When I first started sponsoring Vitoria, she was 5 years old. She drew me pictures of flowers and I sent her princess stickers. But then, before I knew it, she was a teenager. Gone were the crayon drawings and glittery stationary.
I could have mourned the loss of those sweet letters. But instead, I decided to embrace the new season Vitoria and I were entering. I fumbled through a year of letters until we finally figured out our new rhythm. She told me about her dreams. What she wanted to be when she grew up.
I watched Vitoria grow up through those letters. And I’m so glad I didn’t give up until that very last letter I wrote Vitoria two years ago when she graduated from the Compassion program.
I want to help you not give up. No matter what age of the child you sponsor, we’ve got some ideas for you to make letter-writing just a little easier! Just scroll down to the right age and start writing!
What do you say to a toddler?
- When you sponsor a toddler, your letters are primarily to his or her caregiver.
- Ask the child you sponsor’s parents about their life. What job do they have? What is their home like? Tell them about your neighborhood and daily life.
- Ask the parents about their child. What is his personality like? What’s her favorite food?
- How can you pray for the family? Follow up when they give you specific prayer requests.
- Share about your family and send family photos – from one family to another!
What do you say to a school-age child?
- Encourage him or her in their studies. Ask him his favorite subject and share what your favorite class was in school. Let her know you’re praying for her studies.
- Kids love the weather! Don’t ask us why! Tell the child you sponsor about the weather where you live – even better if you can send a picture of your family enjoying the snow – or the beach!
- Do you have pets? Did you have any when you were their age? Kids love animals too (and pictures of them!)
- Tell the child you sponsor about your family – your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews.
- Make sure to ask about his or her family – and let them know you’re praying!
What do you say to a teenager?
- The youth you sponsor is thinking about his or her future, a lot! Tellthem about what you do for a living and ask what they want to do when they grow up, and make sure you encourage them in that dream!
- This is the key time to let him or her know you’re praying for them. There’s a lot of pressure to drop out of school and work – be his or her biggest cheerleader!
- Ask about his or her studies, and encourage them in their education. Tell them about the things you loved about school – share your struggles too so they feel “normal” in what they’re experiencing.
- Maybe you’ve amassed a lot of letters from him or her by now – when you can, look up recent letters in My Account and reference people and places they’ve mentioned so they know you’re interested in their life!
What do you say to a young adult?
- Keep being a cheerleader! Encourage him or her in their studies, their vocational training, and pursuing their dreams.
- Continue to share verses, reminding the young adult you sponsor that God has a plan and a purpose for them. Tell them about verses that have impacted you in your own walk.
- Young adults probably ask more questions in their letters – make sure you take a look at their last note and answer any questions they may have had for you. (Don’t forget you can look at recent letters in My Account!)
- Keep sending photos – they like seeing your family grow and change!
- In these last years of sponsorship, you have the opportunity to speak words of encouragement and hope – what a privilege for you as a sponsor!
For more understanding on what is appropriate and not appropriate to share in your letters, check out the blog, “What Can I Share in Letters to the Child I Sponsor?”