Dec 17 2010

ëHow big a difference CFCA makes …’

We welcome comments from people returning from individual sponsor visits about their experiences. Hereís a written evaluation from Scott VanDerveer, who recently visited Cochabamba, Bolivia, to meet his sponsored friend.

Did you visit your sponsored friend? Yes.

How did you coordinate the visit? I called CFCA and arranged the visit through the very kind and helpful coordinator in Kansas City. She followed up with an email that put me in touch with Eufronia (the Cochabamba project coordinator).

Fileberto and Scott

Fileberto and Scott

What was the primary purpose for your trip (to see your sponsored friend, visiting family, business, personal travel, etc.)? I was studying Spanish at the Maryknoll language school in Cochabamba for six weeks, so that allowed me to be in the area long enough for a visit to be logistically possible.

Did the assistance provided by CFCA Kansas City staff sufficiently prepare you for this trip? If not, please tell us what we could have done differently. Absolutely. Thank you, CFCA Kansas City Staff! :-)

Was the CFCA staff at the project site helpful and knowledgeable? I was so impressed with Eufronia and her colleagues. She came to the language school with a translator to pick me up.

They took me (via a hired cab which they contracted for the entire visit) to the CFCA project office where I met Fileberto (my sponsored child) and his social worker. It was a Sunday and these three adults were giving it entirely to Fileberto and me so we could have a rich and fruitful visit.

I am so, so grateful to them. To me, they are saints.

Please describe your visit and how the trip affected you personally. I was profoundly affected. It is a day that I will never forget and one that will affect my life from now forward.

Even though I had read his profile, I didn’t have a clear concept of just how profoundly poor Fileberto’s family is. Nor did I realize that without my sponsorship, Fileberto would not be able to attend school.

The impact my involvement makes on his life blew me away!

I also didn’t know until I met him that he sees me as more than a sponsor; I’m his godfather (padrino). That took me by storm.

Fileberto and Scott

Scott takes home some gifts from Fileberto’s family as the two say goodbye.

As a seminarian in training for ministry, I have lots of opportunities to talk about CFCA and my experience. I have spoken about this to all of my friends, to 100 teenagers and a Catholic junior high youth rally, and soon I will write an article on my visit for our local diocesan Catholic newspaper.

Everyone I tell is moved and expresses interest in becoming sponsors. I know of two who have already sponsored because of my story … and more are on the way.

Please share any additional comments or suggestions about your visit.

I am THOROUGHLY impressed with CFCA. Only by going to a project in person can someone truly understand how big a difference CFCA makes in the lives of the poor you serve.

God bless you all!

Note: Scott is a seminarian in training for the Roman Catholic priesthood for the Diocese of Albany, N.Y. He hopes to be ordained in 2013. He also wrote about his trip, “Knowing the Poor,” in The Evangelist, the official publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.

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