Unbound Awareness Trips
Sep 24 2013

Inspired to action: Sponsors become volunteers after awareness trip

David and Judy with sponsored friends.

David and Judy Dames pose for a photo with their sponsored friends and their friends’ family members.

In March, David and Judy Dames stepped aboard a plane on their way to Costa Rica.

CFCA sponsors since 2003, the Dames were taking their first CFCA awareness trip.

One of the most memorable moments of their trip was the visit to the Guanacaste province northwest of San Jose.

“We were on Highway 1, the Pan American Highway, which was under construction,” David said.

“As the bus slowed and pulled off the side of the road, dust flew everywhere.

“But as we came to a stop, the rocky and rutted dirt lane leading back to the community we were to visit was filled with people.

“Adults and children carried balloons and homemade signs.

“As we stepped off the bus they were clapping and cheering!”

Dames Costa Rica group photo.

David and Judy’s first view of a community of sponsored friends.

David and Judy met Adrian, 15, whom they have sponsored since 2010.

It was a letter from him that spurred them to visit Costa Rica.

In the letter, Adrian wrote that he prayed his sponsors would one day come to visit him.

Judith and Adrian

Thumbs up: Adrian meets Judy, his sponsor.

They also met 5-year-old Richany on the trip and sponsored her.

“Stepping off that bus, children who had never met us took our hands to escort us during our brief visit there — and never once let go,” David said.

“Aged men came up to us, looked us right in our eyes, and said humbly, ‘Gracias, senor.'”

“We were received as honored guests with a pure and humble gratitude.

“The staff explained to us that the people were expressing their thankfulness to us even as stand-ins for their own sponsors who couldn’t be there.”

David and Judy experienced firsthand the living situations of the sponsored friends and were in awe of the welcome they received, despite the families’ lack of economic means.

They had gone to Costa Rica with a desire to finally meet Adrian and returned with a mission.

“As you can guess,” David said, “Judy and I came home with a passion to encourage others to hear and see what we have seen.”

They contacted CFCA headquarters after the trip to discuss how they could help more.

They wanted to give a presentation to their friends and family to try to find sponsors for children and aging friends on CFCA’s waiting list.

David and Judy decided to hold a wine and cheese party, and Judy put together a PowerPoint presentation with the photos they took on the trip.

Along with the PowerPoint, they also shared some of the videos from CFCA’s YouTube channel.

Their event had a great turnout with 25 attendees.

They even found new sponsors for six of the 10 children whose information they had displayed at the event.

David and Judy host a wine and cheese party.

Judy and her friends discuss sponsorship after the presentation.

Most importantly David and Judy’s presentation started a serious discussion.

They were able to share their life-changing experience with others and get them talking about what they can do to make changes in the world.

David and Judy don’t plan to stop there.

They shared that they plan to hold a garage sale and donate the proceeds to CFCA.

They are also working with their local parish and others in their area to try to share their experiences with as many people as possible.

With their passion and enthusiasm, they are helping find sponsors for children, youth and aging friends who need encouragement and support to reach their dreams.

Have your own stories about volunteering? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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8 thoughts on “Inspired to action: Sponsors become volunteers after awareness trip”

  1. David and Judy,

    There should be a support group for sponsors who participate in the MAT trips because of the overwhelming impact it has on our lives. I went on 2012 Philippines MAT and have not been the same since. My wife and I now sponsor two additional friends, one of which is in India, who I meet in a couple of weeks during the India MAT.

    It is ideal that you went together to share such an amazing experience. My wife is a school teacher and the January and October MATs are not realistic for teachers. The next child we sponsor will be in a country where we can make a trip together.

    After returning from my MAT, I began to serve as the CFCA coordinator for our church. This isn’t a typical position but my experience and enthusiasm makes it worthwhile in helping other sponsors less familiar with the CFCA website, such as sending e-letters, or other questions. I’ve found some parishioners have questions or issues but aren’t comfortable calling or emailing the CFCA office, so I act as a facilitator to get things started. It has been very helpful to our parishioners. All our CFCA sponsoring parishioners know who I am and that I’m willing to help. Not every sponsor’s experience is the same and I try to help make it the best it can be.

    I am also our church’s webmaster so CFCA has a prominent place on our homepage and I post letters to and from some our sponsored friends on a separate CFCA page. I frequently post pictures and stories of children in need of a sponsor. Talk to your priest or webmaster to see if something can be added to your website. You can see what I mean at our webpage at http://www.stjeromennva.org. The CFCA module is on the right side of the homepage.

    I’m very pleased you now share the same experience as the rest of us in the MAT participant’s “support group”. Welcome aboard.

    1. I went to your website and putting unbound on the front, gave me an idea. I’m the webmaster for the Knights of Columbus and will do the same thing you did. What a wonderful idea. Our council has sponsored one young man and he “graduated”. And for the past three years then the council have adopted a young girl. The knight who got us involved moved to another city and I became the contact and I’m glad that I did. I’m constantly talking it up for knights themselves to adopt a child…and need to take this to another step! Always glad to see other ideas. http://kofcknights.org/CouncilSite/?CNO=12963
      It is my desire to get all 144 councils in Virginia to adopt just one child! And who knows, perhaps all the councils world-wide might adopt at least one child.

      1. We’re so glad you like the website, George. We really appreciate all your enthusiasm as well. It really would be amazing if all the councils sponsored a friend. We know several around the country already do.

        Thanks for sharing!
        -Jordan Kimbrell, Unbound Writer/Editor

  2. David and Judy,

    Thank you so much for sharing our trip with the whole CFCA community.
    You efforts after the mission trip are an inspiration to all of us.

    God Bless!

    Eric and Mary Baker. CFCA Costa Rica MAT 2013.

  3. Dear Dave and Judy,
    Thank you for sharing our experience. As I read and saw the pictures it brought back the most fabulous memories. I was also changed by our experience and I can’t wait to go back. Christine Macejka is responsible for my involvement and I am forever grateful. We have been talking about the possibility of going again next year so if we do, I would love to see you again. You came up with a great means of taking the message to your friends and it worked. I will use that approach the next time. May God Bless You Always.

    Much Love, Jose

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