that, so she’s got the folder and the paper both. Just make sure the entire folder/paper doesn’t exceed the 1/4-inch thickness rule.
A Bible can’t be sent through the mailing system. One idea is to give a birthday or child gift and request that the child center purchase her a Bible in her language, if she doesn’t already have one. That would make a lovely gift for the family. 🙂
You can also write out individual verses on index cards or cardstock. Put a little sticker on the card or draw a picture in the corner and that makes a nice gift.
I was under the impression that each sponsored child received a bible in their own language….but that was a long time ago. i’ve been sponsoring for more than 20 years so maybe they don’t do that anymore. I’d be curious to know.
Thank you for answering this for me and the great ideas!!!
Lisa, do you know if a full-size folder will officially go through without cutting it? I bought a couple on the 15 cents sale and have gone back and forth about attempting to send them.
I used to cut mine down and decorate them up a bit by taping a cute pic on the front. But I found out via the blog that full-size folders will go through. I’ve since sent a few and they did go through.
What about making a small scrapbook with a pic of each fam member,maybe their age and something about them?I did this
once,Its really fun and you can decorate it with stickers, pretty paper and such.:)
Things I’ve sent just to spawn ideas:
-I buy Valentine’s Day cards on clearance and send the fun hologram ones, for instance, that I’ve found in sports to my little boy & the cute puppies/kitties to the girls.
-$1 Disney paper dolls at Michaels (I chose Cinderella because Tinker Bell wasn’t quite as dressed!)
-Roll out coloring pages (I just got 2 books for 40 cents at Michaels and will unroll them off the rolls and fold them. It still makes a long banner of cute Hello Kitty coloring pages.)
-Greeting cards that also act as fun masks (Also at Michaels for 20 cents a piece)
-Tear out paint pages that they can wet the end of something like a q-tip if available and paint the pictures. These are available at Dollar General and at the party section at Walmart. I just take the cover off and punch holes.
-Scrapbook: I laminated 4×6 photos and then punched two holes in the side of each and secured together with string. I also decorated a cover page made out of construction paper with the children’s information on it and laminated it as well.
-As someone has already mentioned, fuzzy coloring pages!
-I made cute frames out of paper, decorated them, secured a picture inside, and laminated them.
-Shiny pink stars and put their names on them with stickers (For girls)
-Sticker scenes (They often have these at Dollar Tree with the removable stickers that stick to various places on the page.)
-I’ve saved pictures of Disney characters from the internet and printed them out as 4×6 photos. Walgreens frequently does 40% off of prints when you join the mailing list.
-8×10 photo collages made by inserting photos into a Word document and laminating the page. (I’ve done the zoo, 4th of July fireworks, etc.)
-Postcards with your state on them
-I copied their pics (took a iPhone pic of a pic) and made cute frames/designs around them in Picnik to print (Sure something like that is still available) since they don’t usually have pictures of themselves.
-Obviously stickers are fun but the scented stickers are always neat. I’ve found tons of those at the $1 section in Target as well as hologram stickers.
-Dollar Tree has had some giant coloring pages that you can fold in half twice and meet the size requirements. The paper is a little thin in quality, but it’s not too bad.
Thank you for the great ideas:) I wish that I had checked out this site before my last student outgrew my sponsorship! I have a new one little guy in Ethiopia and my girl in Bolivia. I can’t wait to do some of these projects:)
Awesome ideas, thanks for sharing!
I’m trying to think of some creative gift ideas to send to my sponsored child. I just started to sponsor her, so I really would like to send a neat gift with my first letter to make it really special. Got any ideas? Thanks!
There are LOTS of fun ideas on the forum board at http://www.ourcompassion.com/. If you want to make a lapbook or fun introduction card there are plenty of pictures and examples to look at for inspiration.
I think a nice gift is a themed lapbook. If you are not familiar with these, you can find plenty of illustrations online and demonstrations at youtube. It’s basically one or more manilla file folders taped or pasted together so they fold into one approx 8 x 11 rectangle (trim edges as needed). Inside you tape or paste pictures, envelopes filled with stickers or bookmarks, a pocket with coloring pages, and so on, all on one theme. You can make it more fancy by covering surfaces with patterned scrapbook paper.
My husband and son just got back from a trip to see our sponsored child. They took many pictures while visiting and we wanted to send copies of these pictures to our child. Would it be a good idea to make a small photo album and send it to him or send the pictures loose?
Mel, I would think that you should definitly tell your two children that your husband has died, and is now with Jesus. YOu should send his memorial page to them so that they can grieve with you. YOu may want to remind them of some things about his life, and how he felt about them.
My husband and I sponsor two children. Unfortunately, he passed away this year. Am I allowed to mention that to the kids? Am I allowed to include his memorial page to them?
I am so sorry for your loss! I’m sure the kids would like to know about it so they can be praying for you.
For birthday gifts, someone from the project will take them shopping and help them pick out what they want. For family gifts, the project worker with sit down with the family and discuss their needs and how best to utilize it.
forgot to ask about gifts too,do the kids pick them out or does someone else buy them or how does it work?Thanks in advance!!:)
Does anyone know how long it takes for letters to get back and forth from Bangladesh?I just got my sponsor packet for my 12 yr old girl there and am really excited!:D Also could you tell me more about what the school program is like,when does the school year start,when do they graduate?…
There’s a wealth of wikipedia information on the Bangladesh school system, but I couldn’t find when the year starts and stops:
I have been trying to make a lapbook for my girls one in Mexico the other in El Salvador and want to put the words in Spanish and have been having a hard time doing this. I have ideas of the 10 Commandments; the Lord’s Prayer; educational items as well. Can anyone give me ideas on how to start this? I feel like I am letting my girls down cuz things are taking me to long.
Chris, I think you could look for a Spanish-speaking Christian, perhaps in your church or in a Hispanic church in your area. Maybe even a school teacher who teaches Spanish, who would help you for free knowing it’s for charitable purposes. I am sure you could find someone willing to help with translation.
Please, never feel you are letting your girls down. They love any letter. I just got back from Ecuador and was saddened because the project director said many sponsors never write. So while you are working on the book, just log on to Compassion and send a quick online letter that says I love you, I’m proud of you, I’m happy you are attending the project and I know you are studying and paying attention to your teachers, and I’m praying for you. For your book, I would suggest going to Bible Gateway.com and put in the book and chapter you want to use. After it brings it up in English, use the version dropdown menu to change the version to the Spanish version called Nueva Traduccion Viviente. Then you can just copy paste the translation into the lapbook.
thank you so much for this information I am going to give it a try!
Chris- have you heard of OurCompassion? Its a forum for sponsors and those interested in sponsoring. There are excellent ideas and examples of lapbooks that other sponsors have sent, there. Plus info on the child projects.
I would encourage any new sponsors to join as its a wealth of ideas and support. There may even be someone who can help with the Spanish translation for you. 🙂
Is there a weight/size limit on the letters you can send? We wanted to include small handmade paper books maybe, stickers, pictures, etc…Thanks!
I’m not aware of a weight limit. But the size limit is 8 1/2″ x 11″ and 1/4th-inch thick.
I was wondering when the school year starts for the children in Honduras. Does anyone know?
On the Compassion site it says “The typical school year runs from February through November.”
I found this on Wikipedia:
The school year in Honduras runs from early August to late May for a total of ten months and is split into three terms.
Term 1 starts in early August and ends in mid-December.
Term 2 starts in early January and ends in early March.
Term 3 Starts in mid-March and ends in late May.
All of the terms are separated by breaks. There is a 2-3 week long break for Christmas and New Year’s in between the first and second term, and there is a one-week long spring break in between the second and third term. The summer vacation typically lasts two months before the next school year starts in August.
Hello I was wondering if anyone could tell me how I can help my two girls with school supplies for this year!
Send a family gift or birthday gift and in the comments box, ask that it be used for school supplies.
thank you for your help
How often is mail delivered to the kids? I know it takes several months sometimes for kids to recieve the letters, but do centers get mail once a week, once a month, etc? I try to write about twice a month, sometimes once a week, an I was wonderng if they recieved multiple letters on mail day.
It depends on how close the center is to the country office. It is typically picked up sometime between once a month to once a week.
If I send “FOR A FRIEND” cards (like 2 or 3) that are short, just saying God loves you, study in school, and a Bible verse
WILL COMPASSION TRANSLATE EACH OF THOSE???
if they don’t I am not sure how they children my sponsor child gives them to will be able to read the card?
I have heard of people sending these in the past but was wondering about how or IF those small cards get translated.
Hey Loren! We will translate letters to your sponsored child. I don’t believe that “for a friend” cards would be translated. Maybe you could send postcards instead that your child could give to their friends. That way, no translation is required.
Do they celebrate Christmas in India. Wondering, so if I send an ornament, she will know what it’s for.
Hi gottabigheart! Indians do celebrate Christmas but they may not celebrate it exactly how we do here in the US. I would recommend sending a short note explaining some of your Christmas traditions. Your sponsored child will love hearing about how you celebrate Christmas and might even share a little about how they celebrate Christmas. Just make sure the ornament is made of paper. 🙂 -Susan
I would love to send postcards. Does anyone know where to buy postcards these days? I can’t find them anywhere.
Our Walmart has postcards at the check out closest to customer service, along with those little trinkets from our state, that tourist buy, like magnets, etc. : )
Hi Lizzie I saw a great idea regarding post cards today that I want to share with you. It is this: Take any greeting card you receive in the mail and cut it apart and draw a line down the printed side to have an instant postcard. I thought this was a great idea because I am all the time receiving thinking of you cards ect.. in the mail but I never had thought of recycling them this way! May God richly bless you for everything you do for your sponsored child.
Hi Lizzie, Thank you so much for the great idea concerning gift cards to post cards. I always save the most gorgeous Christimas, Easter, etc. cards and tape them to doorways and overheads in the house to use as decoration. They are so colorful. I never thought of using them this way. You made my day….Glenn
I have bought postcards from the post office (you might have to ask for them) when I had a sick aunt to whom I wanted to write. That would be a pack of about 10 or 20 identical cards that might have crayons or some impersonal picture on the front. But… any airport or public tourist spot usually has them in racks in the gift shop to market their venue. Any kind of museums or a place that charges admission. Ask if you can shop in the gift shop without paying to get into museum.
Drug stores and gas stations will sometimes also have postcards as well.
Hi Loren. The Bible can be found in most languages online – I have no hope of ever learning my sponsor children’s languages (Karen and Ewe) but think I might copy and paste verses in their language unto cards, lapbooks, etc. Just a thought that might work for you too.
Does anyone have any ideas on what a 12 yr old girl would like?
I sponsor a 12 year old girl in Colombia and send all sorts of things!
It is important to keep in mind that just because they are older does not mean they do not like “cutesie” things such a stickers and coloring pages. (My 19 year old boy in india still loves and comments when I send him more adult looking coloring pages:)
Here is a list of 10 things I have sent my 12 year old girl:
1. Fuzzy posters are a big hit with my kids! they come in all sorts of sizes and are sold at any major store
2. Stain glass type coloring pages
3. handmade bookmarks with her picture on the front (made from card stock)
4. Photos! singles or small albums (I have handmade some with each of my family members on a page OR a small paper back one from Shutterfly.com looks beautiful as well)
5. small collapsable boxes from party city with each siblings name on them
6. paper doll house like this one at http://www.amazon.com/Tea-House-Dollhouse-Kit/dp/B007E2YE68/ref=pd_sim_sbs_t_1
7. 4 or 5 silly banz taped flat to a note card to go thru sorting
8. Printable russian dolls: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/russian_dolls.htm
9. Printable Paper Jewelry: http://www.scissorcraft.com/rings.htm
10. Just writing and letting her know she is special and important is the best thing you can give her! Let her know how much she is loved and ask questions BUT also tell her about YOU. She is just as curious about what you like to do as you are about her 🙂
Thanks for the ideas,Loren!I really like the fuzzy posters,hadn’t thought of those before!
Great ideas. But just so you know, those dollhouse kits on Amazon are WAY overpriced! They can be found at The Dollar Tree for (yep, you guessed it) $1.
You can purchase postcards from the post office, and maybe online? You would probably have to visit all the states, or know people there to do that.
Thanks for the suggestions. Where do you find postcards these days? I would love to find some of all the states and make a little booklet out of them.
I have another question. I have been printing and sending coloring book pages galore and I have a feeling he may be inundated with them! Can anyone give us some ideas of what else to send. I saw some cute puzzles today but they are made of cardboard; not sure if I can send those. Is there a compiled list somewhere of ideas??
Photos, stickers, postcards, bookmarks, verse cards, and dot to dots are all good items to send.
Hope this helps!
I’ve sent stickers, homemade photo books, bookmarks, hologram cards, paper dolls (although most of those are for girls), photo print outs of cartoon characters, postcards, paper sacks (both valentine’s and the lunch sacks with Cars/Disney characters on them), collages, and several other things that aren’t coming to mind right now. Ha! You can laminate flowers, regular photos, and an assortment of other flat items. I love that it makes whatever you’re sending so durable.
Hello, I just began sponsoring a child in Africa and I am very new to this program. I was wondering where I should send my letter to when I am done writing it? Also, I was wondering if I can attach my gift to the child in the letter when I send it?
Welcome Rebeccah – Your letter goes to the Compassion address in Colorado Springs – you will find the address on your childs packet and here. Any stickers, paper, color pages etc. you can attach to your letter. Be sure to place the childs and your ID on the items in case they get separated. Also, there is a GREAT letter writing template here on this site that submits your letters electronically. Hope this helps.
Hello, could anyone tell me if it’s possible to send your sponsored child a gift of money for birthday/holidays? And will they get 100% of the money that I send beyond the monthly sponsorship amount?
Yes, you can. If you look at the bottom of the letter paper you get with each letter from your child, it tells you about birthday gifts there. You can send a check with a letter, or you can set up on on-line account and give that way. The money will be forwarded to the project. Someone at the project will take your child shopping and help them pick out what they want. They will use 100% of what you send- nothing is taken out for administrative. Then they will sit down and write you a thank you letter. Remember it might take 3-4 months for you to get the letter. You can do this at any time of year- it does not have to be specifically for a birthday. For Christmas, Compassion will send a letter at the beginning of October asking sponsors to send in their money by October 31. For Christmas, because not all sponsors send a gift and Compassion wants all kids to have a gift, the money is pooled. But for birthdays or other special gifts, 100% of the money goes to your specific child.
It is possible JM and you can send it through your online account if you’d like. Your child will receive 100% of your gift money.
Hello I started sponsoring a girl in Rwanda in may and her birthday was about two weeks away so I sent a gift. Does anyone else sponsor in Rwanda and know the time it takes to receive letters and money gifts. I was hoping money gifts would get there faster.
Hi Holly — I don’t sponsor in Rwanda, (I do sponsor in a nearby country, Ethiopia.) My rule of thumb is to send money gifts 3 months prior to my child’s birthday. That gives the money time to be recorded at Compassion, forwarded to the child-center, and it allows time for the family and workers at the child-center to decide what the money will be used for and to purchase the items.
I also use the 3-month rule of thumb for birthday cards, Christmas cards, etc.
But keep in mind, a money gift or a letter are a blessing anytime. 🙂 I think it’s great you sent it, even though her birthday was only two weeks away.
I have a question about birthday gifts. For my child’s Feb birthday I sent $10. I have never heard a word about whether he received it or what he may have bought with it although I have asked him and he doesn’t respond to that. I am thinking maybe he didn’t receive it? I am leery about sending money because I want to know that it is going to him (or his family). I am considering sending a monetary gift for the family but…. should I? How can I be sure they receive it?
I’ve visited Compassion in 5 countries and have been very impressed with the integrity and making sure the funds get where they are going. They showed me receipts from what they bought for every birthday gift I sent. I’m sure the money got to your child. But they have to get the money, schedule time for someone to take him shopping, then later write the letter, and of course the letter has to go through the translation and mailing process. So it is slow and sometimes a letter slips through the cracks. But I’m very confident from what I’ve seen over the years that he got the money.
Regarding family gifts, it’s hard to know what the families need and asking probably won’t get you anywhere. The project workers won’t want them asking for anything. Your monthly gift is such a blessing and they dont want to be asking for more. I would suggest sending a small gift and see what they do with it. When I sent a family gift to my girl in India they told me they bought food, I knew they needed the money and kept sending gifts. If the parents “sometimes work as a farmer”, in many countries that means during the 6 months of rainy season, there is no work, and food is hard to come by. The project workers will work with the family to decide what they need, such as a bed, a chair, a goat. Bless you for wanting to help.
Thank you, Sandra. I called today and Compassion is going to check with the country to see what he purchased. I am confident he received the b’day gift but am just curious as to what he got with it. I am going to send a family gift in July and hopefully they will be able to get something they need – like possibly food. I am just not sure how far $20, $50, $100… goes, for example. I am sure every little bit helps though! Bless you also and thanks again.
Hi Lizzie- We always send a birthday gift and family gift every year to our sponsored children and it takes anywhere from 4-6 months before we receive a reply. They always send us a Thank You letter and tell us exactly what they purchased. Sometimes they send us pictures of what they purchased. They keep very detailed records of what they purchase and always include a copy
of the receipt and the exact cost of each item to the last penny. We know this because we saw it when we went to El Salvador to visit our sponsored children. The project staff at the child’s center keeps a personal file on each child along with all the details of monetary gifts received and how the money was spent. If you do not receive anything between 4-6 months of when you sent the gift, then call Compassion and they should be able to give you information on it.
Thanks so much for your reply, Stefanie. Very helpful. Sjaina, yes, i will call Compassion tomorrow and see if I can find out that information and thank you also. I would like to know if the family needs something but i am not sure how to find that out. I have asked my child but he doesn’t respond to that. I know there are Gufts of Compassion but I am wondering if they need money for a bed, a stove, things like that.
It takes 2-3 months for your child to receive your gift and around 2-3 months for you to receive their letter letting you know what was purchased. So your child would have received the gift sometime in May and you should receive a thank you letter by August.
Oh no, I mailed the gift in December, 2011 for his February 2012 birthday. He would have received it long ago. I have never heard whether he did and have asked but I get no response to the question. It was debited on my account but I just wondered if he got it. It sort of makes me leery about sending another gift if he is not getting to go to the store to get something.
Since it has been longer than 6 months, please contact us at (800) 336-7676. We will contact our field office to find out what was purchased.
Hi there. I’m a bit confused about what all we’re allowed to mail and what we’re not.
The “Tips for Mailing Small Gifts” page (https://www.compassion.com/letter-writing/tips-for-mailing-small-gifts.htm) says no plastic, but earlier in comments someone said you can send items in plastic ziplock bags.
Also, it says no metal – what about things like a staple or paper clip that hold our items together?
I don’t understand the labeling process. I planned on putting all of my items (paper coloring pages, stickers, paper artwork, etc.), including my letter, into a gallon ziplock bag. Can I just label the ziplock bag with sponsor’s name.number and child’s name/number — or do all the contents in the bag need to be labeled as well. If the latter is the case, how should we label them – write on them with pen or use a mailing sticker?
Thank you so much. It would be really helpful if there was a formal Q&A page on Compassion’s website that collects all the great questions/answers on this blog post and put all the mailing restrictions/allowances in one place for us. You guys are awesome at answering all of our individual questions though – thank you for that!
Kaitlyn, you may use staples and plastic bags to hold your items together. While it is wise to label everything you send, you can definitely simply label the outside of the plastic bag. While you are not able to send plastic or metal items to your child, you can use staples and plastic bags as they have no resell value when going through customs. You can find the Q&A page you are looking for here: http:// support.compassion.com
I’ve sent my children photo books made with scrapbooking paper and stickers. I put pictures of everyone in my family including myself and wrote a little “about me” section next to the photo. I explained who everyone was and how old they were. Then i put a family photo at the end. I punched holes in the end and wove very thin string between the holes for a binding. They received the photo books and told me how much they loved it. I have also sent folders with stickers and coloring sheets in them for my children for special gifts. And I try to always send a little packet of coloring sheets to my children too. I staple 3-5 sheets together and send them with my letters.
I sent a small cross stitch that stated, “God Is Love” with little flowers on it to my sponsored child. On the back I wrote her name and ID number and translation and sewed it to the cross stitch as a backing piece. I let her know I made it special just for her. I am still waiting to receive a letter back. I have also sent small wallet pictures that I took of animals, flowers, my family, fish, scenery pictures at different times, stickers, and small color sheets. She is always happy to receive my many letters. I send those special things in a card. Make sure both yours and child ID and name are on all items you are sending. My next project will be a cross-stitched bookmark with her name on it. Hope these ideas help.
I would like to know more about correspondence children. Things such as: How do you become a correspondor? How much will you know about the child and who possibly actually sponsors them? Etc. Any information is welcome. Thanks!
Call Compassion and have them place you on a waiting list to be a correspondent. Once they have a child for you to write to you will receive a sponsorship packet of the child. You do not know who the financial sponsor is. Its that simple. Hope this helps.
Could I send stamps for a stamp collection, a few at a time?
Yes, you’re welcome to send stamps to your child.
I have been trying to find ways to help my 12 year in Mexico with educational things. Spanish like our english; math like ours and so on. Does anyone have any ideas on where to look or go to be able to help her with these things. You know like worksheets, games and so on. Thank you
I found this cool sight just the other day. It has lots of coloring sheets, but some have to do with simple math and such. http://www.321coloringpages.com/
Hope that helps some.
Thank you I will try that!
I have been writing our sponsored children on the very day of their birthday, telling them also how WE celebrated it. Their response was overwhelming – they really appreciate that -::).
Brilliant Marianne, just what I needed to read! I was thinking just today about whether we should have a special Thai meal to celebrate my Thai sponsor child’s birthday next week and tell her all about it! I wasn’t sure if it would be a good idea, but your message has confirmed it. Thanks & God bless
That’s a very good idea! Thanks for sharing! One of my children’s birthdays is today and another is in 10 days. 🙂
What a good idea, Marianne! Maybe I’ll try that!
