Well, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t include a blurb about child sponsorship. I joke that this is my drug of choice. We sponsor quite a few kiddos, through different organizations. I *highly* recommend this as a way to feel that you are making a very real difference in the lives of children.
Seriously: my impression of myself as a human being changed the second I signed on the line to sponsor my first child. If you catch yourself despairing about the state of the world, the latest headlines, or wonder whether you are making any sort of difference in the world, try this out. It is a relatively small amount per month, and makes a HUGE difference in the life of one child (and actually, through them, their family, community, and future children–many sponsored kids go on to sponsor when they are adults.).
Here are the organizations we sponsor through:
Compassion International: We sponsor many kids through this Christian organization, headquartered in Colorado Springs. Compassion takes very good care of their sponsors, with a blog, several Facebook groups, and a support portal that allows your to ask (and answer) questions. Compassion also recognizes that the relationship formed between the sponsor and the child is as important as (maybe more important than) the funds sent, so they make letter writing extremely easy, with an online letter writing tool, and the option to have all of your correspondence sent electronically. Physical letters are sent to the headquarters in Colorado, so it’s just “regular” postage. Love ’em! Cost: $38/mo.
World Vision: Another Christian organization, World Vision is often at “Ground Zero” when disasters strike just about anywhere in the world. They also make letter writing easy (and fun!) by periodically sending little premade cards. Mail is sent to the country office where the child lives. Cost: $39/mo.
His Hands for Kenya: This is a little grassroots organization that has come alongside a school in Nairobi, Kenya. Our growth over the years has been phenomenal! The Director, Fanuel, is clearly an angel on earth. A unique feature of this organization is the ability to buy gifts for your kiddos from the online store, which enables the items to be purchased locally and therefore to support the local economy–and you get a photo of the child with your purchase! Cost: $12.50/mo primary student; $20/mo secondary student
Children Incorporated: When I started sponsoring, I was all about Africa and South America, and I often heard pushback like “there are poor kids in America; why should we be sending money to other countries?” Well, good news, Americans, Children Incorporated has US sponsorships–inner city, rural, and Native American! An advantage to US sponsorships is that you can easily send actual gifts to your kiddos. Letter writing can be sporadic: I have two little girls in Kentucky; one writes fairly often (the sweetest letters ever!), and one hardly ever writes. But CI does have a blog that lets you know what’s going on with the organization in the region you are working with, so that helps with feeling connected. Cost: $28/mo
Women for Women: This is a unique organization. You are paired with a “sister” in a war-torn country. Your sponsorship provides her with a year-long program of classes and a small savings account that she receives on graduation. Many of the women pool together and start businesses with their savings from the program. Currently my sister is Rachael in Nigeria. She is my eighth! Letter writing is possible, but I’ve only gotten letters from one of the women I sponsored, and those came after she’d graduated! Still, it’s a good organization, and definitely making a difference for women in these parts of the world. Cost: $35/mo
If an ongoing sponsorship isn’t your thing, all of these organizations happily accept donations as well!