Saturday, May 17, 2008

On Sponsoring a Child in Need


It's been heartening to read comments left after my posts about Huwaida and the Yasuni rainforest. I certainly wasn't alone in thinking about sponsoring a child in another country, thinking about it so much I yearned to do it, while deferring the decision. There are so many worthy causes and organizations working on behalf of them. It can get dizzying deciding where to send contribution dollars, and there was a time when I donated from my credit cards which really got out of control. About 15 years ago I was in counseling for a short time and got a great "tune-up" from an astute therapist. Debt was only one of my issues, but he weighed it more heavily than I did at the time. In our last session he offered advice for the first time in our counseling relationship, a kind of parting checklist that included pay yourself first. Oooh, how hard that sounded to me but I nodded in agreement. Funny how his words stuck, however. Live and learn.

The monthly donations to the two children we sponsor through Plan USA are budgeted and debited directly from Mike's paycheck. I have gone beyond the $10-twice-a-year limit on gifts at times, but not to excess and actually the gift shop at the organization's website includes gifts that exceed their limit by a bit anyway. What I'm saying is that it's workable for us to do the sponsorships and support our favorite environmental groups, without going into debt as I had in my past. Mike refers to it as "being blessed to be a blessing." If others find they are in a similar position it might add the charm and joy to your lives that it has to mine to become a part of a sponsorship program.

My new friend Francessa in Austria commented that she has sponsored eight children since 1983 through another organization. I wish I'd had that many years of letters, and drawings, and love you can feel just by thinking of the families who have this special tie to your life!

I began this post with the intention of making it the piece about our little guy, Wellington, in Ecuador. Next post will be about him for sure. In the meantime, if you are looking for a quirky movie for the weekend there is one that features Plan USA in the plot. In the 2002 movie About Schmidt, Jack Nicholson's character finds solace in the midst of life-changing chaos from his sponsorship through Childreach, now known as Plan USA. The organization was, until recent years, known in the states as Childreach and they still own the name. They changed it to Plan USA to coordinate the name with the organization worldwide (personally, I still like the name Childreach better!).


photo: Vancouver Sun

6 comments:

Honour said...

I really appreciate your three last posts Lydia ... especially your knowledge about the politics of the countries that these children live in. I work with refugees right now, and you can't work with the families unless you know about the politics that have affected them ... and learning more and more about *global* politics has changed my life. Look forward to hearing about Wellington (I love the names they pick in that area of the world, when I worked in Peru - I came across beautiful baby boys named Edson and Carrington ... I might have to post a picture on my blog just for you.)

Lydia said...

Honour,
I will love seeing a picture of Peruvian children on your blog! It sounds like you have been fortunate to travel and your current job is inspiring. Yes, learning about *global* politics is so important. Are you aware of any websites that offer an updated overview of exactly this topic? I click on BBC headlines daily and it does a fair job of coverage, but I'd be excited to find a site devoted just to keeping track of global political issues.
Lydia

francessa said...

lydia, thanks for your kind remarks, but please don't overpraise me - there were times in those years when there were long (too long) spans between the letters and it was real hard to keep all this up.

There's a website I consider important, because it wants to "aggregate, curate, and amplify the global conversation online – shining light on places and people other media often ignore", the
Global Voices Online

Lydia said...

Francessa,
I just spent some time at Global Voices and what a global information goldmine it is! Thanks much for including the link in your comment.
Lydia

a little bird said...

great post. I am going to look into sponsoring a child, I really admire you for your far reaching, caring attitude.

Honour said...

Dear Lydia - I'm like you ... I just try to look at alternate sources of news (BBC) ... here in Canada, CBC ... I also used to pop into that global voices online that francesca suggested. How good that she provided that hint :) ps. thanks for your visits and kind words on my blog !

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