I have sponsored my little girl Josseline in Honduras since November 2008 she is now 9 years old. I have always written her about myself and husband and sent photos. In 2010 I went through a divorce and it has became difficult for me to write to her. My letters have become very general with photos just of myself. I don’t know how or if that topic should be mentioned. I am now newly married with 2 stepdaughters and would love to share my new life with her but am not sure how to go about this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Yolanda, when I went through a divorce, I told my sponsored kids about it after the fact. It was a very difficult time for me and I didn’t share about it when it was happening. However, I felt it was the right thing to do to share with them after the dust had settled. None of my kids really said anything about it so I don’t know exactly how it affected them. I think that Josseline would like to hear about the changes in your life and would love to celebrate your new family with you. Just keep it simple. She doesn’t need to know all of the details. Maybe explain it to her like you would to a very young child. My husband walked out on me while I was out of town attending my grandfather’s funeral, but I didn’t tell my Compassion kids that. All I told them is that things got difficult in our marriage and my husband decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. Hope that helps!
The children are used to seeing divorce, broken families, etc. so it won’t be something she can’t understand. Since she was 4-5 years old when you first started writing, she might not have noticed a change and might not be wondering anything. I wouldn’t feel you have to apologize or explain anything about the letters. You still wrote her, and that is what is important to her. Whether the letters were vague or specific, she felt loved receiving them.
I would say something simple about having gotten remarried and you have two stepdaughters. If you talk about the divorce, I would try to put a positive spin on it, like, “In 2010, my husband and I separated and I was very hurt. I appreciate your faithful prayers for me during that time. I know they helped. God’s love has helped me to heal.”
I would make sure she understands the new marriage will not make any change to her. That is, now that you have two stepdaughters, you aren’t going to give up her. So you could say something like, “I have told them about you and we will all pray for you as a famiily” or “they are excited to learn about you and helped me pick out these stickers for you.”
I think Josseline would like to hear about your problems as well as the good things in life. Being nine, she will probably not be completely mature yet, so you may want to water it down a little. One thing I noticed is that when I first wrote to my child, in the first letter she told me she was praying for me. These children understand hardship: it is their life. If we only tell them about the good things we experience, they’ll be happy for us but will think of our lives as too perfect. It would be best if we gave them some way to know our own struggles while still knowing that we care about theirs. Knowing what you yourself are going through, she will have something specific to pray for you about. She will probably have noticed already that you’re letters are more general and she is probably worried that something is wrong but doesn’t want to ask you in her letter. As for how to mention it, acknowledge that you’re letters have been vague and then explain that it is because you have been going through a hard time etc. etc. I’m sure she wants to know everything about you, including you’re problems. Just make sure it isn’t too harsh. Just let her know.
They should understand about graduation. It may be an exciting time for her family because she may be the first one in her family to graduate.
I forgot the second part of my question: I would like to send her a gift but would a gift in November for graduation be too close in time to a Christmas gift in December?
The gifts would be handled differently. For Christmas, the funds are pooled and all children receive a gift. Often it is clothing. For a gift for graduation, like a birthday gift, the child is taken shopping by a project worker and allowed to select something. I have kids with birthdays in November, and I send a birthday gift in November and then the Christmas gift as well. So I don’t think they are too close together.
I sponsor a girl in Uganda who will be taking her primary exit exams in November. I know she will do well on her exam and I want to send her a graduation card. My question is: do other countries celebrate graduations like we do in the US or should I explain everything to her and tell her about other graduates in the family?
I don’t tell my kids about eachother, and I agree with Jan… these kids often have nothing of their own, and I think it’s important that they feel that the sponsor is their own. I certainly wouldn’t lie to my kids if they asked… but I don’t think it’s important to tell them otherwise.
We don’t give specifics about our sponsored children to our other sponsored children both financial and correspondence. We do tell them that we are sponsoring and praying for children in these countries…
I do not tell our sponsored children about each other. This is my reasoning: At one time we had 8 children~some sponsored, some correspondence children. Some of them have left the program for one reason or another~the last one was a heart breaker for me, and I pray for her every night. We have 3 children now~two are sponsored, one is a correspondence child. I’m glad I don’t have to explain to any of these children why the others left. I wouldn’t want to give them any ideas about not finishing school, or not finishing the program. And in the case of our little Correspondence boy in Tanzania, i think it’s very important that he think he’s very special to us.
Our sponsored kids have been mentioned to the others. I don’t think it takes away from their specialness, but instead reveals our great love. They pray for one another along with our family.
Another question, especially for those writing to 2 or more children:
I’m putting together a small ‘About Us Family Book’ with pictures and small tidbits of info about our family to send to my Compassion kids. One of the things I’ve considered adding to it was the pictures of the children we sponsor, as part of our “family in Christ”. I’m just wondering if it’s a good or bad idea for the individual children to know that we sponsor other children through the program as well. I don’t want to take away the “I’m special” feeling from them but I think they might enjoy feeling ‘connected’ through us to kids in other countries too. Any thoughts on this?
We sponsor a 5 year old girl in El salvador. We took her picture to the local photo store and had it blown up, we than cut it out and laminated it. My girls take “her” everywhere we go. We take photos of “her” enjoying the beach, the amusement park, the museums, vaccations, riding our pony, sitting at our kitchen table, blowing out birthday candles, playing in the yard, cooking, sleep overs, etc. Than send her the photos. My girls love the idea of including their “sister” in everything they do and it is a nice way for her to feel remebered and loved.
That is an adorable idea! Kind of like flat stanley!
I’m wondering if a homemade card/paper craft with small pieces of velcro, ribbon or small scraps of fabric (laminated) either glued or taped to them might go through. For our two sponsored children, I’m considering making various lap books, cards, etc. with possibly some of these things decorating the inside or outside or to help tie or secure them closed on the outside. I’d need to know this before I get too far in the planning and creating process. Thanks!
So I’ve started working on family-themed lapbooks for our 2 Compassion kids. (We’re considering sponsoring 1 or 2 more so it may be 4 of them.) What I’m wondering is: for those of you who have more than 1 child, do the children know about each other? I’m considering adding a “family in Christ” page with the pictures, names, countries, etc. of each of the children we sponsor. I don’t want to take away the feeling of being special from the kids, but I also think they might think it is cool that they are connected to other kids around the world through us. Any thoughts on this? I’d appreciate any insight others may have… thanks!
I made little nativity scenes with layers of scrapbook paper for my kids for Christmas and they went through just fine. I laminated each backdrop and taped them together to make a trifold and then attached laminated paper dolls with sticky tak so the kids could move them around the scene. The girls loved that I had taken the time to make them something myself.
I bought a laminated map with the United States on one side and the World is on the other side at a Knowledge Tree store. This map has a three-hole punch so it will fit in a binder. I have friends that live all over the United States so I ask them to send me two postcards of the shape of their state on the front of the postcard. On the back of the postcards there is information about their state. So when I write to my boys, I ask them to find the shape of the state on their laminated map. I want both of my boys to grow-up to be Godly educated men!
I include other postcards in their letters too. In my city we have a AAA baseball team. I tell them about baseball and include a postcard of the stadium.
Other things I talk about in my letters are the my family, weather and sports teams in my city. Whenever I travel I always pick up postcards and share the information with them, I encourage them through “pocket cards” you can get them at the a Christian bookstore, I include bookmarks with scriptures, I tell my boy how special they are and how blessed I am they are in my life.
God nudges me when I need to write my boys. Sometimes I write to them three times a month. Sometimes it’s once a month. You need to realize that it takes 2 to 3 months before they get our letters.
When buying the devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young for me, I found Jesus Calling devotional for Kids. I always include a devotional in the letters to my boys.
My first sponsored child, Keven was four years old when I started sponsoring him. He is now 11 years old. My second sponsored child, Kelvin is now 12 years old. I have had him four years. In June I will be going on the Compassion trip to Honduras. God worked out all of the details for me to make this trip. During the trip, I will get to spend one day with Kelvin. I have no doubt that I will come back a changed person! Thank you Jesus!
Con, I have a sponser child in Honduras, maybe you will be taking some pictures of the children at our child’s project. Any way to add you on OC to see if my child in there? Thanks, Kelly
Does anyone has suggestions for writing to a young compassion child? My compassion child is 5 yrs old. I have written to him acouple of times and since sponsering him last fall and each letter is a little harder to find things to say.
I, too, have struggled with things to say to young children. One thing I’ve realized is, I don’t have to fill the page! A short letter will be welcomed.
Here’s a simple model.
1. begin with the same type of greeting the child uses
2. I try to put in a sentence of encouragement, to do well in school, or to take part in activites at the project.
3. I ask a question, so the child has something to answer. Often it is about the weather. Are you in the rainy season now or the dry season? Or about the project. What is your favorite thing to do at the project? Or the family. How many brothers and sisters do you have? Or what is your favorite food?
4. I answer any questions from the child, or if there were no questions, I tell them something simple, often related to the question. Here it is spring. I am planting tomatoes in my garden. On Saturdays I like to ride my bike.
5. I tell the child I am praying for him/her, and maybe add a specific item I am praying for (health, family, etc).
6. I add a Bible verse.
That’s it- a half page. I do feel like I am repititious, talking about the weather a lot, but to many of the children, that is important. Family is also important.
Another idea is for you to make 2 copies of a coloring page. You color one, and send both to the child, asking him/her to color the other and return it.
A post card of your city is a good conversation generator. Is your city bigger or smaller? Is your city near the ocean? mountains? Some of these questions you may already know the answer to, but they are good things to ask the child.
Thanks for commenting on this.
I just sponsored a 4 1/2 year old from Ethiopia and would love some help on ideas of what to send her.
This helped but, anymore ideas anyone??
Emily: I have a 5 year old in Bangladish and the items she responsed most to was photos of family, Snow and I put leaves as they changed colors and put them between Contact paper. She had not heard of snow and was concerned how I got outside even though it was pretty.
I found these adorable dollhouse kits at the dollar store. the cardstock is about the thickness of a file folder or sturdy greeting card, and the size of a 9×12 pocket folder. i have sent pocket folders in the past without a callback or return note on my sponsor account, and have heard others send them successfully without having to cut it down to 8.5×11. i’ve also heard others successfully sending lapbooks made of file folders. therefore, i’m wondering, would these dollhouse kits go through??? you can see a pic of it here (3rd pic from the top): http://cardboardcrafter.blogspot.com/2012/03/dollhouse-finds-at-dollar-tree.html
Lani, that is SO CUTE!! The material is just fine, the size is fine, (as long is it’s no more than 1/4″ thick.) The only thing I question is whether this still fits in the required “document” category at customs.
If you don’t mind, I’m going to take this over to the Got Question? Get Satisfaction section of the blog and see what a Compassion employee has to say…. I’ll report back. 🙂
I heard back from Shaina Moats:
“Hey there! I checked with the correspondence supervisor and he said these should go through just fine. They’re adorable! Definitely a great find.”
YIPEE!!! Thanks for looking into it, Lisa. You do an awesome and important job on this blog!
Thanks, Lisa! I dropped it in the mail yesterday (just the dollhouse frame, tucked inside a pocket folder… wonder if that would make it a “document”… then sending the rest of the kit in the next mailing) . I guess I’ll find out in the next week or so if it won’t get through. But I would still like to know what answer you get. There are several sponsors on OC who would like to send these and want to know the answer, too.
Hi, I have a small photo album I would like to send my child. It has plastic sleeves for the pictures. Will that be a problem?
Also I have a couple postcards that have glitter on them – is that ok?
Hi Julie — The postcards will be just fine.
The photo album may not go through. You can try to send it that way, but they will probably take the photos out and either send back the album or donate it locally. I think the best way to send photos is in an envelope, labeled with your child’s name and number and your sponsor number.
Compassion also has a suggestion for making a homemade album on their website:
Collect pictures of your family and make a small photo album for your child.
•Variety of family pictures
•Five to 10 pieces of construction paper or fun scrapbooking paper
•Glue or double-sided tape
•Two small pieces of string
Glue or tape a picture onto each page and indicate who is in the picture, what this person likes and dislikes, his or her hobbies, age, birth date and other fun facts. Continue with remaining pictures. Finish the album by stapling the paper together or tying the paper together with two small pieces of string to keep album intact.
Lisa, I just made some similar books, sketch books actually, but with blank pages for them to draw their own pictures. I made one for my sponsored child and one for each of his 4 siblings. I painted names and such on the front and was wanting to put contact paper on the front to protect it. I believe I had 2 different answers regarding the use on contact paper and don’t want to use if there is any doubt they will not go through. I would also like to use the contact paper on my lapbooks and such. Here are photos of a my sketchbooks and one lapbook.
I’ve sent a small puzzle a while back- I made up the puzzle on top of a piece of card to give it support before wrapping it in saran wrap (we call it cling film here in the UK). I labelled the back with my sponsor number and my childs number. I opened out the box -it was one with flaps at both ends- and pressed it flat and sent it in the same package so she would have the picture to follow. I don’t know if it went through though as Compassion UK don’t contact sponsors about items they cant send.
Or you could send a piece at a time. But that could take a while! 🙂
Any ideas on how to send puzzles? I bought some Bible story themed puzzles from the Dollar Store. Assembled, they fit the size requirements. But how to keep them together? I tried saran wrap, that was quite unsuccessful… Anyone have other ideas? Thanks!
I am going to try attaching a tiny piece of tape to each piece and mounting it on a sheet of csrdstock. Hopefully it will come off easily and not damage the puzzle.
Maybe you can try putting the puzzle between two pieces of paper. Put a few small pieces of tape around the sides so the papers stay tight. Lastly, put it in a tight fitting envelope or take a large paper to wrap around it tightly. That should hold it stiff. I have never tried this so let us know if it works and if it doesn’t, what you end up doing.
I always knew you could send cards with music, however finding a decent one was always hard for me. A sponsor recently shared with me that you can personalize (choose music, add pictures, change words, etc….) cards at hallmark.com I made a birthday card for my one girl. And I got it in the mail just the other day. I love it!! So I thought I would share it with all of you
I am putting together a package to send my sponsor child, and was wondering if I could send a folder with metal prongs holding the pages together, or if I should just tie them together with string.
Hi Andrea — Standard-size folders do go through, but I would avoid the ones with metal clasps. I would tie the pages together with a string.
You could still put the finished product in a folder. Just slip it in one of the pockets and send it that way. 🙂
I don’t know if this sight has been shared yet, but I found a wonderful website where you can use these templates to create photo albums. Print them and send them to your child
here are some albums that I created.
For more ideas on things for compassion children, folks, check out http://www.bloggingfromtheboonies.com. I have found it incredibly helpful. Thanks, Michelle!
Hi, a couple more questions 😀
When there is fabric is incorporated on a purchased greeting card, is it okay to send? What about other items incorporated such as foil, tissue paper, or string? Also, is rubber such as erasers okay to send as long as its thin enough?
Tissue paper is okay. My only advice would be to make sure that whatever you send is sturdy enough to make it through the mailing process. (I’d hate for you to send something and have it torn.)
String is allowed if it is two pieces of simple string to attach pieces of paper together. If it’s used as a tassel, or a braid, or something more elaborate than simple string to fasten paper, it won’t go through.
Fabric, rubber and foil — I would avoid those entirely even if they are just small pieces incorporated in a card. (Erasers won’t go through.)
Here’s the link to the list of what’s allowed and what’s not. Sometimes I get ideas of things to send just looking through the “Items that can be sent list”:
Hi- I send stickers and other fun things that are within the guidelines to our sponsor child in Uganda. I write her name and number and the sponsor’s name and number on each item. However, I never connect them to the letter in any way- I just stick them in the mailing envelope along with everything else. She never comments except for the photos and letters. Does that mean she isn’t getting them?
You’re labeling everything correctly, so I’m confident she’s getting them. 🙂 Compassion typically loads those extras into an envelope, which is attached to your letter. So it all goes together.
Great! I’m so glad. Thanks for that. Do you think it would be better if I send them in a plastic sleeve or Zip Lock® bag?
Great question! Either way your items will go through. But one nice thing about sending them in a plastic sleeve, baggie or separate envelope is it saves Compassion from having to use their own envelopes. They will attach your plastic sleeve, baggie or envelope to your letter and it will go through that way. I think it’s nice to help the organization conserve their resources in this way.
Thanks for your advice!
By the way, thank you for all you are doing on this post’s comments to answer people’s questions! Great job! 🙂
Emily, thank you so much. That’s such a kind thing to say. 🙂
Hi! I’m Tabitha and I just received my sponsorship packet in the mail today. I am sponsoring a little boy in Indonesia. I’m very excited about writing my first letter! Does anyone know how fast I can expect my letter to get to my child?
I have a little girl in Indonesia. It usually takes three months for me to get her letters.
For us (our child is in Uganda) is takes approx. 2 months. I know, a long time!!!
You might try Walmart. If you’re able to shop online, Amazon or Ebay would also be good places to check.
Can someone tell me where they have picked up soccer trading cards? I’ve checked Target, Wegmans, and the dollar store: soccer is about the only sport that I can’t find.
I’m loving the Letter Writing Ideas page over at Pinterest. Check it out!
I have a few questions. I sponsor a child in Burkina Faso. How long does it take for the letter to reach her? Also, I’m only on the third letter or so and I already feel like I’m running out of things to say. Any ideas? I’ve only gotten one letter from her and I’ve answered all her questions. Now what do I do? I almost feel like it’s too early to start talking to her personally, since I don’t know her very well. Any advice?
Hi Mary — It takes about 3 months (more or less) for your letters to reach her.
I think my best suggestion would be to, in each letter, ask one or two questions about them, their country, their interests, etc. Number the questions and highlight them so they stand out and the child center workers know that you’d like an answer. That gives the child something specific to write about
We also have done a “my favorite things” letter. (Favorite holiday, favorite Bible verse, etc.) We made a list of some of our “favorites” and put a piece of clip art next to each one to illustrate it. (Or you could draw something next to each, if art is a talent of yours.) That turned out cute and we discovered some mutual interests with our child that way.
I don’t know the age of your child, but for the little ones we tell them about our pets; about our holiday/church celebrations; what our children are doing; we send easy-to-memorize Bible verses; we send a lot of postcards and stickers; a lot of encouragement to do well in school, at home, in church.
With our older ones we talk about our education (where we went to school, what we liked about school); our jobs; current events in our country and theirs; what God is doing in our lives; an occasional prayer request; Bible verses and encouragement.
No matter what you put in your letters, simply receiving your letters will make that child feel special and cared for.
Do post back and let us know how things are going! 🙂
Thank you! This is very helpful. I will definately try the favorite things idea. She is seven, by the way. Thank you!
Our child is in Tanzania, he is turning 18. I am concerned. Is there an age they are dropped from Compassion and all correspondence to him has to be sent a different way.
Also, If our child has a younger brother, is there a way to know if his brother has been sponsored or if I can continue and add the brother as a sponsored child.
Hi Loretta — The age range for sponsored children is 3-22. The child centers work with the families to determine the child’s completion date. This date is based on factors including age, when your child will complete school, etc. (So, for some children the completion age may be 18. For others it may be later.) If your child is getting close to his completion date, the date should be recorded in your account. You can either find that information in your account online or call Compassion’s customer care department and they will check your child’s info.
(800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT.
When your child completes the program, Compassion will give you the option of either ending your correspondence and sending a final letter OR you may sign a release for your contact information to be shared with the child and you may continue corresponding on your own. If you decide to continue on your own, Compassion does not facilitate letters or translate letters. You would send letters/email directly to your child and they would send letters/email directly back to your address/email account.
There is an excellent discussion on this topic over at “Got Questions? Get Satisfaction.” Here’s the link:
As for your child’s younger brother, Compassion will be able to tell you if he is in the program and whether he is available for sponsorship. You can call the customer care line for that, as well.
I sponsor two children through Compassion. One of my kinds has a birthday coming up in June. I know that we’ll be sending a monetary gift for him. Does this need to be sent 3 months in advance like letters, or just the month prior?
The sooner the better! The money travels the same route as your letters. The Compassion US office has to send funds to your child’s country. The country office has to send the funds to the project. Then the project worker has to schedule time to take your child shopping to buy the present. Of course, the child will be happy with a present whenever he gets it, but if you want to make sure it arrives in time for his birthday, at least two months in advance will give time for all the steps.
Hi Jennifer — I think it’s definitely a best-practice to send your monetary gifts three months in advance, if you can. This allows time for the money to be recorded, transferred to your child’s country and it gives the child center adequate time to coordinate the selection of gifts.
That’s so nice of you to send a birthday gift! 🙂 One of my little guys recently bought a mattress with his birthday gift. It has been my experience that the families do use that money wisely and it is a blessing to the entire family.
Does anyone know if we can send friendship braclets to our children. I do a lot of these and would like to send my girls each one
Hi Chris — I saw this topic recently covered in the “Got Questions? Get Satisfaction” section of the blog. The most recent answer to this is that friendship bracelets don’t go through. Here’s a link: https://support.compassion.com/compassion/topics/string_bracelets
I’m so sorry! I feel like the Grinch who stole Christmas every time I have to shoot down someone’s cool idea. But, as I mentioned the other day, if you know of someone who is going to be visiting your child’s country, they CAN take your gift over for you and the country office will make sure it is delivered to your child. (it’s getting the object from the U.S. into the child’s country, through customs, that presents the problem for Compassion. Extra fees, customs rules, etc.) Once it’s in-country, they can arrange for your child to get it, no problem.
Go to ourcompassion.org to sign up and meet people who are getting ready to go on child visits. 🙂
From my experience of several years are a sponsor and correspondent, I think the Correspondence kids will think it is great that you are adopting, so many times we in this country think that the kids we sponsor think like we do, for instance being jealous of your adopted child, I know that when I tell one of my Compassion about my other compassion kids, they are so excited and want to know what their hobbies are, etc, they all say to tell the other child hello for them and that they love them and even that they will pray for them. I think it would be ok to tell them. It would be a great avenue for getting your Compassion kids to pray for you and your child.
I have a question… My husband and I are currently in the process of adopting a little girl from Latin America who has Down syndrome. We sponsor two children, one from India and the other from Guatemala. How should we adress this with our sponsored children. Should we tell them? Will they be excited or jealous? Will they understand? The boy is 14 and the girl is 6. Should we wait until she is home to tell them? I want these children to be a part of our lives and do not want to hold this from them but I do not know how to approach it. Any suggestions?
If you would like, you can follow our adoption journey here: http://followingourcallingdaily.blogspot.com/
Will paper beads on an elastic cord go through? What about a small quilt block, just as long as they are less than 1/4″ thick? I have been trying to think of things that I can make myself to make it more personal, but still last for a little while.
