Tag Archives: Charities

Nov 10 2010

Walking in solidarity with our CFCA sponsors

By Ruth Hubenthal, CFCA Sponsor Services

I love talking to sponsors. Not only do I work at CFCA, but Iím a sponsor too.

Sponsors are hard-working, extraordinary people with big hearts and open minds.

You will see many stories about how amazing our sponsored members and their families are, about how they struggle to overcome difficulties, and live day to day to raise their families. But you know, CFCA sponsors are just as amazing.

Ruth Hubenthal

Ruth Hubenthal

You see, sponsorship is not just about sending a monthly amount of money, although this is very important. It is about having a respectful relationship with someone you may never meet.

So many sponsors have lost a loved one, but rather than shutting down their hearts, they open them up and allow sponsored members and their families a share of that love and compassion.

That takes courage. That takes passion. And I am fortunate enough to hear these stories every day.

The amount we as sponsors send each month may not be a whole lot. However, to sponsors like me who have babies, or to sponsors on a monthly pension, it takes budgeting, commitment and patience to send that amount.

But sponsors see what good stewardship CFCA dedicates itself to, and they know in their hearts that itís the right thing to do. Itís worth every penny.

Our president and co-founder, Bob Hentzen, is in the midst of his walk from Guatemala to Chile to show solidarity with sponsored members and their families.

Everywhere you go in the CFCA world, solidarity walks are taking place.

Sponsored members and their families in the Philippines, India, Mexico, Kenya and other countries are all walking to show that they are a true part of this community of compassion.

But you know what? They are also walking in solidarity with their sponsors.

They are walking to show their support of the incredibly brave, generous people who are giving them a second chance ñ their sponsors.

They are walking in solidarity with you.

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Oct 25 2010

Walk2gether brings out hope on the highway

Eddie Watson, a member of the CFCA communications department, joined Walk2gether in Ecuador. Hereís his perspective on how the walk shows hope in action, especially among those living in poverty.

ìÖtribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappointÖî ó Romans 5:3

Eddie Watson, from CFCA communications department

Eddie Watson, a member of the CFCA communications department, joins Walk2gether in Ecuador.

At CFCA we talk about hope a lot. Itís in the name of our sponsorship program: Hope for a Family.

It appears in many of our publications, and itís posted throughout our headquarters in Kansas City, Kan. Itís at the heart of what this organization is all about.

But have you ever actually witnessed hope?

I hadnít until I visited Ecuador and walked with Bob and CFCA families on Walk2gether.

Hope was everywhere. Right now, somewhere in Peru, hope is walking along the right edge of a highway in the middle of a desert. Cars are whistling right on by.

In fact, there is a hope trail that stretches from Guatemala south more than 5,000 miles to Peru.

I read the scripture passage cited above on my flight home to the U.S. It jumped off the page at me, and I thought it illustrated what I experienced on Walk2gether and what the walk is really all about.

The families CFCA serves face tribulations every day, challenges far more intense than walking the 21 or more miles a day on the walk. CFCA serves families who walk several miles every day just to get water.

No, walking wasnít challenging for the beautiful people who met us as we passed through their communities.

What was challenging for many of them was walking the distance in flip flops or school dress shoes, because it was all they had.

But they didnít complain. They had far more character achieved through lives in the rural mountains of the Andes; character developed working for $7 a day on someone elseís land; character achieved by having to work 12-hour days to feed your three kids and send them to school, to give them a better future.

Borja Homero

Borja Homero, the father of a sponsored child from Mira.

Two sponsored children participate in Walk2gether.

I was walking in a rain shower with Bob early one morning, feeling bad for all the families with us getting drenched.

I began thinking about all the money I spent on the gear keeping me warm and dry: $140 Gortex-lined boots, a $40 fleece jacket, a $50 rain jacket.

We came to a resting point, and we lined up to greet the families and thank them for joining us. I wish you could have seen their faces.

They were so excited to meet Bob and so proud to walk for the organization. Nothing was going to stand in their way. This was one way they could give back.

As much as Bob is walking to show CFCAís love, these families are walking to say ìthank you.î They are thrilled to be on the journey.

I saw the hope in their eyes.

Their hope makes my food taste different. It makes my showers shorter, my ìI love youísî better, and makes me want to jump out of the bed in the morning.

The hope I saw makes me want to give my best.

Bob says this is what the walk and CFCA are all about. He says we should ìbe at our best for the poor because they deserve it.î

It started making more sense to me how a 74-year-old man can dream of walking 8,000 miles with these families. He sees hope.

I was privileged to see it. The worldwide CFCA community is beginning to see it, too, as we spread our message to more and more people.

My dream is for everyone to see it.

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Oct 21 2010

From beneficiaries to partners: How CFCA views sponsored friends

Dan Pearson, operations/program development director for CFCA, explains how CFCA programs are moving toward greater autonomy and partnership with those being sponsored. Rather than seeing them as “beneficiaries,” we see them as “partners.”

Nonprofit organizations often divide their stakeholders neatly into two categories: donors and beneficiaries. But CFCA has always viewed things a little differently.

Dan Pearson

Dan Pearson

CFCA has always seen sponsors as more than simply donors. Sponsors are first and foremost human beings with a desire to connect with other human beings.

Part of CFCA’s mission is to give sponsors a way to grow in love through a personal connection to a child or elderly person in another part of the world. In that sense, sponsors are also beneficiaries of sponsorship because we can receive emotional and spiritual benefits as we provide encouragement and material support to a friend in another country.

Similarly, CFCA has never seen sponsored children and their families as simply beneficiaries. The word “beneficiary” implies someone who passively receives assistance from another person. But sponsored members and their families are not passive. In fact, they are some of the most active people I have met.

Sponsored children often get up early and walk long distances just to receive an education. Their parents work long days (often in jobs that are physically demanding) to provide for their childrenís basic needs. Yes, these families benefit from the program. But they are much more than beneficiaries.

Sai and his family

Sponsored child Sai, second from right, and his family in Hyderabad, India.

Part of the message in CFCA’s Hope for a Family program is that the families of sponsored children are our partners.

The mother of a child partners with a sponsor to achieve a childís goals for the future. She is a trustworthy partner because:

a) she has demonstrated her absolute commitment to her child’s future,

b) she understands her child’s unique gifts and the particular challenges her child faces, and

c) she is extremely skilled at overcoming challenges.

The proof of a motherís trustworthiness as a partner in the development of her child is in her tireless dedication. She spends nearly every waking hour dedicated to the cause of her children. Then she goes to bed, wakes up early, and starts over again.

The label “beneficiary” doesnít do justice to that kind of active dedication to a cause.

When one sponsor and one family join forces to change one child’s life, all other labels dissolve. They are simply human beings working together to make one small piece of the world a better place.

We welcome your feedback! In the comments below, please tell us how you view the “beneficiaries” vs. “partners” distinction. If you’re a sponsor, have you always viewed sponsorship as a way to partner with others? Why or why not?

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