Dec 8 2009

When sponsors get creative

Marcia painting at Rozelle CourtMarcia Willman is a painter and a CFCA sponsor and employee. Her love for her two sponsored friends is evident because she positively lights up when she talks about them. She is passionate about helping them so she used her creativity to extend beyond the canvas by selling her paintings to raise money to help her two friends. Marcia’s story was featured on KMBC-TV, a local Kansas City news station.

We applaud Marcia’s creative idea to raise money to help her sponsored friends. But Marcia’s not alone in using her hobbies to benefit those living in poverty. Here are some other sponsors who took a creative approach to raising awareness and funds for CFCA:

Paige Shortal sent a message about her sponsorship experience to members of her parish and then prepared a presentation during a Thanksgiving Mass.

“Angel Lady” Debra Dryja uses the profits from her craft sales to pay for her sponsorship of Regine, a girl living in the Philippines.

Hunter Hardin wore a CFCA jersey when he competed in an Ironman triathlon. He asked friends and family to support his effort and raised enough money to sponsor an older student.

Watercolor artist Joy Helfrich promotes CFCA at his art shows through various brochures and printed publications.

Ted Dauphin sets up displays at county fairs, city events and other similar activities.

Helen Stevens takes CFCA brochures with her during her frequent travels and drops them off at Catholic churches.

These are just some of the ones we know about! Thanks to all our CFCA fans who share this organization with others.

Leave a comment below with your own experiences — we’d love to hear your stories and ideas to help spread the word of CFCA.

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Mar 13 2009

Letters + watercolors = land for a family

By Marcia Willman, CFCA director of child services

Kinya standing next to her sheepAt 11, Kinya knows how important an education is for her future because she is growing up where there often isn’t one.

One day I received a letter from Kinya that changed both of our lives. She wrote, ìI’m now at a new school Ö This is because we moved after eviction. I’m still working hard.î I knew that Kinya, her mom and two older brothers were squatters on government land at the foot of Mount Kenya, but this word, eviction, caught me by surprise.

It is obvious that Kinya is loved deeply by her mom. Kinya is a joyous child. She is a good story teller. She shares her life with me in every letter that she writes. Her stories bring us together and build the bonds of our friendship. So when I heard that word eviction, I knew I had to help her.

I chose to sponsor Kinya because she is being raised by a single mother who struggles to put food on the table and pay rent because she can find occasional odd jobs. I know the challenges of being a single mom because I am one, too. Thus, I feel compelled to help another woman and mother in less fortunate circumstances provide the most basic needs of food and shelter for her family.

I have been painting with watercolors for years. I never considered marketing or selling my art until trying to figure out a way to help Kinya. I finally realized that I could use my God-given talent to help my friend.

For more than two years I have been on a mission to sell my paintings. Along the way, I won the right to call myself an artist. I send the proceeds from my art sales to help Kinya’s family. Last April Kinyaís family was able to purchase half an acre of fertile, productive farm land.

Ann radiates happiness.Kinya’s mom, Ann, immediately planted row after row of corn and potatoes to take advantage of the pending rainy season. Ann proved to be hard-working and industrious. Along the way, she proudly rose to the role of provider. While weeding with a hoe in hand, Ann beams in the photos I received from Project Timau. Annís smile demonstrates her strength to overcome adversity when given the opportunity. It shows she believes her family has a future.

So, Kinya’s house was built. Ann’s first crops were harvested. And, Kinya’s family bought two sheep because they were able to feed themselves and generate enough income by laboring on their own land. Along the way, Kinya found comfort and a safe haven from eviction. ìAt last I’m enjoying rains in a nice house that doesn’t leak. Thanks a lot for making my life happy Ö You are part of my life, I cherish your care.î Once again, I received another letter from Kinya that changed my life. It feels wonderful to be an artist, to help another single mom and to be cherished by Kinya!

You can see Marcia’s paintings by visiting her Web site, watercolorsforacause.org.

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