Jenny, something else I thought of after I posted yesterday — if you can find someone who is heading to your child’s country, he or she can deliver things like quilt blocks, paper beads on elastic, etc., to your child for you. Both of those gifts are quite perfect for an in-person delivery because they are small, light and would fit easily in someone’s suitcase.
If you join up over at ourcompassion.org, you can make some connections and scout out folks who are getting ready to head over to your child’s country on a Compassion tour. I’ll bet someone would be willing to help you out.
Hi Jenny — Those ideas are both so cool, but unfortunately neither would go through. Cloth and elastic bands are both on the “can’t send” list. I’m so sorry. Here’s a link to that list, if that helps: https://www.compassion.com/letter-writing/tips-for-mailing-small-gifts.htm
Just an idea — something a lot of us have been getting into lately are “lapbooks.” If you Google “lapbooks” in Google Images, you can see some examples. They are a little more crafty than the average letter. And, as long as you make them out of paper, and make them keeping in mind that you don’t want something too fragile that will fall apart in transit — they will go through.
Laminated bookmarks are another thing I’ve made that have gone through. I have a few pics on my blog of those and a couple pics of simple lapbooks I’ve done.
Thanks, Lisa. What if I just make the paper beads and send them without being on a cord? I am a new sponsor, and still unfamiliar with the things I can and can’t send. Is string allowed on a homemade paper book as a binding to keep it together?
How about a ‘flat’ paper bracelet?
(I’ve made one from craft paper and sent it in my Easter package to my sponsor child. I pressed it down flat to send it. Hope it gets through!)
Thanks, Tracey! I’ll definitely have to try this!
Welcome to Compassion! It’s so great to have you here as a sponsor. 🙂
The guidelines for mailing items are that they be:
* no larger than 8 1/2 x 11 inches,
* no thicker than 1/4-inch, and
* made out of paper or paper products.
The items we send must fit into the “document” category when they go through customs. (So basically things that are paper and flat.) Compassion also avoids sending things that would have substantial resale value if stolen. For example, books/booklets will have their covers removed. That takes it from a “book” category and puts it back into the “document” category at customs.
With the paper beads, you may run into a problem with them being too thick. BUT, if you feel that they fit within the size guidelines, you could try to put them in a small baggie and send them. Just make sure that you label the outside of the baggie with your sponsor number and child number.
If they don’t go through, Compassion will contact you and the beads will either be donated to a local charity OR they may be put in an Operation Christmas Child box and sent overseas that way. (Through an organization called Samaritan’s Purse.)
The string question. GOOD QUESTION! 🙂 This topic has been bandied around quite a bit with different answers from different people. Shaina M. over at the “Got Questions? Get Satisfaction” page is going to get us the definitive answer and let us know ASAP. Either she or I will get back to you on this, hopefully today.
Hi Jenny — Shaina M. posted back about using string to secure homemade paper booklets. The answer is, yes, we can use simple string. Here’s what she had to say on the topic:
“YES! You can use string to “bind” your paper items. We just can’t accept anything that would have value made out of string- like a bracelet.”
So you can use a simple piece of string to secure pieces of paper in a booklet format — but don’t go nutty with the macrame, or whatever. 🙂
I found some great cardstock material stencils at Dollar Tree. They are about 5″x”5 and 8 to a pack several varieties to choose from:) They also have a lot a different school/classroom and vbs type paper items and learning tools that would be great to send. I also had the idea of cutting out some of the pics off color book pages and making various little crafts. Some color books have cut outs on back cover such as bookmarks, puzzles, memory game cards, picture frames and even lil bracelets:)
i found these small water color books at a discount store today. you can see pictures on amazon, but they were only $1 to $1.50/ea in store:
would they go through processing w/ the paint? the paint is as thin as the paper. the child will need a wet q-tip or paint brush (which i hope they have in the project centers) to activate the paint. btw, can q-tips be sent? they’re under 1/4″ thick.
also, i read somewhere that document folders go through. is that still true? these folders (9.4 x 11.9 in) are slightly bigger than 8.5×11 paper.
Yes, I have sent those type of water color books before. I hoped they would have someway of using the paint, otherwise they could always just be colored!
And yes, folders go through, even though they are bigger than 8.5×11.
I buy my holiday greeting cards a year in advance and save them until the next year. For example, I bought my child an Easter card last year when they were in the stores and put it away until now. I was able to sent him the Easter card this year early enough for him to receive it in time for the holiday. I do the same with Christmas and any other seasonal cards that I want to send.
That’s a good idea. I will get him an Easter card now and one for the family too then continue that pattern. Thanks for the tip.
It’s great that you have written and sent so much to your child. If you have written 2 or 3 emails since November, that’s more than a lot of sponsors do. Compassion only requests 3 letters annually, and it sounds like you are doing way more than that. I wouldn’t try to do too much explaining. I usually start out saying how pleased I was to receive their letter, and that I am praying for them.
The children pray for their sponsors, so if there is something you could ask the child to pray for, they would love to do that. If it is complicated, you could just ask her to please remember your family in her prayers.
The words of encouragement in the letters will do more for the children in the long run than stickers and other gifts. Saying you are important, God loves you, keep up the good work, etc. counteract the negative messages they are hearing every day where they live. So if you’ve sent 2-3 emails since November, I’m sure your child is re-reading those words of encouragement and being encouraged even if you haven’t been able to write as often as you used to.
hi sandra, thanks for writing. I just wrote her today via the website. it looks like the last i actaully wrote her was end of october and started 2-3 emails which is saved in the drafts. I never sent them. we sent a christmas gift as i know others have. but it makes me feel ALOT better to think the expectation is 3 a year!!!????i couldn’t imagine that. i feel so bad if i dont write every month. thanks you once again for writing.
we haven’t been able to consistently write to our child in bolivia since Novemeber-i used to send alot of things like stickers, etc, but since Novemeber have been busy with family problems and haven’t been able to write. I think we wrote a couple of emails, but not more than maybe 2 or 3. I am really feeling bad about it and I am not sure what to do and how much to explain. even considered asking someone from compasion if they could write and send things til we can again. thoughts?thanks you.
You can also click on “community” and then “journals” then add a new journal asking any questions you may have. However, your journal will only show up to the community if you have your profile set to community instead of private. I just tried a friend search for you, but it doesn’t seem to be working. You could try doing one for me, if you’d like.
Okay, thanks. I will give that a try tomorrow. At work now. Thanks for your help.
Well, I tried visiting Ourcompassion.org and got all signed up and then went nowhere! I sure would like to find others who sponsor children in El Salvador but judging from what I found on the site, maybe its not meant to be because I cannot find a thing on there. Can anyone give me a quick lesson? Thanks!
Lizzie … I sponsor a child in El Salvador and am on OurCompassion … look me up! terry mcauliffe
We have had two children in El Salvador for over 2 years. We chose them from the same project so that, if we are ever blessed enough to visit there, we can meet them both.
Did you create your profile on our compassion ok? Does your child appear on your wall? If so, you should see their project # in blue near their picture. Click on that and it should take you to their project page. And there you will see if there are any other OC members who sponsor in that project.
Ah, okay thanks! There was nothing telling me to click on the project number,. at least not that I saw. I will go back in and do that. Yes, I did create a profile and yes, his picture did appear. Thanks for your help, Linda.
Thanks Alida! I just printed up some career coloring pages for my little guy. I want to encourage him to do something wonderful with his life so I am hoping these will give him inspiration! LOL
Here are some great printable project sheets if someone is looking for ideas of things to send
Another quick question for stuff to send…..I’ve seen people post pictures of the packets they send and it seems like they put all the coloring sheets, stickers, etc. inside of either a zip lock bag, or a plastic sleeve (like a page from a 3 ring binder). Do those get forwarded on to the kids, or would the plastic sleeves/bags be thrown away before shipping them to the correct country? Just curious since this might be a good way to organize it all when sending one envelope with stuff for several kids, but I also don’t want to waste money on bags/plastic sleeves if they will just be discarded without being forwarded on (since then my paperclips will do just fine). Just let me know either way. Thanks!
Also, along the lines of the books/coloring books. I’ve heard that when they get to compassion Intl that the covers are removed to take away any resale value. Would it help if I took off the back cover of a book/coloring book, so that they could still see the pretty cover (but still taking away the resale value)? Or would that be removed too?
Hi Katie — The front and back covers do get removed. So sorry about that. 🙁
If you don’t mind, I’m going to take the first part of your question over to “Ask Questions, Get Answers” section of the blog and see if I can get a definitive answer on this for you.
Got an answer. Thanks Shaina M.!
“Yes, we do send the plastic bags/sleeves on to your sponsored child. This is a great way to organize the items you send to your child.”
When I send stickers, I usually send them in the thin little plastic sleeve that comes on the stickers when you buy them. Should I be removing the plastic or is it ok to leave it on there? (Some stickers you buy have several sheets so it just holds all of the sheets together)
Also, I just noticed that it says no stencils on the list. Does that just mean plastic stencils or are paper stencils not ok either?
Hi Crystal — Paper stencils are okay, as long as they fit within the size requirement.
I talked to a gal at customer care about the stickers this morning and we both routinely take our stickers out of the package they come in and put them in an envelope. We label the outside of the envelope with our child number and sponsor number. These envelopes will be stapled to the letter you send, (if you send a letter along with it), and will go to your child’s country in the envelope. It doesn’t hurt to label each sticker sheet individually with a label, as well, in the unlikely event they were to be separated from the envelope.
That’s just the way we do it. And I do that because I’m 100% sure that envelopes will go through — and it prevents the mail room from having to remove any unnecessary packaging. Also, taking it out of the packaging makes it harder to resell if stolen — it removes some of the resale value, making it less desirable for theft.
I’m sure your stickers have gone through in the past, but the mailroom has probably been taking the stickers out of the packaging.
With the envelopes, do you seal them? If you do, will Compassion open the envelope to look inside and then put it in one of their own envelopes? Also, with little paper, treat baggies, do I need to label individually each item I place in the bags?
Hi Emily — I don’t seal the envelopes. Compassion needs to access what is inside to check for content and to translate if necessary. (If the envelope is sealed and they do have to open it, they may either use your opened envelope or one of their own to send the items on. But it’s just easier not to seal it in the first place.) 🙂
With small items inside baggies, my best advice is to label each item IF YOU CAN. (This is helpful in the unlikely event that what’s inside gets separated from the baggie.) But I know it’s not always practical to label those items. For example, I’m sending some sports cards and I don’t want a big mailing label stuck to each one. So I’m just putting a few in an envelope, tucked inside a card. I’m labeling the envelope and the card, but not each individual sports card. Compassion’s mailing system is pretty airtight, so I feel confident that the entire package will make it intact.
Can I send an entire coloring book?? I thought I had to rip out the pages and just send them. but I see Sam’s comment on 2/16 and I’m starting to think I have it all wrong. I am looking everywhere for soccer cards too, if anyone has any ideas. I can buy an entire box for $90 but that’s rather expensive!
Hi Lizzie — Regarding the coloring book, if you send it complete, Compassion will remove the front and back covers before it is shipped overseas. So perhaps your best bet may be to continue removing the individual pages and send them a few at a time, as coloring pages. It’s up to you which way you prefer.
I found some soccer stickers on Amazon that are reasonably priced, (under $5 with shipping):
And some soccer cards that are little more pricey, but very nice ($12.95, free shipping on orders $25 or more):
I’ve sent both to my kids around World Cup time. To send them, I take them out of the package, put a few in an envelope, and I put my child number and sponsor number on the outside of the envelope.
At the end of all of my letters, I write a simple Bible verse for them to remember.
I have enjoyed spending the last hour or so reading about ways to bless our sponsored child (and writing to her using the new online form!). I am thinking about sending some stickers and a coloring book. Do you think an 11 year old is too old for a coloring book? Thanks!
No one is too old for a coloring book! 🙂
Great, thanks Steph. I’m hoping the letter turn around is like you said, since that would definitely help in knowing what to keep writing based on what they say. I have joined ourcompassion.com as well which has helped with a few ideas.
Lois……thanks for the tip on just folding a map or poster to the 8 1/2 x 11 size. I kept thinking the paper had to be that sized (so a small poster!) but if I just fold it and it still goes through, that would be a little easier to find something to send (although I might feel bad folding a huge poster up into that many creases, but something is always better than nothing!).
Thanks again for everyone’s ideas.
We just received our first correspondent child today! He is 18 and from Tanzania. Any ideas on what to send an 18 year old boy (other than just letters)? Do they still like stickers or is that too childish? How long on average has it taken letters to go to/from Tanzania in your experiences? Thanks!
We have a boy in TZ and the turn around on letters is really pretty fast. I have recieved his letter in the same month he has written them…but with the new guidlines now that may change and it may be every 60 days that he writes. I do not have any boys quite that old but sports cards are always good I think. I do not know if you know about ourcompassion.com but there are tons of different groups with ideas on there also! Congrats on your new correspondence child.
How about some world maps (you can buy them at OfficeMax, Staples, Lakeshore Learning, folded to 8 1/2 x 11 size). Also, maps of individual countries; information about culture in different parts of the world; pictures and descriptions of foods that we eat here; sports photos; sets of flashcards on nature and/or geography; etc.
Those are some really good ideas. In fact, everyones ideas help tremendously. I just recently had my sister in law take a picture of me while I held up a sign with “Hello…(one for each of their names)” printed on an 8×10 cardstock. I was reaching my hand out towards them in each photo. I send personalized printed mazes and coloring pages for them too.
My letters to my child in Rwanda take four months to get back and forth. But it makes them all the more special. Togo seems to be very quick in their mail and India is a long wait too–not as long as Rwanda though.
Thanks for all of your tips on better letter writing!
Mark, I love your “hello” photo idea … may just use that myself!
I was going to be so good and get my Easter packets out on time…..but I cannot find any Easter cards out yet still.
I thought about printing some out, but we have really been trying to go easy on printer ink since starting home school.
Perhaps you could purchase holiday cards this year for next year and put them in a box. Sort them in baggies by holiday.
I am a new sponsor of a 5 year old in Rwanda. Any suggestions of what to write to the young ones?
That is so true. It’s hard to find things early enough to send.
One idea is to have your kids do a homemade card out of construction paper or cardstock, stamps/ink, markers, etc.
There is also the online option.
The pop-up Easter cards are shipping now. These are so very cute:
Hallmark has their Easter cards available for purchase online.
DaySpring has Easter cards available online, as well:
I hope homeschool is going great for you guys! We were homeschooling up until last year, but my daughter decided to do public school this year. I miss it!
When I travel, I usually buy some post cards and send them with a letter. In the letter, I tell them about my trip or whatever it was I saw. I write the child’s name and number on the post cards, in case they get separated. You can even buy post cards showing your hometown. (For good prices, check a local drugstore or discount store.)
I also like to include words of encouragement or advice, as well as an occasional prayer request. Probably they’re hearing advice from other people, but it’s good to hear wisdom from you too because you’re a special person to them. The prayer request is good for lots of reasons, but one reason is it’s something they can do for me. If there’s an answer to the prayer that you can share, that would be good to include too.
Are we allowed to send those greeting cards that play music or that you can record your voice on?
YES!! As long as they fit within the size requirements including thickness.
Yes you can send cards that play music. I am actually planning on sending one of those soon 🙂
I made a cute sticker book for my little girl. It is made from the bottom portion of a folder (so it would have pockets and be slightly more durable than card stock or construction paper) It is decorated with stickers and her name and the pages are made of wax paper and its stapled together. Will this go thru? the back has a bar code on it, do that matter?? It is cut to about half the size of the folder. I want to send it soon if I can.
I have sent regular folders and I kow they have gone through so as long as it’s not thicker than the size requirement then you should be good. Happy writing!
How can we send stickers to our child? Do we just use the Compassion address?
Yeah you just send it to the main Compassion office in the country you live in- make sure every item you send had your child’s name and # on it and you name and # somewhere on the packet. I usually staple or use paper clips to attach it to my letters but some people have used baggies or sheet organizers. Be sure it meets the size limitations- 8.5 x 11 and 1/4 thickness.
Hi Maryann — Yes, they go to the regular Compassion address.
Attn: Child Correspondence Dept.
Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004
Just make sure you have your child’s number and your sponsor number somewhere on the sticker packet. Or you can put them in a separate envelope and put the child and sponsor numbers on the front.
Anything you would like to send your child- letters, stickers, color sheets etc you simply send to the main Compassion office in your country. Be sure that every piece you send has your child’s name and # on it and that your name and # is on the pcket somewhere as well. (in case it would get seperated from the letter) I usually staple or paper clip items to my letters but I know some people use baggies or sheet organizers. Make sure that whatever you send meets the size requirements 8.5×11 and 1/4″ thickness.
Thanks. Maybe I’ll just do more of coloring sheets or something where he can make his own book, since I’d feel bad sending a book they have to rip apart (I love books too much to see that happen!). Then he can always buy some books with birthday money we send eventually if he wants to. Thanks for letting me know.
Can anyone answer whether an email letter will get to our children any faster than a mailed one? My child in Rwanda’s letter took 4 months to reach me and he said he wished I’d write to him. I have been writing and I thought maybe he was one that didn’t like to write! Now I know differently. If email is faster I’ll definitely use it for him and the other children.
Hi Sheila — You will probably shave a few days off the process by e-mailing rather than snail-mailing. But not much more than that.
When you send the letter via e-mail, it still must be printed out in Colorado where they record that your letter was received. It is then sent to your child’s country and put through the translation process before being given to your child.
Three to four months for letters to go back and forth might be standard for Rwanda, especially if your child lives in a very remote location.
There are some countries where it is much quicker, simply due to the customs and mail systems in that country. For example, my brother’s letters to and from his child in the Philippines seem to just zip back and forth. My letters to and from my child in Ethiopia take longer.
I’m just now seeing that you answered my question! I’m a little lax in reading emails these days!
We just signed up last night at a Mercy Me concert to sponsor a young boy in Peru. We are excited to start writing letters (waiting to find out what our sponsor ID # is still) and sending stickers and such. I saw that books were on the “do not send” list, but several people on here mentioned sending books. Is there a guideline of which books are and are not accepted? I’d love to be able to send him a small picture book or something in spanish that he would be able to read, but I also don’t want to waste money on it if it won’t go through, since I could buy him something else instead if that is the case. I know it can’t be a thick book, so I was thinking of the cheaper thin books that are just stapled together at the binding usually. Would this be ok?
Katie I want to congratulate you on becoming a Compassion sponsor. I am also new to Compassion. I signed up at a women’s conference back in Nov. You won’t believe what it does to your heart to receive your first letter. I was so happy I almost cried. And just to think that I am helping this child have a better life is a blessing in its self. I have been so blessed to be a part of Compassion. I couldn’t believe that I had never even heard of CI before Nov. May God bless you in all that you do for your Compassion child…………………………….Kathy
Hi Katie — Congrats on your new sponsorship. That is exciting! 🙂
Very thin booklets that don’t exceed the size requirement and are secured by staples will go through. (For example Dover Little Activity Books.) BUT, I did find out recently that Compassion removes the covers in the mail distribution area.
The whole issue is that they don’t want to send items through the mail that have a marketable value. (i.e. value if resold) Items with a marketable value are much more vulnerable to being stolen in transit. Books/booklets fall into this category. Removing the covers takes away the marketable value. (They actually routinely do this in bookstores when books are being discarded or donated — they remove the covers so that the books can’t be resold.)
So that leaves you with a few options. 1) Send booklets knowing that the covers will be removed. 2) Cut the pages out, hole-punch them and secure them with simple string. (This IS allowed and actually looks very cute.) 3) Cut the pages out and re-secure them with a staple.
I hope that helps! 🙂
If we were to remove the covers and then send the small books/booklets, would those go through like that? Also, if we didn’t remove the covers and since it is removed at CI, where would we label the child’s name, number, etc.? On the inside?
I did want to share one other thing that I found in this blog regarding Compassion International/Operation Christmas Child!
Apparently, during the Christmas season, Compassion takes items that are sent in by sponsors that can’t be shipped via Compassion, (things that exceed the size limit, that aren’t flat and paper, etc.), and they put them into Operation Christmas Child boxes. According to the Compassion blog, last year they were able to make over 200 boxes for OCC. Very cool!
Here’s a link to that. There are pics toward the end of the blog entry with the items spread out on a table and you can see how great some of these things would be in a shoebox:
Jennifer- I think I remember reading a sponsors blog (cant recall who though) who mentioned to their child that they were ‘doing a shoebox’ and their sponsored child wrote back to say that they had recieved one themselves at one time. So it is possible, if rare. Perhaps you could just tell your sponsored child about Operation Christmas child and that you have filled shoeboxes and she may volunteer the information without being asked. 🙂
Hi Jennifer — I can’t find anything to indicate that Compassion International and Samaritan’s Purse coordinate their Christmas gift programs. So I would say it’s a slim chance that your Compassion child would receive an Operation Christmas Child box.
Samaritan’s Purse works with its own church partners in-country to select recipients for their boxes. If your child’s church or school happened to be selected as a recipient, he or she might get one that way.
Compassion has its own Christmas gift program, so your child will definitely get a Christmas gift via that route. Here’s a link to more info on that.
On a side note, (and you may already know this), Samaritan’s Purse has a really cool way of tracking your particular shoebox and they will email you with info on exactly where your box was shipped. I just thought that was really neat and something your daughter might enjoy, so thought I’d mention it. 🙂 Here’s a link to more info on that.
Do children who are a part of Compassion receive Operation Christmas Child Shoe boxes? My daughter wanted me to ask our sponsored child if she received one and I explained I didn’t want to ask in case our child did not. I promised I would write and ask you though! 😉 Our child lives in Kenya. We pack boxes and my daughter hopes our child got one from somewhere. Thank you.
Samaritan’s Purse does work in Kenya, but I don’t believe that they do Operation Christmas Child there: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/Where_We_Work/kenya/
Hey Jennifer! While it is possible for a child in Compassion’s program to receive a shoe box from Operation Christmas Child, it is rare. Since receiving a shoe box is not technically being supported by another organization since it is a one time gift, a child could receive a shoe box. We general leave this decision up to the staff in our field office and partner churches to decide what is appropriate.
I bought some stickers the other day thinking they were stuck to paper, only to find out when I opened them that it was actually a plastic backing with a white sheet of paper behind them. Does anyone know if these will go through?
Probably. I think the main way they won’t go through is if they’re puffy, changing the thickness of the envelopes they send.
Thank you Judy. They are flat regular stickers. I was disappointed when I thought I couldn’t send them because they were soccer balls, and I’ve had a hard time finding stickers, etc. that are more masculine than feminine (ie not flowers and butterflies).
I have sent card games like memory, but have never sent a deck of cards. I never receieved any indicationt that my child did not receive them.
I think previously in this blog people have mentioned the cultural problems such an item could cause, like you did Julie.
I would think that you might have to send them a few at a time just to stay within the thickness guidelines.
I break the regular deck of cards into 1/4s, then put them in separate ziploc bags, labeled with my child’s name and number. This passes the thickness requirements.
Do you mind sharing what country your child is in? I’m guessing they didn’t have any cultural problems with cards.
Guatemala, Haiti, Kenya…
Cards can be regular playing cards, memory game, sequence of events picture cards, etc. I’ve found cute shaped playing cards at the dollar spot at Target.
What about thin deck of playing cards? Are we allowed to send that? I found some really cute ones in the shape of soccer balls.
Hi Julie — Playing cards are not on the “do not send” list. But I do know that in some Asian countries, (I’m thinking of Thailand in particular), there are certain laws governing the ownership and use of playing cards — each card has to have a government-stamp on it and cards can only be sold by the government — so Compassion does not send them there.
Also, Compassion avoids sending items that are “marketable” or could be resold and a deck of cards would probably fall under that category. (If you send things with a resale value, it increases the possibility of them being stolen in transit.) You could try sending a few cards at a time and let your child know that the entire deck will come over time.
I don’t know….does anyone else have any thoughts on this?? Has anyone else tried to send playing cards?
I am new and first time to sponsoring child but here in my heart it is a great pleasure to me to experience and share the Lords Grace in our life! Praise be to God.
Criselle, welcome to Compassion. It’s a blessing to have you involved!
I was wonder to they the DC heroes and Marvel Heroes like the more will know like superman and batman X-men, Ironman, Hulk Thor, Spiderman, Captain American etc… in Kenya cause i don’t send him something that might make him sad and depress oh would characters like Car be okay too?
One of my kids told me he loves the Hulk and he lives in Bolivia so it’s possible that your child may know who some of those characters are. Similar to what Lisa said, I try to avoid sending coloring pages and stickers where the characters have weapons or are fighting.
Hi Mary Lou — I think almost any cartoon character would be just fine to include in your letters. I’ve sent Cars things, Peanuts stickers, etc. The only thing I would avoid sending are pictures of characters carrying weapons or characters who are drawn wearing immodest clothing.
As to whether they will know who the characters are — that’s an excellent question! I don’t know. Even if they don’t, I’ll bet they’ll still enjoy them. 🙂
On a side note, I was surprised to find out that in my child’s country (Ethiopia) they have a popular children’s character that I’d never heard of. Tsehai the Giraffe. There is only one children’s television program broadcasted in Amharic — “Tsehai Loves Learning” – and it features a giraffe puppet. Apparently Tsehai has become very popular with the kids. Here’s the website in case any other Ethiopia sponsors want to check it out — http://www.tsehai.com/
if you make a birthday card for your sponsor child and right in it will they translate what you wrote in it?
Yes, they will translate what you wrote. If there is not any room inside of the card for translation, they will translate it on another sheet of paper, but your child will recieve both the card and the translation.
I just looked at some ot their Youtube videos as well. How inspiring!
“I’ve also read that in some areas the only toys the children have are things they’ve made from found objects.”
I don’t know how man of you watch The Amazing Race, but in some African country, the groups visited a school where their task was to build a truck the children could pull around out of milk cartons and bottle caps. Gave me a bit of an idea of the “found object” toys that you’re talking about.
ChildFund has a traveling exhibit called “The Power to Play: From Trash to Treasure.” It’s a collection of toys made by children in developing countries from found objects, (leaves, cardboard, discarded plastic bags, etc.) The exhibit is currently at the Providence Children’s Museum in Rhode Island and will be there until February 26. Previously it has been at the National Press Club in DC and a variety of other cities — New York, Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles. They say that children all over the world have contributed to the collection. I’ll have to keep an eye on its whereabouts and mention its location from time to time. It would be very interesting to see, as I’m sure it is a window into the childhoods of our sponsored kids.
p.s. I love the Amazing Race! 🙂
I just checked out some of their youtube videos- very cool. I hope the exhibit one day comes to a town near me because I’d love to see it.
I have been sponsoring a little boy in Guatemala for about a year now. I wanted to send him a gift for Christmas and am wondering if temporary tattoos of cartoon cars or animals would be okay. I enjoyed them as a child but I’m not sure if it would be considered appropriate. There was no mention of them in the gift giving guidelines. Also, is it okay to send a manila envelope so that coloring pages, etc. don’t get bent, or are business and card type envelopes the only thing accepted? Thank you!
Hi Danielle — I think temporary tattoos of cartoon cars and animals are cute and would go through. We did have a discussion about this topic a while back and some were not fans of the temporary tattoos. For me, personally, as long as the image is very cute and child-oriented I like them and I know my 7-year old daughter enjoys them, as well.
Also, it is okay to send a manila envelope to put your coloring pages and things in. Just make sure that the envelope fits the size limit (8 1/2″ x 11″) and I would remove any kind of metal clasps or closures. Label the outside of the envelope with your sponsor and child number — and to be on the safe side, label the contents within — and leave the envelope unsealed so the contents of the envelope can be checked.
I had brought up the idea of temporary tattoos a few months ago, and most of the responses I got suggested I pass due to cultural reasons in some countries.
In regards to the size of envelopes, you can mail them in a manilla envelope as long as the contents inside the envelope is withine the size requirements (the envelope can be larger).
Hope this helps!
Lindsey — I’m so sorry, I didn’t see your post before I posted! Danielle, just to second what Lindsey said, the majority of folks didn’t care for the tattoo idea. I think I was in the minority of people who liked them. In fact, I may have been the only one. 🙂 They will go through, as they are similar to stickers. So it’s your call.
Thats ok Lisa, since they have to approve the posts, ours mights have shown up on the wall at the same time.
Danielle, if you do decide to send them, let me know if you get any feedback from your child.
I had sent them before I read about the possible cultural conflicts…………. but my little girl LOVED them!!! She’d never seen such a thing, and she shared them with other children who loved them too. I haven’t sent them since…. but I would think that if they crossed some cultural line, that they would be intercepted in the office of the country where the children are. Compassion has safety measures for things like this….
So my opinion is just send them if you want to, and be prepared that they may be taken out…… depending upon the country. My little girl is in Honduras. They went through fine. The only reason I haven’t sent more is that I’ve had too many other things to send! 🙂
I like the temp tattoos too. I have sent sparkly flowers, birds, and butterflies. One of my girls thanked me for them, said she liked them!
I put a bible verse at the end of every letter I send! 🙂
At the end of the letter I send to the girl I sponsor, I put a bible verse.
Ok, this is a dumb question, but I was preparing a package for the child I sponsor and it had the usual…stickers, coloring pages, etc… and I thought to myself, when he receives this, what does he think?
So what do these kids think when they get stuff like this? Are they in areas where items like stickers and coloring pages (stuff we take for granted) are not really that common? I’m just curious as to what they are thinking… Thanks.
That’s not a dumb question, at all! From everything I’ve ever heard/seen/read, our letters and goodies mean the world to these kids. I don’t think it’s so much what we send, as that someone cared enough about them to choose them and take the time to send them something.
As to whether these items are common in their area, I guess it depends on where they live. But I don’t believe most of these families have extra money to spend on things like stickers or coloring books for the kids. I think having these items in their homes would be a pretty unique and new experience for a child. I’ve also read that in some areas the only toys the children have are things they’ve made from found objects. When you see videos of Compassion home visits, the objects in the home tend to be basic necessities and furniture. The letters and photos that they get from sponsors are often displayed in the home.
Here’s a link to a variety of articles that talk about the children’s feelings about receiving letters. They’re fun to read!: https://blog.compassion.com/category/about-letter-writing/
Good question! You got me wondering, too 🙂
I have sent photos of my gardening items hay wagon with hay on it and wrote about the above.
I have a question I have a correspondent child and in his letter he referred to me as his sponsor Should I correct him or let it slide? He is 13 years old.
Henrietta, On the web site I’ve seen children refered to as Sponsors or Correspondence Sponsors. When I’ve talked to Compassion representatives, they’ve said that the Child thinks of us as their sponsors. Rather than confuse the child, I let them call me whatever they like~both my sponsored children and correspondence children.
I, personally, would let it slide. I am not sure if the kids get or even know about the whole sponsor and correspondence thing.
We have sponsored a child in Kenya for three years now. I am very sensitive when I write to not include references to wealth or items…however, we either work…a lot…and about the only thing we get to do fun is ride motorcycles. I am wondering if would be appropriate to mention that? Or even send a photo of my on my motorbike? I am running out of things to write about. I don’t want to be a bore, but my life is working in a hospital on a wound care team all the time, and if I am lucky I get to ride a bit. I write about Jesus and what I am studying in the Bible, ask for prayers for our Marine son, pray for our compassion child and her family, but it seems that my letters are the same thing over and over. Never mentioned the bikes. Any ideas? I am generally exhausted beyond words and just discovered the online letter writing ability that uploads photos and that is awesome and will be a Godsend for this worn out RN.
I agree with Sandra. Most places use motorbikes for transportation. I think it would be a good idea to talk about that. Compassion says to talk about your job, but in your case that might be hard 🙂 You can talk about traditions and holidays, too. Maybe you could talk about what you did as a kid when you were his/her age. You could write about the seasons, and if you live where it snows…you have (well you don’t have to but it might be fun) to talk about snow. Have you ever heard Richmond Wandera, formerly sponsored child, LDP, and Moody Bible Institute graduate? He was from Kenya (I think) and he had no idea about the winter months, how cold it was, or snow, or about the shock when you touch a doorknob! I hope this helps you some! I am sure that you kids LOVES hearing from you 🙂
I don’t see anything wrong with mentioning motorcycles. In many of the countries where our kids are, motor scooters are a popular form of transportation, much cheaper than a car and easier to get through the traffic jams. So just hearing you have a bike won’t make them think you’re superrich. And you can mention the things you see, rather than the type of bike it is: “Saturday the weather was great so my husband and I rode our motorbikes out in the country and saw lots of beautiful flowers along the roads. We really like getting out in the country and away from the crowded city….”
The kids know we live in houses that are nicer than theirs, that we drive cars, we have televisions. I think when Compassion asks us not to talk about material things, they don’t want us to dwell on them, mentioning we got a new wide-screen TV or a new car. But going places and seeing new things and describing them to the kids helps open up new worlds to them- so if you talk more about what you see and less about the bike itself, you should be fine.
I think you’re right, Sandra. Our girl in India asked me to send her a picture of our car, so I did. Obviously if we were at a similar income level to these children, we would not be able to help them.
I agree about not talking about fancy things, but just showing them how we live is instructive. I hesitated briefly sending a photo of a family meal because of all the food on the table, but then thought that was silly. I figured they would be more interested in the family interaction displayed than the amount of food on our plates.
I’m sure they are as hungry to learn about our real lives as we are to learn about theirs, so I show my real life, in moderation.
[quote comment=”34662″]Hey everyone!
I have been *making* paperdolls for my two girls. I thought that since they like to play with dolls, and you can send paperdolls, why don’t I make some out of pictures? So, I printed off 2 – 5 by 7 photos, one of her and one of me. Then, I glued cardstock on the back of the pictures (this is to stiffen the picture I used her favorite colors). Then I waited overnight, to make sure the glue was dry, then I cut around her and me. I am sending them for Christmas, and I hope she likes them! Oh, if you would like to make them make sure to put the name and numberss of you and your child on the back. :)[/quote]
That is just a fantastic idea Lizzie!! I wish I had thought of it when my girl was younger! 🙂 Thank you for sharing.
I’ve made paperdolls for my 5-yr. old girl in the Philippines and 6-yr. old boy in Rwanda. If any of you are scrapbookers and are familiar with the Cricut die-cut machine, then you know they have two Paper Doll cartridges that can be used to make paper dolls. I make them out of a variety of materials (from paper to cardstock) that Compassion will let go through. I like doing it this way because I can make a variety of dolls/characters for both girls or boys of various sizes with different clothes and accessories. I think they are really cute and am hoping my sponsored kids think so too.
One thing I’ve been wondering: we’re missionaries and do A LOT of traveling for our ministry. I usually take lots of pictures on these trips. Since we bring our 5-6 yr. old daughter with us, we try to make our travels fun for her by visiting inexpensive places in the area that she might enjoy (such as an aquarium, National parks, museums, etc.) Occasionally, I pick up small things (such as postcards, small sticker books, etc.) for my Compassion kids on these trips and send these with some pictures as well as pics from local events and activities that we attend, and our family days (playing in the snow, etc.), and drawings from my daughter.
But I’m wondering: how much do you all think is too much? Admittedly, I don’t write as often as I’d like (my goal is monthly but it turns out to be about every 2 months), so these things do get spread out. But I also want to be sensitive to the cultural differences since I know many kids don’t have the opportunities to travel and experience new places. I don’t want the children to feel like I’m “rubbing in” our opportunities or bragging/boasting either. (Of course, this isn’t my intention!) Compassion’s “Letter-Writing Tips” section of their site say it’s not a good idea to “elaborate on material possessions”, but I’m wondering if extensive travel would follow the same guideline? Basically, I hope the kids enjoy our letters and seeing/learning about new places/things, but I don’t want to overdo it either. Any thoughts/tips on this?
I travel several times a year and have always sent my child letters about it to include pictures or postcards. I try to make sure the pictures are more of “nature” items like animals and flower, or a beach scene (possibly with me in them) than of buildings. When I haven’t mentioned any trips recently, my child will ask me about my travels in her letters and has several times asked me where I’ve traveled. I think if you mention one or two new places that you visit per letter, your kids will love it. There are places that I will probably never travel but I love to hear about what my friends experienced there. Maybe that’s how your compassion kids feel as well?
While I am no expert, I personally think you aren’t doing “too much”. When I was traveling for “work” several times a month a few years back I did the same thing. Bought and mailed postcards from various places around the country. And even occasional regional coloring books or sticker books etc.
I even had co-workers pick up postcards from places I didn’t go.
I also sent a map of the USA and an atlas to both my compassion children and encouraged them in my notes on the back of the post cards to find the places were they came from on the maps.
When I was a child and poor (heck even now I have never traveled outside the US except to Canada a few times) I loved getting postcards from family and friends of our family from various places. It never made me feel jealous or envious. It was exciting to have a personal connection, even one as small as a postcard, to another place in the world. And it made “world geography” so much more interesting to learn about than just reading in a school book.
As a bonus, it made me feel special and loved to know that even when traveling these people still thought about me.
So my advice is to keep doing what you do.
I will note that I personally tried to choose postcards that stressed the landscape, animals, people or culture of a place rather than ones that showed pictures of 5 star hotels or expensive food items. But I did include things like huge bridges or iconic/beautiful landmark buildings. Just so they could see some of the man made wonders in the world too.
I also tried to send post cards to my nieces and nephews, who are poor and with my brother being a drug addict also unlikely to travel much. But it is good to show kids, especially ones in difficult situations, that a world of beauty and interesting things beyond measure exists. That God has created so much for us to be thankful for and learn about. That His vision is so much greater than ours and that an eternity with Him will never be boring. 🙂
I have only been partnering with compassion since like June. But, these are my thoughts anyway. I just recieved my Prayer Partner e-mail from CI. “But most of all, gratitude for their sponsors. For not only the financial support sponsorship brings, but for the letters and photos those sponsors send. For the prayers and relationships fostered. For “I love you” written in a foreign language. Their gratitude overflows.” So, I know that your kids love getting pictures and letter from you. I know that one lady sedns pictures or stickers or coloring pages with every letter to her kids. So, my personal opinion is, as long as you do not write all your letters about all the places you go you’ll be good. Like you can tell them about your trip and the things you sw, but make sure to focus on what they told you in their letters and on a Bible verse or what God is doing in your life. You are impacting your kids’ lives, and God bless you for that.
I have been *making* paperdolls for my two girls. I thought that since they like to play with dolls, and you can send paperdolls, why don’t I make some out of pictures? So, I printed off 2 – 5 by 7 photos, one of her and one of me. Then, I glued cardstock on the back of the pictures (this is to stiffen the picture I used her favorite colors). Then I waited overnight, to make sure the glue was dry, then I cut around her and me. I am sending them for Christmas, and I hope she likes them! Oh, if you would like to make them make sure to put the name and numberss of you and your child on the back. 🙂
That is awesome!
Hi. Just wondering if the kids receive a hard copy of the letters we send online now or just get to read it on the computer? If we send pictures, do they just see them once or do the kids have their own email account and our letter and pictures are forwarded to their account so they can at least view them more than once. I’m just not sure how this is working now. Thanks for any input!
Darcy, the new online letter writing tool provides the children with a hardcopy letter, which is how the old online letter writing tool also worked (except without pictures and the many varied borders and color options). Therefore, the children can still read your letter and look at the pictures over and over 🙂
On another note, not all projects have the funds for the children to have computer classes (and therefore computer use) at the church.
Hi Darcy — The kids receive hard copies. When Compassion gets the letters we send in online, they print them off and send them through the translation process. Once translated, they go to your child.
I cannot remember where on Compassion, but somewhere I read about this. I believe that the letter get printed off either in Colorado or in the child’s country (it depends on the country, I think). Then they get translated, and the children get the letters as paper. I believe that the photos get printed on the paper, that is atleast how it looks when you write the letter. I hope this helps 🙂
[quote comment=”34603″]Hi I have been sposnoring kids now for almost 4 years, but I have sent maps that come in National Geo. Magazines to kids. I am not sure if they ever got to them as I never did hear from the child that they got them. I just mailed one today to Uganda, to our correspondence child, a map of Uganda with info on lakes there. I know he writes in English (is 17) so I hope he gets it. Any info on this matter is appreciated. thank you.[/quote]
I am so sorry you haven’t heard back about your gifts. I expect though that it is because the kids didn’t think about it at letter writing time.
My two kids both have mentioned specifics about the books and maps I have sent. And the Ghana project where my boy is actually sent me pictures of him holding the children’s atlas and sticker books I mailed in letter right after he got them. That particular project has had him write me back “extra” reply letters (not part of my yearly three) whenever I sent something special like a book or map. But the project in Kenya where my girl is has never done anything like that. Even when I sent her special writing paper and ask her to write letters in between the official letters and just include them with the next official ones so she could write while memories were fresh … she never did. Though she would note that she got them, she didn’t go into a lot of detail about enjoying them since it was months later when she wrote.
So each child and project center combination obviously influences the “replies” but I do think the kids get all the things we send except in rare instances of lost mail… which can happen even here in the USA.
Hope you get something back this time.
God Bless you for sending the extra gifts. I am sure they did bless your child.
I was wondering about sending small cross stitch cards that are done on perforated paper…what do you think??
I received a letter from my sponsored child in Nicaragua today. She sounds very happy and excited in the letter. She mentions how much she enjoys the “project”.
She never mentions the things I send. Not that is really the goal, but how do we know that the children actually receive the items?
The children do receive what you sent, unless the Compassion office notifies you they can’t send them.
At some projects, the children all write letters at the same time. The project workers will write sample sentences or things to write about on the blackboard to help them. Not many sponsors send special things, so the child may be concentrating on the suggestions and might not be thinking of thanking you at the time they write the letter, which may be several months later.
At other projects, there is a working who sits down to help the child write a letter when the child receives a letter. Those children are more likely to thank you because they are writing with your letter and gift in front of them.
Hi Marilyn — I think that would go through. Pieces of paper that are secured by string go through — and cross stitch on perforated paper is essentially paper and string. I don’t think that would concern customs.
It’s funny — the kids don’t often mention what I send, either. The only time they do is when they have a question about something. (One time my little guy wanted to know what the words were for a musical Christmas card I sent. Another time I sent a postcard of a man flying an airplane — from the EAA air museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin — and he wrote and asked who the pilot was.)
My brother sponsors a very young child in the Philippines whose mother writes his letters for him. She always makes it a point ot mention the things he sends. Leave it to a mom to remember the “thank you’s.” 🙂
I have been wondering as well if the children get what we send? I have only received one letter from the first little girl I sponsor but no mention of what I have sent! Please let me know what you have learned on this. God Bless
Hey, check out Lynette’s reply to Deedee’s post (similar to yours).
Like her, I think it varies between countries/projects. The only time I’ve heard from my girl in Indonesia about something I’ve sent is when I sent a gift with a friend to drop off at the country office, which was then brought up to her project. I got a thank-you letter and a photo then. The same thing happened with one I sent via another friend heading to Peru, a letter and photo. However, my child living in Peru has also thanked me for some of the things I’ve enclosed with letters…I especially remember her commenting on my printout of American and Peruvian flags. So, chances are high that the things you send are getting to your child, but perhaps they haven’t thought to mention them in the letters–or perhaps they are following the prompts given them by the center staff and don’t have much room to write about everything they want to say.
I have sent cross stitched items to my Brenda in Uganda without any problems. I attached the stitched perforated paper to slightly larger piece of paper with a Bible verse on the back and laminated it all front and back with enough border to seal all the edges.
Hi I have been sposnoring kids now for almost 4 years, but I have sent maps that come in National Geo. Magazines to kids. I am not sure if they ever got to them as I never did hear from the child that they got them. I just mailed one today to Uganda, to our correspondence child, a map of Uganda with info on lakes there. I know he writes in English (is 17) so I hope he gets it. Any info on this matter is appreciated. thank you.
Question about sending Christmas cards to unsponsored children: Should we seal the envelopes?
Actually I read and then check with Compassion and you do not even need to send them in envelopes but if you do I would’nt seal them- little less work for everyone!
[quote comment=”34318″]For setting up a subscription with ZooBooks, do you have to speak directly with ZooBooks? Is there a particular website?[/quote]
If you google “zoobooks” they have a website specifically for “gift subscriptions”. However if I were you I would talk to them before using it to be 100% sure all further “offers” etc come to your address and not were the gift ones go to.
If I recall correctly Zoobooks assured me it would not be a problem. I just don’t remember if that was because it was standard policy of if they had to put a special note onto my account.
I talked to about 5 different magazine companies that had interesting children subscriptions when I was planning on doing this. I hadn’t decided which one I was going to send to which kids (my kids have very different interests and my niece loved Ranger Rick magazine I had sent the year before) when my life/health kind of fell apart and my income took a major dive. But the result is I don’t remember off hand which company said what about standard policy vs special arrangements all this time later. My vague memory was that I was impressed with Zoobooks… and was going to order at least one subscription from them… but I don’t recall why in specific.
Hope that helps.
FYI Other Kids magazines I found interesting.
National Geographic for Kids – 3 different age range options
Guide Magazine (Christian based for age 10 and up target audience)
National Wild Life for kids (Ranger Rick and others 3 age range options)
Time for Kids – more world news 2 or 3 age ranges
Sports Illustrated for Kids – sports from around the world 2 age ranges … I wasn’t sure about this one, afraid it might be too USA centric, but one of my Compassion kids is a boy interested in various sports. And with the Olympics (now coming up next year) and hopefully it would have a lot of Soccer stuff too… so I was thinking about it.
And of course the classic Highlights with lots of stories and puzzles – but I decided it was too Western Culture for my Compassion kids in Africa. But others might decide differently. And I think they publish one in Spanish.
Faces – World Cultures for grades 5-9 – I liked the idea but wanted to get a few and read them before just sending them off. Not sure if too slanted a view or hidden agendas without seeing it.
And there are many others. Those are just some of the ones I looked at.
How will the children understand the books or magazines? Will the translators take care of this? Seems like a big undertaking.
For setting up a subscription with ZooBooks, do you have to speak directly with ZooBooks? Is there a particular website?
[quote comment=”34286″]Hi Lynette — Awesome ideas. I do have a question…
“…it is possible to send a “subscription” like ZooBooks, or National Geographic Kids (comes in ages 3-6 or 6-14) directly to your child so they would get “mail” about 8 times a year even when you didn’t get a chance to write.”
I did not know that was possible! How do you make arrangements to do that? Does the subscription go to your child’s Compassion center so all the kids can benefit or are they given directly to your child? I’m curious for any further info you may have.
Thanks for sharing![/quote]
Ok Here is what I remember from when I checked it out awhile back.
1) You have to send a “gift Subscription” and you have to check with the magazine supplier (Zoobooks was the one I talked to most) and make sure they send all “offers and re-subscription” mail to you not the person you are “gifting”. I was setting up gifts for my niece and nephews when it hit me that if they honored that commitment to send all the junk mail to me and only the magazines to the kids I could also maybe send this to my compassion kids.
2) Then I talked to Compassion and they said yes other sponsors had done this in the past.
You put the Child’s name and ID Number (The magazine has to agree to the whole number) as the person the gift subscription is too. Then for the address you do C/O Compassion Child Correspondence like any other mail you send. So just the magazines go to the kids for the term of the subscription you pay for.
As for sharing… you certainly could ask your child to share it with the whole project.
I never thought to ask if we could just send a subscription to the project for all the kids to share. Hummm… I will have to check that out with Compassion’s staff.
If they say yes there is a way to arrange it… I wonder if I could send a set of the Arch Books to the Project Center for it to “share” with all the kids there? They are all paper. There are about 100 or so in the “set” I will have to ask Compassion about that. I would like to do that when I have some extra money sometime.
I have sent extra books for the “siblings” of my adopted children in the past. Nobody had a problem with that. I sent them in an envelope with my child’s name along with the book for her and then told her in the letter that the two extra books were for her younger sisters. I put there names on the books for them, but again they were in the envelope with my child’s name on it.
What a great idea and thanks for the info. So it goes to the Colorado center first, through the regular mail process, and then to your child. That makes sense. I’ll bet the kids share those magazines regardless of whether they go to one child or the whole group. I can imagine there’s a lot of magazine swapping going on. It just seems like this is a great way for the kids to practice English. (I know I practice my French by reading Paris-Match.) And there are some communities where the literacy rate is an issue partially because there isn’t an abundance of reading material.
Great idea, Lynette!
Lindsey, thankyou for the art suggestions. Three of my girls have sent me pictures they have drawn, and one of them sent me quite good landscape paintings~ but it was very early in the relationship. I’ve asked for more, but haven’t received them. Maybe this would encourage art. I’ll try it. Thanks.
Hello Everyone! Just got my first letter from one of the girls that I sponsor! 🙂 I was so excited!
I also wanted to share that I had made the two girls that I sponsor journals for them to write in. I figured I can send them paper, scrapbook supplies and etc monthly so that they can add to it since I put it together with string, I can also just add longer stringer once in a while as well.
I was wondering if anyone knows if we can send coloring pages and etc, to children who do not have a sponsor? I do a lot of downloading and would love to be able to send things for others but at this time I cannot sponsor more children.
Thank you for your time on this.
In our Lord Jesus name; Chris
Hi Chris: Congrats on getting that first letter. That is so very exciting! Also, I love your journal idea.
You have three options (that I’m aware of) to send things to unsponsored kids.
1) You can send Christmas cards through the U.S. office. Here’s the info:
“We are accepting Christmas Cards for unsponsored children this year! You are welcome to send up to 25 cards, (without attachments, please – for example, additional stickers, etc.), to our address at the attention of “Suzanne – SPC.” We need to receive those prior to November 4 in order to send them in time.”
2) There is a gal at Compassion Canada who is accepting things to forward to unsponsored kids. I don’t think this is an “official” program — it’s simply something she’s taken on, which is incredibly kind of her.
Her address is:
PO Box 5591
Attn: Sheena Morrison
Some guidelines for that:
* You can send up to one package of letters a month.
* Try to send a minimum of a dozen letters at a time.
* You may attach a paper gift to the letter if you wish — 1 item only. (ex. bookmarks, coloring pages, drawing paper, scripture cards, paper decorations, paper crafts)
* Keep in mind that your letter/gift may go to either gender and any age group.
* You may sign your name, but don’t include your sponsor number or your mailing address.
3) Of course you can always sign up to be a correspondence sponsor. In that case, the child already has a sponsor, but you are the one who gets to correspond. The sponsor pays the monthly sponsorship fee — you write. You may also send monetary birthday and family gifts. If the child’s sponsor drops out of the program, you will get first choice as to whether you want to take over the child’s full sponsorship.
Thank you Lisa for a the help! I so want other children to get something as well as the girls that I do sponsor! Such a great help. I have already sent the 25 Christmas cards and I will be sending things to the gal in Canada as well.
Thank you once again and God Bless you.
I sponsor older children. I have Indri in Indonesia, age 15, Mamatha and Parvath in India, ages 15 and 13, and my correspondence child, Omary, in Tanzania, age 9. I could use some new ideas for things to send to my teenagers. i’ve sent paper dolls ( but I’m afraid they’re getting a little old for those, even though I still liked them when I was that age), family photos, picture post cards and maps pertaining to vacations, stickers ( age appropriate), sticky notes, Pin the Tail on the Donkey game, etc. It was suggested on this blog that we send napkins and other party things for their birthdays, and i did that this year. I just received a letter from Mamatha telling me how much she enjoyed the pretty napkins and the Donkey Game. She shared the napkins with all of her friends, but I don’t know if she actually had a party. Parvathi had a big party with all of her relatives coming from distances. She is a motherless girl, so it was very satisfying to read that she had all of this attention on her birthday because of the things I’d sent. ( I sent a family gift with each birthday gift, so that they’s have money to spend on the party) . I really appreciate all the good ideas I get from this blog, I could use some new suggestions for my older children, though.
Hi Jan – To my older child, (who is 21 now!), I’ve sent Bible verse cards, small calendars, folders for him to keep his letters in. Something I did recently – we found out he is studying to become an auto mechanic. We went to our local mechanic and asked if we could take photos around his shop. We sent those along with a letter so our child could see what a mechanic business looks like in the United States. You could do that with any career that your child has an interest in.
Lisa, thanks for the great suggestions! I have a 15 year old in Indonesia who dreams of becoming a teacher. She is very enthusiastic about it. Maybe I can get permission to take pictures in one of the local classrooms to send to her. I wonder if it would be demoralising, though, since I’m pretty sure she would be teaching in much different, poorer, circumstances. It might even be a one room school house type situation. I have sent small calendars, as you suggested. I really like the idea of sending folders for her to keep her letters in. There are some really pretty ones in the stores right now.
Thanks for the idea! You’ve got my mind working now.
My child enjoys drawing and art, so I’ve sent her art stickers I bought from http://doverpublications.stores.yahoo.net/0486403904.html
In my letters, I talk about the artist painting style, etc. Just be careful, I can’t remember what artist it was, but I’ve had to remove a few stickers before sending them due to nudity. I think it was Leonardo. I know it’s still along the lines of stickers, but maybe they’d enjoy them.
Dover also has maze postcards and visual allusion postcards which look kinda cool.
I don’t have time to read all the comments so I don’t know if others have already offered this advice but here are some of the special things I enjoy doing for my two compassion children.
I love to send “pop up” cards. They are pricey but I think they are worth it once a year or so.
Next you know those soft paperback bible story books … Arch I think, from Concordia Publishing $2 or so from bible book stores… they fit really nicely in a smaller Manila envelope. I usually put one in the smaller envelope, decorate it with stickers as well as their name and number. Along with a card or letter. Then I put two of those, (one for each of my kids) into a larger envelope to send to Compassion’s letter center.
I found I enjoyed doing this so much that I got a hold of Concordia and they let me by two entire sets of all the books in print (at a reduced price of about 1.20 each, and I put each set into a large shoe box with each child’s name on it. I sorted the books by ~ age level and holidays etc. Took out the USA centric ones (there weren’t many and I gave those to local friend’s kids) And then I send out the story books on a regular basis. By having a set for each child I am sure not to accidentally send duplicates and I always have something on hand to send.
I also buy the soft paper back books of the same size (published by DK books) called DK readers that focus on Science and send those too a few times a year.
In the past I would pick up ZooBooks when I was traveling a lot for work from magazine stands in the airports and send those sometimes. (And I always sent post cards from where I was traveling on business. – I had previously sent them a kids map of the USA with were I lived marked on it. Then they could see where I traveled too and match that location with the post cards if they wanted too.)
There are also some great sticker books that teach science.
I found some fantastic paperback children’s world atlases.
And due some life stress I haven’t done it yet. But I did check and it is possible to send a “subscription” like ZooBooks, or National Geographic Kids (comes in ages 3-6 or 6-14) directly to your child so they would get “mail” about 8 times a year even when you didn’t get a chance to write.
So those are some of the things I have done that spice up my “letter writing”. By the time I talk to them about the science ideas or bible story in the books I am sending or the places I sent post cards from I easily fill up the letter space. Even before I put in a bible verse or something about my personal life.
Hi Lynette — Awesome ideas. I do have a question…
“…it is possible to send a “subscription” like ZooBooks, or National Geographic Kids (comes in ages 3-6 or 6-14) directly to your child so they would get “mail” about 8 times a year even when you didn’t get a chance to write.”
I did not know that was possible! How do you make arrangements to do that? Does the subscription go to your child’s Compassion center so all the kids can benefit or are they given directly to your child? I’m curious for any further info you may have.
Thanks for sharing!
When sending a calendar, can it be one with plastic spiral binding or only those with the staples in the middle? (Hope that makes sense). Also, are staples ok to hold other items together?
Hi Penny — Staples are okay to hold items together. A calendar that is stapled and meets the size requirements, (8 1/2 x 11 inches and no more than 1/4 inch thick), is okay.
I checked with Compassion’s customer care and they said that the plastic spiral bindings are not something they are accepting at this time. If you have something that is bound that way, perhaps you could disassemble it and resecure it with staples. Three-hole punching and tying it together with basic string will also go through. (No ribbon or raffia.)
I hope that helps! 🙂
I have been cutting them out and labeling each item., hoping that it helps everyone involved
Dont want to possibly cause any worry but about the paper dolls if you have taken them apart, I would put them in a separate envelope (as in “a smaller one inside the bigger one that has Compassions Address on it).l If you sent them a while back and haven’t heard anything than it probably worked out fine, but they instructed me in the past to keep the pages together, I assume so pieces wouldn’t be loose and get lost.
I just wanted to know if we can sent a paper giftbag that doesnt have strings?
Yes as long as it meets the 8 1/2″ x 11″ rule. Those are nice to send 🙂
When you send the paper dolls do you cut them out and label each piece or just send the sheets and they cut them out themselves?
Keep the sheets together and put your number and the childs number(and your names) on EACH Page. Make sticker labels if you want to make it faster. Also remember that the number of pages can only be 1/4″ thick. If your stack is more than that, just send separate pages. I/ve sent paper dolls before and had asked the same question
Thanks so much! I am also beginning to wonder if my child recieved the money for his birthday….I sent $10, and I want to know if he got it and what he bought with it…When will I find out about that? 🙂
It may take as much as six months…three months for them to receive the letter/money (I was told that the money can take as long to go through the international banking system and to the kids as does a letter), spend it, and have the thank-you letter written and delivered to you. It’s a long process, especially for us in the text message/email era, but at least it’s efficient. We must remember we’re dealing with folks in the developing word where often they don’t have the infrastructure in place that we’re used to…anything from post offices to paved roads. Some places are quite remote, either up in the mountains or just several islands away from the country office, like in Indonesia. I’m just glad to be able to write to and receive letters from these precious ones!
It can take up to six months to hear back about a monetary gift. You will receive a thank-you letter for it and he will tell you what he was able to get. Hope it comes quickly for you!
There are no dumb questions! If you go to Compassion.com and click on “Get Involved” then “Write my Child”, you can see a lot of info about letter-writing. You can use your own stationery and send to “Attn: Child Correspondence Dept, Compassion International, Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004”. No, I didn’t leave out the street- that’s all you have to put for the address. Every time you receive a letter from your child, you will receive a reply envelope and paper for your letter, but you can use any paper and envelope you like.
The biggest thing you can do through the letters is encourage you child- tell her you love her (or him), God loves her, she can be anything she wants to be. The children receive so many negative messages in the environments they live in that we need to give as many positive messages as we can.
It can take up so 6 months to receive a reply on a birthday or Christmas gift. Compassion suggests sending a gift a couple months ahead of the date. Compassion has to send the money to the field, and a project worker there will take your child shopping. Then they will write a thank you letter and some projects will take a picture, which they have to get developed or printed. Then the letter travels to the country office where it is translated and sent on to Colorado Springs. From there, it is sent to you. That’s why it takes so long to receive a reply. But you will receive a reply, and 100% of the amount you sent will be used to buy gifts for your child. Nothing is taken out for administration.
If you set up an account on-line with Compassion.com you can see your account and see that the donation was received and credited to your child. You can also send letters on line.
You guys are gonna think I’m such an awful person, but I have misplaced the piece of paper that you send in with your monthly payment! The money is due is a few weeks and I don’t know what to do! PLEASE HELP!!
No, you’re not an awful person! If there was a way to upload a picture as a comment, I’d send you a picture of my desk: easy for papers to get lost. I’m still not sure where I put the copy of my updated car insurance packet once it was renewed! If anything, you want to continue your sponsorship, which is wonderful!! You’ve probably already seen Jacquie’s suggestions, which are the alternate ways to submit a payment.
Kaleigh, we do not think you are an awful person! Human like the rest of us and not awful at all. 🙂
If you want, you can always make a payment online here: https://www.compassion.com/account/login.htm or, just include a separate piece of paper with your check. Just make sure you include your name and sponsor number and your child’s name and number. Lastly, you can always call us and make a payment over the phone at 800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT. Hope this helps!
Hi, I have a question. I bought a really cute Disney Paper Doll book for one of my little girls in India. It is under the 1/4 inch thick rule, and it’s measurments are 8″x 11″. It is stapled together, no hard binding. Will I be able to send this to her as is, or will I have to cut it apart? I ask, because I was told that I shouldn’t send comic books in one piece because of the resale value. Would a paper doll book be the same thing? I want to send this for Christmas.
Staples are fine and a paper doll booklet would have no resale value, so you are good to go.
Hi Jan — Based on your description, that will go through.
I have been feeling guilty recently about not writing and sending little items as much as I was able to over the summer months. I had been meaning to sit down and just do it. I was checking my sponsorships online and saw the NEW and IMPROVED write to your child online area. It is GREAT. You can pick from several very nice papers, upload pictures from your computer and then preview your letter. It types it right out front an back on the paper you choose. I was able to send all nine of my kids a letter in about an hour. I was so happy. I will still work on packets but I think having this improved email section will help me get something out a few times each month. Give it a try.
I agree, I LOVE the new changes to writting your kids online. My favorite is that I can include pictures. I will probably now snail mail less letters, and just do packets with stickers, etc every now and then. I also love that I can duplicate letters and then just change some details for the next child. A lot of times I find that I send the same verse, story about what my weekend was like, prayer requests, ect. to both my kids; it’s nice that I don’t have to rewrite it.
9 children! I can certainly see why you don’t have time to always be sending items. I’m sure they love getting your letters. Bless you for sponsoring so many children! I didn’t know about the new & improved online writing. Thanks for the heads-up. I’ll check it out.
I sponsored my first child through Compassion in Dec. 1999. Right now, I have 5 children. I have always loved being a sponsor, but have always been frustrated at not being able to send even small gifts. A couple years ago, I sponsored another child through World Vision, and I am able to send small gifts to her. I can send colored pencils, etc., and she obviously gets them, because she mentions them in letters. I don’t understand why they can get this stuff through and Compassion can’t? Going to the same country, even. Can someone look into this and tell me why we can’t send items that are useful to these kids? Just wondering…because I really love Compassion and these kids!
Hi Nancy — That is amazing that you sponsor 5 children! What a blessing for those kids. 🙂
Compassion does have a different program format from World Vision. Compassion restricts items to paper documents for a variety of reasons: 1) To keep mailing costs down, so that money can be used in other areas. 2) To make the correspondence process faster. Larger items take a longer time to go through customs. 3) There is a risk of those items being stolen in transit. Theft is an issue in some countries.
Compassion instead gives sponsors the opportunity to send monetary gifts — up to $100 for birthdays each year, up to $1000 for a family gift each year — and that entire amount is given to the child and his/her family. That way the children and families can select the items they need. Also, the money stretches farther and can purchase more in their country than it would in the United States. These gifts also offer a boost to their community, as they are purchasing items from local vendors and businesses.
I’ve embraced the challenge of getting creative with what I send through Compassion that fits into the “paper document” category. It’s kind of fun to see what I can come up with. I do have a few ideas on my personal blog, if you want to check it out.
I think the paper only rule is just a personal choice of Compassion’s so that all items will fall under the category of “document” and will go through with less cost and more quickly. I understand though. I love compassion but I get tired odf the paper only thing, Another opporturnity to send more tangible things is Operation Christmas Child through Samaritans Purse (www.samartanspurse.org/OCC.) You pack small toys, school supplies and hygiene items and they get sent all over the place. The boxes can take months to get to someone because of customs issues, but the kids and families don’t mind.
There are lots and lots of reasons, and Compassion do have information on their website somewhere, but I’ll give you some of the most important ones.
I get the impression World Vision is a larger organisation than Compassion, so they have the infrastructure to deal with larger items sent in the post. Compassion send letters and gifts in a way that means the items can be processed as documents through customs etc. This is both quicker, and cheaper, meaning more of our sponsorship money goes towards improving the children’s lives.
Another factor that might not have occurred to you is that your money will generally go much further in the country in which your child lives – more bang for your buck. What we might consider a relatively small financial gift can go a long way in the developing world. People often comment here and on OurCompassion about how much a family was able to buy with a relatively small amount. The money goes further and benefits the family more, which has to be a good thing!
Personally I also think it is a very good thing for the children and their family to be able to make choices about what they will buy and what is important to them. They are, after all, the people who best know what they need and where money should be spent. We might think a packet of nice colouring pencils is a lovely gift, but the child and his/her family may be much more excited about buying a chicken for eggs and meat! The child will also learn far more about the value of money by being involved in the purchase, lessons that will help them in the long run.
Related to this, you also need to factor in the impact of sending items vs sending money on the local economy. If you send a pack of colouring pencils, the child gets a nice gift. If you send money, not only may that child be able to afford colouring pencils and several other things, but that money will also help stimulate the local economy, something that will add huge benefit to the gift, because the local economy makes a huge impact on that child’s wellbeing. It’s far more beneficial to the child and the family to bolster the economy that directly impacts them than to have the sponsor spending money at their local Walmart.
There is also a danger of jealousy from other families. I imagine if a Compassion sponsor was thoughtless about the amounts they were sending this might well be a problem, but if a sponsor was allowed to send concrete items and a family ended up with a lot of obviously Western items, it would be rubbing their neighbours faces in it much more.
At the end of the day, you have to ask the question, not, “Why can’t I send what I want to my child?” but “What will benefit my child the most?” Compassion has answered that question by saying, “Please send financial gifts which can be spent locally”, and by sponsoring with Compassion and supporting their ministry, we are effectively choosing to agree with their answer.
Can someone tell me where to find out if a country is a reciprocal letter writing one? Is it on the Compassion website and I’m just missing it? I’m curious about Columbia and Dominican Republic.
I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that, through World Vision, (at least according to the website…I don’t personally sponsor through WV) letters are sent directly to the country office by the sponsor, so each sponsor would be responsible for postage & any necessary customs forms, if applicable.
Correspondence through Compassion is shipped on our behalf out of Colorado, and paid for with part of our sponsorship money, so they have slightly more strict rules.
But I also agree that part of it is to keep down jealousy. It’s hard enough on the kids that don’t receive letters when they see their friends getting them, regardless of whether there’s anything else included.
Hi Ann — Here’s a link for you — read the comment section. The comments cover the topic fairly in-depth.
The list of reciprocal countries APPEARS to be:
Ecuador, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Nicaragua, Peru, Rwanda, Thailand, and Tanzania.
This was also mentioned in the comments:
“Per current plans, all countries should be participating in reciprocal letter writing by October 1, 2012, according to Emily Sarmiento, Child Sponsorship Program Director.”
But I think the experience can vary. For example, I sponsor two children in Ethiopia — an older child who DOES seem to follow the reciprocal plan and responds to every letter — and a younger child who doesn’t seem to be a real letter-writing kind of kid. We hear from him about 3 times a year. Both are A-OK with us — but it just goes to show that it really can vary from kid to kid and circumstance to circumstance.
I had to laugh at the reciprocal country list. I suspect reciprocal is VERY individual. I’ve sponsored a young man in Kenya for nearly a year and have heard from him ONCE. On the other hand, I get letters from my correspondence child sometimes three times a month. And according to Michelle W her Precious in Ghana is her best letter writer. My correspondence child in Indonesia DOES write frequently, though–and I got 4 pictures from her last time.
Bev, I think you’re right. Another example. My brother sponsors a very young child in the Philippines and that child’s mother comes to the Compassion center and responds to every last letter the child receives. If that child didn’t have a mom who was so involved, it’s unlikely my brother would be receiving letters so frequently. Whether the Philippines is or isn’t a reciprocal country doesn’t play into that dynamic at all.
I guess, as you develop a relationship with your child, some of those dynamics as to why you do or don’t receive a lot of letters make themselves known.
I sponsor 2 little girls in the Philippines and have gotten over 14 letters in a year from one. She is really young so her aunt always writes to me but they respond to almost every letter I send. I have only had the other little one for a few months so I haven’t heard from her yet but I’m hoping I receive many letters from her as well. I also have 2 boys, 1 in Ethiopia and 1 in Ecuador. The boys are my correspondent children and I have only received a few letters from them in the last 8-9 months.
Thanks Lisa! I appreciate the link – guess I didn’t look far enough on the Compassion website.
We just received a letter from our correspondent child from Colombia and it has two phrases/check boxes stamped near the top of his letter. One reads “Carta Reciproca” and it’s checked; the other is “Carta Agradecimiento”. Made us wonder if Colombia was a reciprocal country. We love his letters and would enjoy getting them more often. Maybe Colombia will be reciprocal soon, hopefully before Jeisson turns 18 in two years!
another good website to visit for paper dolls that the child can also color themself if old enough is: billybearkidscom
wanted to pass this along to everyone., God Bless you all
I noticed on the suggestions of things to send it suggested making a small little photo album by gluing photos on construction paper and then stapling the sheets together or tying them with string. Will this go through? I wanted to tie mine, but was worried that it wouldn’t go through because the string isn’t “paper”….thoughts?
Hi Kelly — Here’s what the suggestion on the website says: “Finish the album by stapling the paper together or tying the paper together with two small pieces of string to keep album intact.”
That is a bit confusing because ribbon and tassels are prohibited. Perhaps the fact that it’s just two VERY small pieces of string makes it okay.
I have to call Compassion about something else today. Let me doublecheck with them when I call and get back to you. I’m pretty sure that if they suggest it on the website, it’s okay — but I’ll make sure and let you know.
Thanks so much! I’ve got the little booklet together except for that part, so as soon as I hear from you I’ll finish it and send them out!
Kelly, I talked with Customer Care and they doublechecked with a team leader. You ARE able to use pieces of of string to secure the pages. (Nothing thick, nothing elaborate — no raffia, ribbon, etc.) Just pieces of plain string.
They said that they are always reassessing based on feedback from customs, changing customs rules, etc. But as of right now, a small amount of string to secure pieces of paper is going through.
Thank you to Rick at Customer Care for your assistance — you were so very helpful!
Thanks soooo much for checking! I can’t wait to finish my little photo albums tonight and get them sent to my sponsored children tomorrow. 🙂
UPDATE on the topic of sending Christmas cards to unsponsored kids:
We are accepting Christmas Cards for unsponsored children this year! You are welcome to send up to 25 cards (without attachments, please – for example, additional stickers, etc.) to our address at the attention of “Suzanne – SPC.” We need to receive those prior to November 4 in order to send them in time.
(This came from the “Got Questions? Get Satisfaction” section of the blog.)
I check this blog regularly for ideas- so I thought i’d share one. Kristi’s post reminded me of this tip.
I havent got a laminator but I found out last year that its also possible to photocopy autumn leaves (my printer has a copying function ) and they come out really well and look very lifelike.
I placed a few leaves of different colours and shapes on the copier and printed them out on one page. : )
Instead of laminating, I use clear contact paper. It works like a charm. I use it for any paper game pieces, pictures from websites, etc. I always leave a little edge of the contact paper when I cut an item out so it will stay complete ly sealed.
I just scanned some leaves in, and you are SO right! It is amazing! I can’t wait to send them to my girls!! Thanks for the idea 😉
Just a quick idea to include in your letters: Laminated leaves that haves changed color with a bible verse reference on the back.
Thank you all for so many wonderful ideas of ways to show our children the love of Christ.
I am now sponsoring two little girls and want to make them journals can anyone tell me how I can put them together so they will go thru and not have no problems…..
Here is the list on Compassion’s website of in general what can and cannot be sent. They include a suggestion of making a photo album to send your child and how to do it, so if you did that but left it blank for them it should work 🙂
Did anyone else NOT know taht we can upload pics now as well when we write an email to our child???????????????I just found out today becuase I haven’t been able to write a ‘real’ letter to our little girl this month. That is sooooo nice!!!
They just started that about a week ago. It’s a new thing 🙂 They introduced it here:
I’m sure they will let all sponsors know about it. My guess would be they’d announce it in the next letter you get from your sponsored child as well as announcing the correspondence changes coming up, but CI hasn’t mentioned how they plan to announce it.
Just FYI, I found out about the pics and the templates thru being on their email list. You also find out about any new post on this section if you sign up for it
I am loving those templates! They did such a great job designing them. And being able to add photos — so awesome. 🙂
For anyone who hasn’t seen them yet, go into your online account to the “Write My Child” section.
Yes, I’m enjoying them, too, although I wish we could write a little longer letters. It will only allow about a paragraph. The old on line letters could be longer~but then we didnt’ have pictures, which is nice.
Yeah, I always write long letters. Then when I get to the part where I say You are specail. Jesus loves you, and I do, too. Praying for you. Or you know that kind of thing, when I run out of space. It is soo hard to go back and delete things! I have gotten to doing just one very long paragraph. But, I love the photo thing as well. It is pretty amazing! I am so glad for it because I do not have enough money for stamps, so I must e-mail my angels. I really like the templates, but I wish they had some to go along with the seasons. Nice job over all.
I’m thinking I read this somewhere, but maybe not. I think they try to limit the length of the letters to ease in the translation time. You could always write shorter letters and email more often. I’m sure your child would enjoy getting more letters. Just a suggestion.
I was a little dismayed when writing a letter online recently. Only a small portion of my letter would show up. Then I realized there was a front and back and I wasn’t clicking the tab to turn the page over. Still not a lot of space but better than one side.
thanks i had to delete half my leter………waaaaawaaaaaa
Thanks, Lonnie! Maybe that’s my problem! I’ll check it out!
I have been sponsoring a little boy in Ghana since January. I have been sending thin coloring books, pages from coloring books, stickers, post cards, etc. But, I dont think I have been putting the child number on everything I send. Does this mean that my little boy isnt getting everything that I have sent?
Hi Laurel — They will do everything possible in the mail distribution center to make sure your items get to your child. For example, if you send a letter that has the child number on it, in addition to items that don’t have the number, they will attach the items to the letter and send it through together.
I’ve been sponsoring now for about 5 years. What has worked best for me is to print out labels with my name and sponsor number and my child’s name and child number on them. I stick a label somewhere on EVERYTHING I send. That way on the off-chance that my items get separated, there is no question as to where they’re going.
For the first few years of my sponsorship, I did not do this and I have been assured by Compassion employees that my items made it to my child. It just may have been extra work at the mail distribution area for them to either label my items correctly or assemble my items in such a way that they would go through.
I have been enjoying it and found a good way to laminate them w/out going and buying a laminator and sheets. take clear contact paper and you can laminate anything….. for a little over 5 dollars at walmart you can get the clear contact paper. I love it.
I love this idea! Where do you find the clear contact paper? Do you go to an office store like Office Max or does somewhere like Walmart carry it?
i get it at walmart they have big rolls; have just seen it at dollar general now.. God Bless
Since I am new at this, and you were the last post I saw, maybe you can answer? Is there somewhere that explains how often they get our mail? Like only once a month, do they have delivery daily, etc..or maybe it depends on the part of the world? Also, when you send things like pictures, longer letters and the “approved” gifts I saw a on the list, do you just put them in a mailing type box, or do they still need to be folded and fit in a “standard” envelope and no more than 1/4inch thick (that i read), or can it be a large manila style envelope? thanks for the help!
Thanks for sponsoring!
How long the letters will take depends on the country. When I was in Kenya at the country office, we saw the mailroom with a slot for each project. A package of letters arrives from the US and is given to the various translators. Within a week, the letters are translated and in their slot in the mailroom. Then, if a Project Facilitator or other country office worker is going to that project, they take all the letters in the slot. Or, if someone from the project comes to the office, they get the mail. Projects farther away from the country office are not going to get their mail as fast.
You can use a larger envelope. The letters are unfolded and send flat. You can send up to 8 1/2 X 1size.
I do not know of anywhere where Compassion tells you how often they get mail, but I asked them. They said that the children only get mail once a month. It can take 2-3 months for the letters to get processed and translated, though. So, you might want to start thinking about Christmas. You can send everything in a manilla style envelope, as long as it is no bigger than 8.5 by 11 and 1/4 thick. Make sure to put your child’s sponsor number and name on everything you send. This will make sure that they get everything that they need too. I would be glad to answer any more questions that you have. Also, do not be afraid to e-mail or call Compassion. they are very friendly and helpful!
I too use the contact paper instead of getting things laminated. I print out 4 photos on regular copy paper and put the contact paper over the front and back. Be sure to label the photos before putting on the contact paper, with who, what, when and where so your child will know. I also put a sticker with my name and number and my child’s name and number on everything I send and put it on the back of the paper before putting the contact paper on it, so the label won’t fall off. Using the contact paper and copy paper is also less weight cost for mailing the package.
Okay, I feel kinda dumb asking this question, but…I don’t know ANYTHING about the whole letter writing process….When I paid my first payment, they sent me a envelope to send a letter to my child, but when they sent me the envelope to send my second payment…I didnt get an additional envelope to send a letter…plus I sent 10 dollars as a birthday gift, but havent heard anything else back…Im worried that I’m doing something wrong and my letters and gifts are not getting to my child! Help?
As I mentioned in my other comment, it may take as much as 3-4 months for a letter to reach your child, and the same amount of time for a return letter to reach you. You should receive a letter from your child within a couple of months of them finding out they’ve been sponsored; they’re given about 10 days to write an initial letter, and I’ve heard that these letters are expidited (sp?) through the system to get to you quicker.
As far as receiving stationery from Compassion, other than the initial stationery you’ve already received, the only time they’ll automatically send you a letter template is when you receive a letter from your child; they’ll enclose a piece of stationery with a return envelope along with their letter, as a reminder to write back, while it’s still fresh in our mind.
Yes, you can write on your own stationery while you’re waiting, or send an email from your Compassion account (if you haven’t yet made one, I highly recommend it; there’s information about your child listed there that isn’t in your paper profile). Or, if you want to get an extra copy of Compassion’s stationery, you can print one from here: https://www.compassion.com/letter-writing/write-my-child.htm (you can even save the .pdf file to your computer to print later without having to go find the website again). Hope this helps, and thanks for being such a great sponsor who’s so conscientious about writing! Your child will love hearing from you!
Hi Kaleigh, don’t worry about not knowing the process yet, it sounds like you are already ahead of the game by writing to your child.
There are two basic ways that you can write to your child. Either you can go online to Compassion.com and send an email through your online account (it will get printed and sent). Or you can write a letter on whatever stationary you have.
(Whenever your child writes to you, you will receive a piece of stationary and an envelope to write back. But you don’t have to wait)
The only secret to writing on your own stationary is to make sure that you include your sponsor number as well as your child’s number (two letters followed by 7 numbers). When your letter arrives at the compassion office in Colorado the workers will process the letter and put it in the box going to your child’s country. Then when it gets to the country, the workers will translate it, and by looking at your child’s number they will be able to deliver it right to your child.
You can send your letters in your own envelope to:
Attn: Child Correspondence Dept.
Colorado Springs, CO 80997
If you sent the birthday money in with your monthly contribution, it was probably received just fine. The money will be sent to the country office, and then to the project where your child attends the activities. The workers will help your child buy a present.
Your child should write a letter telling you what was purchased, but because of transit times it could take up 4-6 months to hear what was purchased. But I am sure your child was so happy to receive the gift from you.
If you are still concerned about whether your gift and letters were routed correctly, you can call the Compassion USA office and they will be able to tell you how many letters and donations they have received and exactly where each one went. You can reach them at: 800-336-7676
Just wanted to share a website that I found looking around for paper dolls http://www.berenstainbears.com
It not only has the family of bears but also 7 different sheets for clothes as well. I am downloading it and then laminating them for my 6 year old.
These are the best paper dolls on the internet I’ve seen. Thanks!
Attn: Child Correspondence Department
Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004
There’s no actual street address, but that’s what is on the envelopes. Each letter you receive from your child will come in an envelope addressed to Compassion so you’ll have the address.
I’m a new sponsor, and although I’ve written online to my child several times, and sent pictures using the envelope initially provided in my welcome package, I now have stickers that I’d like to send. Can you provide the mailing address for things I have to send my child? I’mhaving a hard time finding it on the website. Thanks!
Hi Mary — the address is:
ATTN: Child Correspondence Dept.
Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004
You’ll get a new pre-printed envelope each time you get a letter back from your child.
Thanks Bethany and Sandra, that’s helpful! I’ve had a couple of my kids say that they really appreciate my effort to write in Spanish “even though you make some mistakes”. I’m glad the translators have a shot at it first!
p.s. I BELIEVE the size limitations have something to do with the sorting apparatus they use. I don’t know if that’s something I dreamed up, but I seem to recall hearing that. 🙂
The Size limitation is because of the way we send letters to the field 🙂
Yes you can write in your child’s language, though it will still go out to translation. they will make sure that there isnt a change in dialect things like that. I’m guessing you can read the letters back from your kiddos? some of our kids in south america especially may not speak spanish but a local Indian dialect. But you wont be messing up your letters especially if you are writing in both English and Spanish 🙂
A question for the Compassion staff. I usually write letters to my Central and South American kids in English and then on the other side of the paper I write it also in Spanish. (I’ve studied Spanish for 7+years and am quite fluent, though I know that I still make quite a few errors). But I like to be able to, hopefully, express more clearly what I am trying to say in the child’s own native language. The question: does this help or cause a problem for Compassion’s staff/translators? I sorta hoped that it would make it easier for them. Do they still have to send the letter out for translation? Would they prefer that I not write in the child’s language?
Incidentally when I receive a letter, I always read the original in Spanish and then the English translation. Sometimes there’s an occasional slight nuance in the phrasing that may not be picked up by the translator, but overall I’m hugely impressed by the fantastic and faithful work of the translators that Compassion uses.
Bethany is right- in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Guatemala, the kids may speak Quechua, Aymara, or a Mayan language at home, and they may learn both that language and Spanish in school. But they will be learning Spanish even if they don’t speak it at home, and the project workers will know Spanish because that’s how they would communication with the country office. I write my kids in Spanish, and I used to write my boy in Brasil in Portuguese. The kids and project workers loved it that I was making an attempt. It also had the advantage that I kept things simple and didn’t use idioms or slang tha the translators might have trouble with.
We talked about this a while ago on this blog and the concensus was that it is ok to write if you speak the language, but not to use one of the translator programs as they don’t do an adequate job.
Hi all. My husband and I signed up to sponsor two children. I’ve been treading through the blog, getting ideas of what to send (paper dolls, trading cards, etc) and I understand to keep it under 8.5 x11 and under 1/4 thick and to have my sponsor number/name/childs name on everything.
The part that confuses me, do I just put everything in an envelope and send it to the Colorado address? Do we not care how big the envelope we send is, as long as everything inside of it fits the specified limits? If so, I’m not understanding the 1/4 limit. Is that per package I send? Like, the group of dolls/pictures/coloring pages can’t exceed 1/4 as a total?
How are people sending trading cards? Just tape them to a sheet of paper? Thank you for the help.
Hi Jennifer — The outside envelope that you address to Compassion can be any size. That envelope will be discarded in Colorado.
It’s each individual item inside that needs to fit the size limitations. You can send as many items that fit the size limitation as you want. (Just remember: 8 1/2″ x 11″, 1/4″ thick, paper, flat, labeled with sponsor name/sponsor number and child name/child number only – no home address.)
Something I like to do — I purchase 6″x9″ envelopes at Michaels. I put a label on the front with my name/sponsor number and my child’s name/number — and I stuff that with a letter, stickers, bookmark, craft item, whatever — and then I put that in a larger envelope addressed to Compassion in Colorado. I make sure the items inside my package are labeled, as well, on the off chance that something should get separated.
Now when you’re bundling items like that, you want to make sure that the package meets the size requirements. The envelope, stuffed, should stay within the 8 1/2″ x 11″, 1/4″ thickness requirements.
p.s. I BELIEVE the size limitations have something to do with the sorting apparatus they use. I don’t know if that’s something I dreamed up, but I seem to recall hearing that. 🙂
p.p.s. Trading cards — I sent soccer cards to one of my kids. I divided up the pack into a few different envelopes, so they wouldn’t exceed the thickness limit, and labeled the front of the envelopes. But taping them to paper is a great idea, too!
I know the rule is paper-only. Can you laminate items to send to your sponsored child?
Hi Jill — Laminating items is fine. 🙂
I just sent my first letter and package of coloring pages out to my little one but only had my sponsorship number on the letter will she get the other things I sent?
Hi Chris — They will go through. Compassion will attach those coloring pages to your letter and it will all be sent through together.
Something that I’ve gotten in the habit of doing is printing off labels with my name/sponsor number and child name/ number on it. I peel off a label and attach one to EVERY item I send — every coloring page, every sticker page, etc. — just in case something gets separated from my letter. It’s just a little extra-assurance that everything is getting to the right place. 🙂
thanks Lisa for the help! It is really appreciated a whole lot. God Bless
All this talk about paper dolls got me excited so I did some googling and found this site: http://www.makingfriends.com/f_Friends.htm We have 4 little girls between the ages of 8 and 12 who live all over the world and I’m always looking for things to send them. This site is awesome because you can choose skin and hair colors to match your child. I am currently making back-to-school and princess dolls for our 8 and 9 year olds. I also found a Nativity set under Projects that I’m going to use for all four girls this year. The directs tell you to how to make the dolls stand up in a cardboard stable, but I think I’ll just glue them to a construction paper stable instead so it can all stay flat.
[quote comment=”32016″]All this talk about paper dolls got me excited so I did some googling and found this site: http://www.makingfriends.com/f_Friends.htm We have 4 little girls between the ages of 8 and 12 who live all over the world and I’m always looking for things to send them. This site is awesome because you can choose skin and hair colors to match your child. I am currently making back-to-school and princess dolls for our 8 and 9 year olds. I also found a Nativity set under Projects that I’m going to use for all four girls this year. The directs tell you to how to make the dolls stand up in a cardboard stable, but I think I’ll just glue them to a construction paper stable instead so it can all stay flat.[/quote]
THANK YOU!! This is exactly what I was looking for. All I could find in the stores were “Disney Princess” paper dolls. ~ Fran B. (MN)
Fran: My little girl is 5. I went on e bay and found paper dolls like I had as a child, I put clear contact paper on each page and because of her age I cut the items out. Made sure the names and numbers were on each item, put them in a folder and mailed them. I haven’t heard from her but wasn’t notified that they couldn’t go through.
No – sorry. Only paper items.
Do those little braided string friendship bracelet go through?
I’m sending two checks to my girl in Indonesia: one for her birthday, and one for her family. On the form letter there’s a place to write your gift amount, and what it’s for. I’m wondering if it would be best to total the amount of both checks, then mark that it’s for her birthday AND other ( family gift) or should I send the family gift in a separate envelope to avoid confusion. In the past, her birthday money has been spent on medicine for a grandparent, or something like that, and I want her 16th birthday to be a very special one.
Id send separate checks to avoic the confusion
I am preparing my Christmas packages for my two sponsored kids. I’ve never sent an envelope full of gifts to them before, so I have a few questions. The website says that items cannot be more than 1/4″ thick. Is this for each individual item, or the envelope as a whole? Do I need to put my sponsor number on each item? Is it my sponsor number or the child’s number that is needed? I am trying to be careful about not sending anything that would be rejected because of the mailing restricitions. Does anyone know what is done when an item enclosed is not accepted… is that item just taken out and the rest of the package still delivered to the child, or is the entire envelope rejected?
The size rules means “per item”, both your name and number as well as the childs name and number need to be on each item. If it is not accepted they will call you to let you know and will send it back unless you tell them they can give it to a local charity, but as long as you follow the size rules and remember “paper only” you will be fine. I have been a sponsor for 8 years and never had anything returened.
I have noticed that several persons mentioned that they have a correspondent child as well as a sponsored child.I am wondering how does one sign up for a child that one can just write to and what else is involved. Thank you.
Just give us a call Henrietta and we will be able to get you on the list and answer any questions you may have about being a correspondent. (800) 336-7676
about children who get no letters or gifts…..i constantly tell my children that i want them to share with other anything that i send. 2 of them have told me that they get more letters and gifts than any child in their project, which breaks my heart for the others..they tell me how they share and one mother always writes me and says that every day after school, all the neighbor kids come to her yard to play school, and they study together and color and make scrapbooks and she reports that they all get better grades and enjoy school more……..even if you cant send them materials in their language, just ask if anyone in their home speaks english. surprisingly they do or someone at the project does to help with what you send them….even if you just send lots of paper for them to play school with friends, they can share it and practice lessons…one thing i find is that these children feel soooooo priviledged to go to school and church and they always tell me that they will study hard so my
$$ wont be wasted, and they want to make me proud…gives me tears,
we sponsor 8 children ages 4-19 …approx every 2 weeks, i get a free package from the post office that costs $4.90 to mail-no matter how much you put in it, as long as it seals…
.in it something goes to each child…..the tiny ones usually get coloring books, but i also send construction paper, i make it the right thickness, staple it and write the names and numbers by the staple, i also send stickers and scrapbooking materials..
.sometimes i buy a pack of decorated computer paper and one child will get an entire package. (i only pay $1 per pack).they all enjoy scrapbooking, even the 14 yr old boy
my teens live where they also speak english so i send them word search and crossword and suduko and mad libs books..all bought at the dollar stores for a dollar and are good thickness, all have gone thru for 3 years now,
i also go to goodwill stores and dollar stores looking for thin paperback books, like “chicken soup for the soul” series, guideposts even magazines, like “birds”, “country living” etc,,they dont have scenery and birds like we have in usa, and my kids really enjoy the pretty pictures.
around christmas i buy small calenders with pics that that particular child is interested in..sizes approx 4×4…and they also get 1-2 year pocket planners….i also send those 2 pocket folders and may put pretty paper, a letter, stickers etc inside.
since this takes up alot of time deciding who gets what and all the name and # writing, i don’t write letters with the gifts, and my kids know this,,,,i write my letters on computer coz they get there approx 2 weeks sooner…
I’m a new sponsor to a 10 year old boy from Colombia and I also have an 11 year old correspondent child from Bolivia. I purchase a 10 pack of clasp envelopes that are 6 in x 9 in. In them I include postcards from KY (local wildlife, cities, horses, etc), stickers, temporary tattoo’s, color book pages (I found a Dora & Diego color book that includes spanish and english phrases!), origami that I have made, silly bands, and band aids.
I do have a question about stationary though. I went to Barnes and Noble and saw some really pretty stationary I would like to use while writing to my little ones. My questions are:
1) Are we allowed to use stationary?
2) If so do we include an extra sheet for the translation?
3) Would we only have to put our sponsor # and child’s # on the top?
If anyone could answer these questions it would be appreciated. 🙂
Alex, yes you are allowed to use your own stationary. I’ve always left room, either on the side or on the back. But I suppose they can also use an extra sheet in case there wasn’t enough room on mine.
Also, it’d be a good idea to put your name/number as well as theirs on the letter, for tracking purposes. Kind of like we have a greeting and a closing in a letter, telling who the letter is to and who it is from.
I just like to do everything I can to make it easier on the Compassion staff along the way, so they don’t have to look things up, or whatever. 🙂
Yep. And it will save time if you can write both your number and your child’s full number at the top of the page. Your numbers are used to enter the letter into the computer system at the office in Colorado.
you can write on your own stationary..just put names and #s on each page. don’t worry about the extra page, the translator will write on another page and staple it, but you can add an extra page if you want..i even send stationary/blank cards to my teen girls so they can write to their friends and family. if you have an “Ollies bargain outlet” i have found several spanish paperback thin storybooks.
That’s great that you’re a new sponsor! What a blessing to your child and, though you may not realize it yet, what a blessing it will be to you and your friend and your Sunday School Class! My child is also in Burkina Faso. In a recent letter she commented on Easter and mentioned that though she is not a Christian (maybe Muslim, maybe other?), she had been with several Christian friends and had seen the Jesus film with them, and she was powerfully moved. I had not known what her religious background was, so this is now an obvious opening for me to pursue but also a time to prayerfully consider how to gently share Christ with her over time. All of my other children live in Christian environments so this is a bit of a challenge. I’ve only been her sponsor for six months so I want to proceed slowly, but I think that loving on her, sharing pieces of my own faith occasionally, perhaps an appropriate Bible verse once in awhile, and references to special Christian celebrations is right. But mostly simply letting her know that she is valued and loved. I would think that if you involve your Sunday School class, that can be really impactful!
Just a thought, I would hope that as sponsors we would also see the “challenge” of asking a child to share their own ideas about faith and not just our opportunity to “save” her. It is wonderful that the film about Christ moved something in her, but whatever spiritual path she or her family is on should be respected. I wouldl think since the centers are church based though, it will work out just fine in the long run. God bless your new connection with her!
That’s a terrific reminder, Jennifer! And I couldn’t agree more; thanks much! Absolutely I want to respect her and her faith, and the idea of asking her to share it with me is a wonderful way to begin to develop our relationship further. I think that it’s also critical not to make her faith/my faith topic number one, front and center, the most important part of our communication (however important it is to me!). But I do see it as an occasional point of reference as we get to know each other — who we are, what we do, what we like, what we think, what are our dreams, … and what are those precious things in which we have faith. But in every aspect of this I want to show a love and an acceptance of her as a person.
So on the list of things that sponsors are unable to send, it says we can not sent stencils. Does this apply to paper stencils? For instance, I know we can not send plastic ones because we can not send anything plastic, but would a thicker paper one be ok?
heavy paper or very very thin plastic stencils work, i have sent the plastic ones that are almost the thickness of paper and very bendable, i actually tape them to the inside cover of a coloring book
[quote comment=”31090″]Do all countries celebrate Thanksgiving or is it just an American Holiday?[/quote]
The origin is giving thanks for the help the first settlers received from the native Amerindians. Hence the traditional foods eaten being those introduced to the settlers by the native peoples.
Plenty of countries celebrate a Harvest Thanksgiving during the autumn, but essentially thanksgiving as it is celebrated in the US and Canada is tied to the history of those countries.
Harvest in the UK is usually celebrated on a Sunday in church, and does not particularly involve a particular meal or a family gathering, much less a public holiday.
Thank you so much for all the comments!! I and a friend of mine are new sponsors! All these ideas for what/how/when to send things is really helpful. We are also going to try having our kids from Sunday School draw pictures and send them to our child in Burkina Faso, so please pray that goes well! Thanks again!
I also bought clearance cards and
this is the answer I received.
13 Jul 2011
Brett & Jenni Goodlin wrote:
Simple answer is Yes!
I have posted an official response for both USA and Canada folks on our Get Satisfaction page.
Yet someone called and they’re answer was that they weren’t sure at this point
I remember last year, Compassion hooked up with another company to do Christmas cards to unsponsored kids (it was online that you created a card). They were a couple dollars a piece, but someone also provided an address were you can send physical Christmas cards for unsponsored kids. Does anyone have that address? Can you still do this? I bought a bunch of cards on clearance last year for this project.
Hi Lindsey: Here is the info from last year. As far as I know, you can still do it. If LaVerne isn’t doing it this year, or if someone else is heading it up, I’m sure someone from Compassion will let us know ASAP.
“For the cards you would like to send to unsponsored children you can sign it with your name or your family’s name but obviously, you will not have the name of the child so you cannot put that on the card.
Send these cards to this address:
ATTN: LaVerne B., Sponsor Correspondence Team
12290 Voyager Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80921-3668
Please include a cover letter explaining the letters are for unsponsored children.”
Now the online Christmas card drive you mentioned was through DaySpring — those cards went to children at specific child centers in Ecuador. I don’t know if they are doing that again this year — I guess we’ll have to wait and see. BUT, just to let everyone know, if you go to DaySpring’s website and buy something from their “Colors of Compassion” card line, they will donate 6% of the amount directly to Compassion.
Here’s a link to those cards. They are super-cute.:
I’m almost positive it was Dayspring’s site, but the mailing address for them to compassion is probably the same one we use to send correspondence. They were really open us doing it again according to last years comments…just no big mailings to unsponsored kids year round because it is too much for the centers to manage on a regular basis
What is the latest we should aim for getting Christmas items out to the children? I know they start collecting Christmas donations around September. I am thinking mid September for Christmas stuff/packets?
Right now would be the time to send anything for Thanksgiving.
If anybody is interested, I made this sheet to send to my kids to explain Thanksgiving: http://rm.awarenessnetworks.com/5731146401268326880.jpg?size=960x I’m sure there are more creative ways to do it, but this is one idea.
That is such a great idea, thank you for sharing. I am sending that along with some Thanksgiving coloring sheets that I found online. If anyone is interested the website is http://www.pagecoloring.com
thank you Bev. I sponser a 5 year old and was wondering how to explain Thanksgiving to her Your story is perfect. Thanks again and God bless.
Do all countries celebrate Thanksgiving or is it just an American Holiday?
Thanksgiving is All-American……. however a lot of people use the holiday to spread the message of giving thanks for your blessings, sharing your blessings, and reaching out to others. I tell my kids the basics behind the holiday and tell them my family traditions…. and send coloring pages and mazes. 🙂
Whenever there’s a holiday, I usually write about it in my letter. Writing about Thanksgiving is usually fun and allows you to talk about your family and your values.
When writing, I usually say we have a big meal together, we pray, and we give thanks. I might mention the origin of the holiday and one or two favorite foods. I wouldn’t emphasize the size of the meal, or include pics of the table or anything like that.)
It’s just an American holiday on the 4th Thursday of November. I know Canada has Thanksgiving in October. It’s possible other countries have something similar. It’d be a way to introduce our holiday and ask about holidays in their country.
Hi Becky — I always give things 3 months to get where they are going via Compassion. I’ll have cards/stickers/craft items for Christmas in the mail by around September 25.
I think mid october is the $$ deadline. Mailing our goodie envelops probably would benefit from mid Sept. considering even just in our country we have to start a week or 2 early sometimnes
Wow, reading up on some of these comments have been great for getting more ideas of what to send to my 2 sponsored chidren…thanks for that. I do have a question about how to answer my sponsored boy’s question (age 14 from East India). His letter I recieved yesterday asked if I was rich or poor. I am surprised by this question and don’t know how to answer as I assume he means financially rich or poor and I don’t want to discuss this when he lives in such poverty. Any help with how to answer would be greatly appreciated!
HI Traci — I wouldn’t answer in terms of money at all, but use it as an opportunity to talk about the things in life that truly make us rich.
* We know God’s word and we understand his love for us — we are rich in faith.
* We have parents/siblings/children/spouses/neighbors who love us and care for us — we are rich in family and friends.
* We have opportunities to go to school and to increase our knowledge through reading and learning — we are rich in education.
* We live in a country where we can practice our religion openly and without fear — we are rich in freedom.
* We have access to music, art, literature, drama — we are rich in culture.
* We have access to nature – plants, animals, etc. — we are rich in God’s creations.
It may not be the answer your child was looking for — but in some ways I feel it’s the right answer, regardless. 😉
Again, I think it needs to be a combination of both. At 14, a kid wants a more complete answer than “rich in friendship” JMO
Thanks for your replies…. it gives me some ideas on how to answer his question. He is a very bright 14 year old (almost 15) and I want to respect his question, and not ignore it. I was just taken aback a little with his question. It’s good to know this is a typical question someone would ask in India! That makes sense. And I agree that these kids are are richer than we are because of not having much and being so grateful for the little things. I will try and combine both answers in my letter back as Jennifer suggested. Thanks again.
Hi, traci. being from india and having seen a wide spectrum of diffferent socio eonomic classes there- i think the reason your boy would have asked you is just for information. the rich people there can be really very rich- huge homes (the ones here are really at times no comparison), cars, maids helping at home. You can just say soemthing like GOD has given us enough or is supplying all our needs. I am not sure they really mean it the way we would take it- if someone asks us the question here, i would have been taken aback, but I think for him, it is just information.
Along the same lines of saying that it is not always easy but God provides for us is what I would say. At age 14, I think it is fine to say that depending on where people live, money can buy more for some than others, and how those differences help us learn to be grateful….and that sponsorship is an opportunity to share wtih others or something. Over time I have become sensitive to the words “poor” and “poverty” because in many ways that matter more, these children are richer than I am. Their awareness of the things we take for granted like pencils for school, a jumprope, or a first tube of toothpaste for example is immense. I prefer to talk of “limited resources or opportunity”, because you can have little material things and in some ways not be “poor” at all
I just read about the differences between how a Birthday gift and how a Christmas gift is spent, but how does a Family gift work and when is an appropriate time to send one?
I think with a family gift, they meet with the family to decide how best to use the money. I sent a $300 family gift to my first sponsored child’s family (Rwanda girl), and found out they used it to build a new house for the girl’s parents who live in Uganda (the girl lives with her grandma in Rwanda). This was amazing to me that $300 would go so far! I don’t know about an appropriate time to send one… I’ve been trying to send one once per year, which I’ve been doing around Christmas time.
Oh WOW !!!!, I did not know they can do so much with the small money we send. I send my little boy in Burkina Faso only $ 35. He sent me picture of him and his mother with all the things they bought. He got shoe,mat,biscuits,candies,rice,maize and a buchet to carry water.This is bring tears to my eyes every times i look at their picture. I am thanks God for ompassion. I am now sponsoring 4 more kids.
Family gifts all go to the family as well. Someone from the child’s center will help a family determine how best to use it. If you happen to hear within a letter that I child’s family needs something, you can specify it, but in my experience (8 years) the family has never been that specific as to ask directly, Seems like it would be fine to say “I would like to do something special for your family, is there anything that you need that would be helpful?” but I’m not sure. I have heard wonderful stories though of families getting goats, chickens, bicycles and even a new tin roof for their house! 🙂 As always, it requires several monthes to hear back, but if you don’t, they can find out for you when the time comes
Forgot to say that any time is an appropriate time, but I think most of us wait a bit to get to know the child and family first. Getting a larger gift in the beginning, I feel, could be a bit overwhelming for them, but that’s just my opinion. I have been considering one, and I think the largest you can send is $300, not sure about that part though
When giving a gift to your child, your child goes and picks out a gift usually specific to him/her. My child usually goes and buys a dress and shoes with her birthday gift.
When giving a family gift, the money is used on the entire family. I give family gifts around Thanksgiving, and last year the money went to buy soap and rice for the mother to sell.
You can send a family gift at any time, but Compassion asks that you limit it to once a year.
You can choose the amount of the faimly gift. The new website, if you log in, will give you 5 choices of amount, but if you call Compassion or use the form at the bottom of your letter paper, you can select a different amount. Compassion used to ask that the gifts be limited to $ 300; I no longer see this restriction.
With a family gift, the project works will sit down with the family and discuss how to spend it. If you have made a suggestion, they will of course take that into account. Items purchased often include cooking and water storage vessels, a metal wardrobe, a bed, a gas burner (instead of cooking over open fire, which requires gathering firewood and can produce a lot of smoke), a sewing machine (some projects teach sewing to older students), or if the family lives in the country, a goat or chickens which can be used for income generation. As the price of food has gone up worldwide in the past few years (the “global food crisis”), the family may use the gift to buy food. A friend’s child wrote that their roof leaked, so she send funds to repair the roof. I’m sending funds to my girl in India for college. You may find clues in the letters about things the families could use. For example, is a parent sick? Ask things like “how long does it take you to get from your house to the Project? To school?” A bicycle might be useful if the answer is a a half hour. Check out the additional info about the child and the community on the web. For one of my new children it says that one of his duties is caring for animals. I’ve asked in a letter what animals the family has. If he replies that they have one goat, I’m going to send money for another goat. On the community info page on the web, it tells when the planting and harvest months are. My girl in Ghana, according to the web, has parents who are farmers. So if they plant in October and harvest in Feb, I would imagine there is hunger from Nov-Jan, when nothing is ripe. So right about now would be a good time to send a gift they could use for food to tide them over or for more seeds. For people in cities, rainy season (which you can find on the web under community information) might be a difficult time financially because day laborers often can’t get work during the rainy season. Construction stops.
So look for clues in the letters and on the web as to what needs might be. My next family gift is going to be to my boy in Ecuador who has 5 siblings. I don’t know the specific needs but with a family that size, I’m sure they have needs.
Family gifts can be sent anytime, and like birthday gifts, the entire amount goes toward that family, no admin costs. The workers will sit down with the family and decide what is most needed, whether food, repair to the home, or possibly an animal that will provide food (eggs or milk) for the family or to sell, providing extra income.
As far as when it is appropriate to send, there are no set guidelines, so it really is up to you. Perhaps look at the child’s birthday, see where it falls in relation to Christmas, and send it halfway in between, so that gifts are spaced out throughout the year. Or, perhaps if the birthday is in June or July, send a family gift instead of a birthday gift one year–so it’s like a birthday gift for everyone in the family. Or check with the folks at Compassion; you might be able to send both a birthday and a family gift at the same time (but that might also be “too much” all at once, so better to get some additional guidance here).
Where is your sponsored child in Peru? I have a sponsored girl in Peru. I do not hear from her very often and have sent monetary gifts and many mailings. I sure would like to know how she is doing. Wouldn’t it be nice if every sponsored center would post a photo of the kids and what they have been doing weekly? I would love that!
Is there any way to know if a center has a camera? If they don’t it might be a great idea to put money towards a camera to help sponsors stay connected!! How would we find out a site center’s needs??
If you log onto the compassions website, and go to my sponsorship, theres a section under your child’s picture that says “Learn More About (Child’s Name). There are tabs, “Child Information”, “Child Development Center”, “Community”, “Country”. Under Child Development Center, their needs may be listed.
You can also contact the 1800 compassion number, they are very helpful.
Those kinds of things are listed on the site. The 800 number should help though, but they must have a camera or we wouldn’t get any updated photos. Maybe request one to the translator when you write a letter
Hey guys! I sponsor a little boy from Peru and his birthday is September 4th. I sent in a check for 10 dollars about 3 days ago! Ive only been sponsoring him for less than a month or else i would have sent it in alot sooner! im just curious about how they go about giving the gift to my child…and how long it takes to get there, and how i will know if it ever gets there!! i would love any info anybody can give me! I want my sponsorship to be the best it can be!!
Usually mail takes 2-3 months to get to the child. I’m not sure if money can be sent more quickly. I sent a check in March for my little girl’s birthday the first week in June. I received a lovely thank your from her that was dated as being written on 05/23/2011. I sent $20 and it went a long way. Fatima lives in El Salvador and just turned 7. She said her Mom took her shopping and she bought a skirt & blouse, 2 boxes of cereal and a pair of shoes. So your little boy will just get his gift a little late but he will be thrilled and very appreciative. You will hear from him but it just takes patience.
What a blessing you will be to him!
Compassion will send your money to Peru and his project will be notified. Someone at the project will take him shopping and help him pick his present. It will likely be clothes, and some candy with the leftover money. They should be able to get a new outfit for $10. If there is something he really wants like a soccer ball, they might get him that. All of the money you send will be spent on him.
You should get a thank you letter and possibly a photo. Some of the projects have a camera so will be able to take a picture to send you. It will take several months before you get the thank you letter.
Your little boy will love your present even if it arrives after his birthday. It will be exciting for him to be able to go out shopping to get his present.
Watch your mail- in October you should receive a letter from Compassion about the Christmas gifts. Compassion asks that funds be received by October 31 so they can get them to the projects in November and the projects can go shopping ithDecember. The only difference between birthday money and Christmas is that all money you send for the birthday will be spent directly on your child. At Christmas, the money is pooled so the same amount will be spent on each child. That way if one sponsor sends more than another, or a sponsor doesn’t send anything, each child gets a present.
All birthday and family gift $$ is used to buy things in their country and given to the child. Sometimes you will get a picture or they will tell you what they got in the letter. Sometimes its just a “Thank you for the gift”. However, as you get to know someone better, if their is something specific you want the $$ to go for you can mention that they will get it if they can. It can take several weeks for bday thinigs or a few monthes (family gifts). In the end if you don’t hear, you can call compassion and they will ask the field office and find out for you, but no worries about it being late.They will still be grateful Welcome to Compassion!
I’m a newbie here, so I have lots of questions! : )
For those of you that have been sending folders, do you put the things inslide the folder in seperate envelopes? Like, if I wanted to include construction paper for her to draw on, how would I package that inside the folder? And several people have said folders will go through even though they’re a little big. How do you send them? Do you put them in some sort of envelope or just wrap them in brown paper?
Also, I want to send paper dolls with one of my letters. I was going to put them in a seperate envelope inside the letter envelope. Should I seal that envelope or just tuck the flap inside? Do they open the envelopes in customs? I wouldn’t want all the pieces to get lost.
Well, hi there, Erin Ward! This is Linda Tranbarger! Good to see you here, and what a wonderful thing you are doing, sponsoring a child. We’ve been at it since Sara was 13. Email me, or find me on FB or go join OurCompassion.org. You will find lots of friendly sponsors there with lots of experience, questions, and good advice.
Ok, here goes! 🙂 I have never sent folders yet but after 8 years of sending things and not having anything returned, here is what I would do. First remember that every item, if kept separate would need to have both the child’s name and number and yours on them, so if you can put them in separate envelopes that will help a little, but the name/#s have to be on each envelop (as well as on the folder itself. I think stapling pages of construction paper in the the corner with the ID stuff on them would be sufficient. All inside envelopes need to be tucked in because Compassion checks things. The only sealed envelop is the one with Compassion’s address on it that you will send everything in, including the folder. The mailing envelop can be as big as you need it to be. It is only the things for the child that have to meet the measurement and thickness rules.
As far as paper dolls, I have sent thoses too and was told NOT to saparte the clothes but to send each page still in tact with the ID stuff on EACH PAGE. (assumming you are talking store bought ones). If you have more pages than 1/4″ worth, send them in separate packages and just tell her “more clothes are coming!” That way there aren’t as many loose pieces and they have more to look forward to in the mail.
Hope all of that makes sense. It does get easier with practice 🙂
I have two questions is it okay to free stickers of snow flakes that I got from Highlights Mag. Also I have small paper dolls from a magazine and would print them out can I send these on.
I write about our farm animals and their doing for example I plan to talk about tomatoes and the hookworm and how the chickens like them how the chickens first look at them and then beat them up on ground before dining on them.I try to make a story out of the subject and will send on photo of hook worms I also post some of our doings.
Yes, stickers and paper dolls are fine.
What about the padded envelopes like you can get at the post office? Some are very colorful and pretty, but they are padded. Are those ok as long as they are within size restrictions? Thanks!
It’s my understanding that the items we send to Compassion are then put into another envelope and sent so the pretty ones wouldn’t be sent to your child and thus a waste of money for you. Plus mailing a padded envelope would add to the postage Compassion would have to pay, no? Anybody else had experience with this?
Padded envelopes go through okay. I’ve used them many times and have had no issues.
Thank you very much! I just signed up to sponsor and have been brainstorming about stuff I can send within the limitations! My sons (12 and 11) are very excited to get to send our child pictures and letters and such.
How about comic books? They are less than 8 1/2 x 11 x 1/4, but I don’t know if you would call that a ‘book’ or not.
A comic book will go through fine unless for some reason it is so thick it has any type of spine. If it is just together with staples and meets the size and thickness guidelines, it should work. A book with any type of spine would need to be taken apart first, It all has to do with falling under the definition of “docment” to simplify customs stuff. I’ve thought about comics too. Great idea!
Mary Lou, I send my 9 year olds stickers, picture post cards, family photographs, decorative bandaids, book marks, sports cards showing his favorite sport. I send the girl paper dolls, and the boy coloring pages of cars or other boyish things. 9 is a great age.
Thanks for the information about the paper dolls. I have put them in unsealed envelopes and placed them in a larger manila envelope to send to Compassion in CO. Will that work??
Yes Amy, that will work great! I usually put my child’s gift items and letter together in a larger unsealed manila envelope and then put it in a free tyvek envelope that I get from the Post Office to send it on to Compassion in CO. I just wanted to let you know just in case you have larger items that you want to send in the future. The child receives the items in nicer condition because nothing needs to be folded that way!
Thanks! I do have an 8X10 photo mini-poster of pictures from the summer that I wanted to send so I will do it that way!! I wanted to send one photo per season to show typical activities and the weather… Thought it would be cool for my child in Burkina Faso….
I have a question what to i see my child his 9 and i don’t know what to send beside letter and i want to sent him stuff but I am not sure what
Yes, paper dolls are allowed. I’ve sent them to my Compassion girls many times. I think I’ve had as much fun sending them as they have had receiving and playing with them!
I sponsor a girl in Bolivia who is turning 12 yrs old in November. Regarding sending paper dolls: What about store bought ones? I’ve looked for ‘generic’ ones like I had as a little girl, but the only ones I can find are of Disney or other TV characters (ie Disney princesses) I’m concerned that the outfits might appear too fancy. Are those appropriate?
Paper dolls?? Are they allowed? I created them from the inside of a cereal box. I made some clothes from thin paper and sent extra paper for my child to create her own clothes. Since they were naked I put a t-shirt and biker shorts on them (drawn on). Then, I colored the clothes with colored pencils. Lastly, I put my child’s name and number on each piece of paper / cereal box….
I’ve sent a couple sets of homemade paperdolls making sure they stayed under the thickness guideline and they have gone through fine. My child also thanked me for the “toy”.
I know this may be a silly question but this is still very new to me. Our SS class sponsors a young boy in the Philippines. I am currently making him a photo album. I am using 8×11 cardstock and gluing on the picture with info about themselves typed under it. My question is: do I have to fold these in thirds to fit into envelopes Compassion provides, or can I mail them in a larger manila envelope?
Thanks in advance.
You dont have to fold it do fit the envelope Compassion sends you. You can use a larger manilla, or white envelope. Be sure the childs name and number are on each piece of cardstock.
You also have to put your sponsor name and number on each piece. Many make labels with this info on them to make it faster.
The free return labels from Vistaprint are excellent for this purpose! I also have labels for the Compassion UK address, as I don’t get that many return letters from my UK kids yet.
I teach a class of fifth graders and I was wondering if (within the prescribed letter-writing guidelines) it was alright to invite them to write a letter to my child.
I like the idea of getting your class involved. Since compassion kids attend school,I think they would understand the concept of your students writting to them. I agree with Judy about only sending a few at a time or keeping the letters to a couple lines. Your students could also draw a picture that relates to their letter too. There was a blog just a week or two ago about how kids enjoy drawn pictures from us as much as we enjoy the pictures they draw.
I think having your students write to your comassion child will make your compassion child feel very special because your telling your students about him/her and your students are taking time to write.
It is ok to have your class write your sponsored child. What we would ask though is you explain to your child who the people are who are writing to them, why they are writing and stress that you are still their sponsor. You’ll want to do this to make sure that there is no confusion on your child’s part. If you decide to do this you’ll have to let us know how it goes!
I think Judy’s suggestion of only sending a letter or a two at a time is a good one, and that Jacquie’s suggestion of explaing to your compassion child that it’s your students writting and that you’re still there sponsor is also a good one.
I think having your child know that they are so important in your life that you told your students about them and your studnets are taking the time to write them will make them feel very special.
Maybe your students could also include drawings in relation to what they wrote about; a week or two ago, compassion had a blog about how our compassion kids enjoy drawings from us as much as we enjoy receiving them.
My Sunday School class supports a Compassion child in India. Their weekly “offerings” go to a fund for him, and we pray for him regularly. I have sent our child in India many pictures of the children in class, along with special-occasion cards signed by everyone. To send many letters at one time would be too much for the translators, but if one or two of the children want to write a letter, I think that would be okay. Or, you could do a “round robin” letter, where each child writes one brief sentence, something that would be of interest to a child in another country. One could say what his favorite sport is, another could say his favorite food or color, another could tell one thing learned in class that week, and so on.
If there’s a response from someone who works for Compassion, their advice trumps mine. But, for what it’s worth, here’s my two cents:
1) Consider the age of your child. Are they old enough to understand who the writers are? I’ve told my 2nd/3rd graders today about a 10-year-old I sponsor; Michael would probably understand, since I told him last year that I’m a teacher and I’ve told my students about him…if I were to choose to have my students write letters periodically. At other times, I’ve sent a card signed by my Sunday School class for a child’s birthday (the class was primarily younger children who wouldn’t likely write an entire letter).
2) Consider the translators. Regardless of the age of the child receiving the letters, I wouldn’t recommend sending a class set of letters at the same time. Perhaps send a few a month, to avoid overwhelming anyone. (But then, perhaps the letters would be distributed among several people anyway…)
If we get a response, I’d love to know if it’s officially allowed, since it’s a pretty cool idea, and I’d like to have it as an option as a writing assignment/ongoing social studies assignment.
I sent a picture my nephew (aged 5) drew to one of my sponsor kids. I also sent some thank you pictures a friend (who they prayed for) drew for them. I think like Judy said that above all you need to consider the child and the translators. Maybe a good start would be to send a pic of your class and maybe get them to sign a card? As that would not be overwhelming and would give them some context for any letters you sent in future? just a thought 🙂
Im making paper angel ornaments for Christmas…is GLITTER GLUE OK???????? will things with glitter glue on them go thru????
Glitter glue on a paper ornament is okay. 🙂 What a great idea!
I sponsor a boy that is 14 and some of the things I’ve sent are: Pin the tail on the donkey game found at Dollar Store, all parts are flat and folded paper, I found a book at Publix that has pages you can tear out and color individually but then if you put all 8-10 pages together on the wall it makes a giant poster of a castle, etc. I’ve sent card games and divided the cards up into baggies and taped them on a piece of paper so they lay flat, Bingo and Oragami also found at Dollar Store. Dollar Store also has alot of word search/picture search coloring type books and I have lately seen alot of Christian coloring books with puzzles in them there. I also tore out a couple of articles out of Sports Illustrated magazine that was mostly pictures of soccor and football players and games. Also have sent colored note cards, sticky notes and school folders with boy type themes. I usually put all my stuff inside the folder inside separate clear binder sheets after I label it all. I was cutting the folders down to 8 1/2 x 11 but saw on here that the full size ones are ok to send. Just a few ideas. I really enjoy looking for new ideas of stuff to send.
I sponsor two boys, ages 7 and 11. So far, I’ve been sending letters, band aids, coloring sheets and stickers. Any other ideas on what to send the 11 year-old? I assume boys get tired of coloring sheets and stickers after a certain age, but I don’t know what else to send. Any ideas? Thank you!
I also clip things out of the sunday newspaper like snoopy comics (any comics the kids would find funny without needing to be able to read them), soduko, the 3 step how to draws, and they always have find the 6 differences between the two pictures.
I’ve made a laminated tic-tac-toe board and instead of x’s and o’s I did baseball pieces and soccer pieces I think. I drew diagrams to explain how three in a row worked. I thought it was a game that could be easily translated.
I’ve also done matching game using 2 sets of the exact same stickers and index cards.
pictures and post cards, postage stamps, maybe? Sports trading cards, folders with “guy themes’ (heard those pocket folders do go through although they are a little bigger than the 8 x11 rule). It does feel harder as they get older, but I really think they appreciate anything we send
Sports cards might be appreciated. Also, newspaper pictures of sports, bandaides with boy stuff pictured on them. Pucture post cards with subjects that would interest boys ( animals, fishing, hunting, sports, places you’ve gone to).
Can you send your child pencils, pens or markers or are they too thick?
Hi Pam. Unfortunately, you can’t send your child those things. You have to stick to items that fit in the “paper document” category at customs. (Flat, paper, no bigger than 8 1/2″ x 11″ and no thicker than 1/4″.) Chances are your child has access to writing utensils at his or her Compassion center. You can also send a monetary birthday gift or a child gift and request that the child center purchase writing utensils for your child. (My child got colored pencils, among other things, one year for his birthday.)
Is is unusual to not hear anything about a monetary gift sent the end of January? My child is in Haiti and I have been anxiously waiting to hear that it was received. I emailed Compassion 2 times and was told to wait until the end of July and ask again, which I did but have not heard back. Just thought I would ask on this blog since Sarah just mentioned it takes about 4 months to hear back and it has been over 6 now. Thanks!
Karen, please call us at (800) 336-7676. We’ll need to contact the field to find out what was purchased with your gift. We do ask that you wait 6 months to hear back as it takes 2-3 months for the gift to get to Haiti and 2-3 months for the thank you letter to travel back.
Karen, I bet you’ll hear soon! I usually give my monetary gifts 3 months to get to my child – 1 month for them to purchase things and write a response letter – and 3 months for their letter to get to me. (That’s for my kids in Ethiopia.) If you’re on the same timetable and you sent the gift at the end of January, you’d be getting a letter by the end of August. It sounds like Jacquie is on the case, though. 🙂
Karen – Since you’ve been waiting so long I wanted to at least let you know now that I’ll connect you with someone in our contact center first thing tomorrow. We’ll get this figured out!!
No fabric at all. Paper only. Sorry
I know it says no cloth items. Does that restriction include a 5″ square scrap of fabric? How about those appliques that you sew on clothing?
Yep, they go through without cutting them. I’ve been sending them to our Compassion children for a few years now.
I have been sending pretty folders with paper items inside to my sponsored little girl one a month since last Sept. Because of the size restriction I have been cutting them down to the required size. This requires cutting off some of the parts of a picture on the folder and then I must tape the inside pocket to hold items. Although I don’t mind, it sure would be nice to send the folder without ” messing it up” so to speak. I recently read in two compassion bloggers that these slightly larger folders will go through ( one such note was from Lisa) Is this really true because I would hate for them to be rejected if this is not true? The actual size isabout 11 3/4x 9 1/4.
[quote comment=”30238″]On OurCompassion sponsors can network with each other.
I know it can be frustrating, but as others have said, the children are able to purchase so much more for their familes when they buy it in their own country[/quote]
Also that supports the local economy which in the long term will be beneficial to the family, their neighbours, etc etc. It’s not just about the here and now but also about reversing the effects of poverty in any way possible.
I’m so sorry there was a misunderstanding about gifts. I’m a Compassion Advocate and often help at concerts and churches to sign up new sponsors. I realized that we often say that sponsors can send gifts to their sponsored child twice a year. Since we already know those are monetary gifts, I think it didn’t occur to us, unless the prospective sponsor asked more questions, to specify that those are monetary gifts only. Often there is a crowd of people at a concert and we can’t spend as much time with each person as we would like explaining all the ins and outs.
If you didn’t already recevie the brochure “Letters, Gifts, and Your Sponsored Child, please call Compassion at 1-800-336-7676 and request it. It should go to new sponsors.
If you send a monetary gift for birthday or Christmas, you should receive a letter and often a picture showing what the money was used for. (It could take 3-4 months). Someone from the project will take the child shopping, and they will spend the entire amount of your gift- nothing its taken out for administration, etc.
At the end of the day the decision has to be about what is best for the child. It would be lovely for us to be able to send what we want, but it’s not about us. It’s about the children we sponsor. They are the important thing.
Crayons and pencils are a no, but you can send a gift requesting those be purchased for the child.
Also, some sponsors send their gifts along with sponsors that are going on a trip to certain areas. On OurCompassion sponsors can network with each other.
I know it can be frustrating, but as others have said, the children are able to purchase so much more for their familes when they buy it in their own country
I too felt very let down when I found out. I have sponsored 7 children from Compassion for the last 3 years and last year I chose two children from World Vision because I can send them anything at all at any time. I can send clothes, toys, books, toothpaste, etc. If it bothers you as much as it did me, there is always the option of sponsoring from another organization.
I thought that the guilelines for sending packages through World Vision were a little more lenient than Compassion(like you can send balloons and colored pencils) but it had to be able to fit in a 6×9 envelope…is this not the case??
Thanks to all who are responding. I get it now and understand the reasoning behind it all. We as a family will get creative. As far as another organization, we may sponsor another but would not give up on Marcos now.
Again, thanks for all your help !
Blessings to all
Shirley, I just wanted to say thank you for sponsoring. Marcos will certainly be blessed through his sponsorship with you and your family. 🙂
Shirley, I have been a sponsor for over 8 years and still get frustrated with the “paper only” guideline but in my experience, these children recieve it all from the heart. When you send $$ they still see the gift as from you, and lately, I have been getting pics of them in their new clothes, etc. And like the above comment says, getting it in their country does allow them to recieve more.
As an added not to Compassion, I am concerned that I seem to be seeing a lot more comments about new sponsors not understanding the paper guidelines and asking about toys, etc. Are they no longer being told up front that these are the limitations before they sign up? Just wondering, because I never had that confusion as a sponsor?
I agree with Jennifer, sometimes the paper only guideline is frustrating, but what I have learned reading blogs written by former compassion children, etc. is that the letters you write, and the love you show through them, are so much more important than the “gifts” we send. I think we place so much more importance on the “gifts” than the children do. I remember watching one compassion video where the boy had a sponsor who did not write much, and then got a new sponsor, and the new sponsor sent him a letter from each member of the family, and he said how excited he was just to get the letter that he ran around the village shouting “look at my letters”. I love sending my children stickers, coloring pages, etc but I think the most important thing is that we write.
[quote comment=”30251″]I remember watching one compassion video where the boy had a sponsor who did not write much, and then got a new sponsor, and the new sponsor sent him a letter from each member of the family, and he said how excited he was just to get the letter that he ran around the village shouting “look at my letters”. I love sending my children stickers, coloring pages, etc but I think the most important thing is that we write.[/quote]
That was Tony, wasn’t it? Great video that one. I absolutely agree. The most important thing is that we write.
I’ve also seen articles on the Compassion blog about older sponsor children who say they read and re-read those letters, and if when they were first sponsored they couldn’t read, they go back as older children. Those letters are treasured, and they are where we can express our heart to them. That is more important than any amount of “stuff” ever could be.
I’m not sure, but that video had a huge impact on me: it showed me how much my letters actually mean. I’ve become a lot more active about writting letters since.
I started sponsoring and being a correspondence sponsor with Compassion Intl late last year, and every sponsorship/correspondence child I’ve had info from has come with a leaflet explaining the limitations and guidelines clearly. I think possibly some people are getting the wrong idea in their heads and then running with it instead of carefully reading the things they get from Compassion, which is sad but understandable!
I think the children appreciate anything… we get overly worried about kids’ sophistication and forget that what they really want is to be loved, and that they take our gifts in that light. And talking of sophistication – I have been making paper bracelets from origami paper etc to send to my kids, and have been really surprised at the response from friends’ children. I have made animal print ones for my friend’s two boys (8 and 9) and despite them being quite techno-friendly, tv watching, modern Western kids, they were delighted. And to my surprise, the 8 year old actually wanted one of the glittery, pretty ones I’d been making for my sponsor girls! If a Western 8 year old boy can get that excited about a glittery bracelet made of paper… well I think we need to remember that these children are exactly that, children. They want to be loved and they are ready and willing to receive that love from us even in things we, with our developed world standpoint, might feel are not very exciting or special.
Thank you all for your replys. My daughter and I sent out our “packages” today, lots of stickers, coloring book and a long letter from my daughter.
As far as letting us know, this was not clear. We actually understood it clearly that we could send PACKAGES twice a year. One for his birthday and one for christmas. This is why we got so excited and actually went shopping when we got home from Creation Fest for our little guy. His birthday was July 18. It’s hard to get creative with a 4 year old. We are told his favorite toys are cars so we also bought little cars for him. And a lady in our church makes little lapaghans, and we had this for him also. All gathered while waiting for info where to send it to….so when we got word yesterday that we can not send him anything other than paper, we were let down considerably. My 12 year old daughter is the one who sponsors Marcos and it’s hard for her to understand these rules when her heart wants to share share share. We got online and sent him a monetary gift today for his birthday so hopefully he’ll get what he wants when it gets there.
We will continue to get creative with our gifts.
Again, thanks to all who responded.
PS: Are crayons and colored pencils on the “no” list ?
I Am Third
You should find guidelines in the “letter writing kit” you received when you sponsored Marcos, which if memory serves includes the guidelines, but you will find a full (and generally, up to date) list here: https://www.compassion.com/letter-writing/tips-for-mailing-small-gifts.htm
As a broad guideline, remember that your letters and any paper gifts are sent as documents for customs reasons. That’s why so many things are not allowed, though for myself I’m often surprised at the creativity shown when people send things!
They’re not specifically on either list, but I very much doubt that crayons or pencils would go through as documents, I’m afraid.
We are new sponsors of a chld in the DR. What we can not understand is why we can not send gifts other than paper. We want to send a homemade afaghan to our child for his birthday but can’t due to rules. Can someone explain why we can’t send gifts from our heart and can only send money thru compassion.
In addition to what Danielle mentions, there is the difficulty getting things through customs. Sometimes this is a lengthy process, and a whole batch of letters could get held up for weeks because of gifts in the package that the customs officials have to examine and then perhaps assess value on. Compassion might end up having to pay import duty on your gifts.
Also, the cost of shipping overseas is quite high. I recently looked at the US Postal Service website to see about shipping some colored pencils and other supplies to some friends- it was $ 40-50 minimum.
Shirley, I’m so glad you’ve chosen to sponsor with Compassion. I’ve been a sponsor for over 13 years and have visited Compassion in 6 countries. While there may be “rules” that don’t make sense, I can tell you that Compassion loves kids, loves the sponsors, and is very concerned about the sponsor/child relationship. The rules have been set after much prayer and study, getting input from US and overseas workers. Although you may feel money is not a gift from the heart, your child will love and cherish whatever he or she is able to pick out with the money you send, and the child will know you love and care for him.
Shirley, it has to do with the cost. The reason things have to be thin and made of paper is because it is mailed as a document, which keeps the mailing costs down. If they allowed other things and mailing costs went up, less of your monthly contribution would go to your child. Sending gift money through Compassion helps the economy in your child’s country and they are able to get a lot more for the money. Your heart is in the right place! You can make many fun gifts from paper that would be from the heart. Check out ourcompassion.com. There are so many ideas for fun things to send your child.
and Marlene…I make pressed flower note cards. I have some printed. Would you like to see a few, then decide if it is right for your girl. I have the same problem. My teenager is 15, very serious, and sends rather empty content letters. This idea may be a good one for both our girls/ladies. You may feel to email me if you are interested. [email protected] And anyone else interested. I can send some samples …they are all flowers, I have a few with mouse stickers in them for the younger girls.
I think I will mail my young lady some and see what her feedback is.
Shari, I’d love to see – I can always use more ideas! [email protected]
Perhaps some beautiful note cards with envelopes.
I have a girl in Indonesia who will turn 16 in November. I’ve had a hard time knowing what to send to her, as she’s such a serious minded girl. She wants to be a teacher. Often, when i send her money for her birthday, it ends up being spent for the family, even though I’ve sent family gifts as well. I’ve sent paper dolls ( I still liked paper dolls at her age, and designed my own clothes for them), stickers, picture post cards, family photos. i can’t really say that I’ve gotten much feed back from her, so I don’t know if I’m reaching her or not. When I first started sponsoring her she sent me paintings she had done, and wrote wonderful letters, but I haven’t had as satisfactory a relationship with her for a few years now.
Let me know if you come up with some good ideas.
I made my child a notebook. I simply took some lined pages from a small notebook I had and attached a cover I made out of scrap booking paper. You can even put her name on it. If she goes to school she can use it there or she can use it as a diary or something. Just make sure it´s not too thick.
Does anyone have any ideas of what to send to a 15 year old girl in Indonesia? I would like to send her something for her birthday, but everything I have read about being sent to sponsored children has seemed to childish for her.
Our local Michael’s has begun carrying some really cool holographic bookmarks for about $3-$4. They have four different kinds, each with a different real animal (not animated – elephant, dolphin, horse or lion, I think) that “moves” when you move the bookmark. Even the adults like them and I wouldn’t mind having one for myself but I’m sure my daughter would end up taking it from me. I’m sure a teenage girl would love one of these, especially if she goes to school. They are a little thicker than a regular bookmark, but I’m pretty sure they are within the 1/4″ guideline. I don’t know for sure if they’d go through, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t… it’d be worth a try. Anyway, it’s just a thought…
Yes, I have seen those and they are very nice. I sent one with a horse to the boy we support.
I have a blog post about paper bracelets that might fit the bill: http://familiar-little-frog.blogspot.com/2011/07/paper-bracelets.html
I don’t know what you have already sent her in the past, but here’s an idea. You probably have seen all the previous posts and examples of lapbooks, theme folders that you make with a manila folder (cut down to 11 inches); lots of examples are online. You could do a lapbook with an international theme, and include world maps (Staples has a nice laminated one 8 1/2 x 11; Lakeshore Learning has a poster-size world map that is folded down to correct size; or just use maps that you print from the internet, including maps of time zones); stickers of flags of the world (from Trend Enterprises or Oriental Trading, for example); a few cards of scenes of various countries (Target has sets in their dollar section); some calendars have lovely international pictures; and/or educational cultural coloring pages from the internet (crayola has some great pages here: http://www.crayola.com/free-coloring-pages/search.cfm?txt_search=flags ); bookmarks with stickers or flags or other scenes; whatever you can find to include in the folder that will go with an international theme. For instance, at Lakeshore Learning, I found a booklet entitled Breads of the World. You could even find some pictures online and make your own booklet. You could decorate the folder with borders (see Trend Enterprises borders of flags, or people of the world). I have done birthday-themed, flower-themed, and butterfly-themed lapbooks for my kids.