Writing letters
Jul 6 2013

Letter-writing tips from CFCA sponsors!

A group of sponsors shares their tips for writing letters to their CFCA sponsored friends!

Check out these tips from four sponsors!

For many friends in our program, a sponsor’s letter may be their only piece of encouragement.

A group of children in Colombia were asked what they wanted to know about their sponsor.

All five answered that they wanted to learn more about their sponsor and see a photo.

Sending a short, encouraging paragraph and a snapshot may seem like a small thing, but it can make a world of difference for someone struggling to stay in school or coping with the illness of a loved one.

Check out these letter-writing tips from four CFCA sponsors!

CFCA awareness trip

Paul visits with sponsored friends on a CFCA awareness trip.

Paul Weatherford, Kansas

Paul Weatherford has been a CFCA sponsor for more than 10 years and sponsors three children in the Philippines.

Since I started sponsoring, I have enjoyed sharing many family events and activities in letters to my sponsored friends.

I have also enjoyed reading their letters and commenting on what they share with me.

If my sponsored friends tell me about how they participated in an event at school, for example, I comment on this and praise them for their participation.

Often they write about how they help out with family chores. I always praise them for their desire to help each other.

I thank them for including me in their prayers. I also let them know I pray for them and their families.

A picture of you and your family can express so much. A child living in a warm climate will be fascinated with pictures of snow or animals from your area.

Once you receive that first letter from your sponsored youth or elderly friend, you’ll be hooked and eager to learn more about the lifestyle and activities of your new friend.

After a few letters exchanged between the two of you, it will become quite easy to see what interests your friend.

I hope this information is helpful to you as you think of items to write about.

I’m sure you will find it a rewarding opportunity to connect with some very special people.

CFCA sponsor

Kasey sponsors Amelia through CFCA.

Kasey Colucci, New York

Kasey Colucci, a 2011 graduate from the University of Tampa, sponsors Amelia, an elderly woman in the Philippines.

I start writing a letter to Amelia by asking or answering questions from previous letters.

I love that both Amelia and I have a common interest in learning as much as we can about each other.

She treats me like family and I would consider her like a grandmother to me.

In fact, in her most recent letter, she said that her grandson asked who I was, and she told him I was her daughter in America, to which he responded, “Did you have a boyfriend in America we don’t know about?”

She shares my story, and I hers, and in the process I think we spread a little love across continents.

I told her about my graduation from college, moves I’ve made and a little about my boyfriend.

I tell her the kind of family I have and what I do for a living, and she does the same.

She shares with me how she cooked for her village’s Christmas party and that she loves to cook.

It’s nice to be able to hear the story of how you help each other and put a face to the financial assistance that comes through CFCA.

I’d always wanted a pen pal as a child, and now, with Amelia’s letters, I have that, but I also can count on words of genuine love and support.

Click here to read more about Kasey

Steve Taylor, Virginia

Steve Taylor has been a CFCA sponsor since 2007. He and his wife sponsor a brother and sister in the Philippines and a youth attending college in India.

I have a process in which I periodically write down possible letter-worthy activities or thoughts until I write the actual letters.

I typically start each letter to our sponsored friends with a blessing and a wish that they are healthy and happy.

I always tell them how proud we are of them. They always tell us what they are doing — school, sports, helping at home. We are proud of everything they do.

I let them know we are a part of each other’s families. I frequently refer to our children’s and grandchildren’s activities.

I ask for the names of their extended family and the birth dates of the immediate family members, so I can write letters that correspond with those birth dates.

I ask our sponsored friends questions, but I talk about the many activities we are involved in to see if there is a matching interest, which will lead to them asking questions.

I talk about activities in the area, our dog and church activities, for example.

For more ideas on letter topics, you can research the Internet to learn about national sports, games, clothing and food.

I never experienced Indian food until sponsoring Nathasha in India, and now I’m disappointed I didn’t try it earlier.

Researching the Internet is one way to learn about other countries, but the CFCA awareness trip was life-altering.

The relationship and our letters changed significantly after our trip to the Philippines in 2012.

Click here for more tips from Steve!

CFCA sponsor

Claudia Stapley sponsors Fausto in Guatemala and writes to more than 50 sponsored children and aging friends.

Claudia Stapley, Kansas

Claudia Stapley has been working for CFCA in Sponsor Services for more than five years and writes to many sponsored children and aging friends in our projects.

I write letters to more than 50 sponsored children and aging friends for sponsors who are unable to write for different reasons. I also have my own sponsored aging friend, Fausto, in Guatemala.

When it’s time for me to write letters, I usually send a photo that I’ve taken in recent weeks.

The friends I write to always seem to love having a photo, even if I’m not in the photo. Sometimes, I’ll even send a photo from a brochure or magazine of a place I visited.

I like to send photos when I write eLetters from the CFCA website because you can attach a photo to your eLetter.

When we had a lot of snow this winter, I wrote one of my friend’s names in the fresh snow and took a picture.

He lives in the Philippines and has never seen snow. Plus, he knows that by me taking the time to go out in the snow and write his name and take a picture, he was really on my mind that day.

When I write, I like to give a little update about what I and my family have been doing, especially related to any special occasions.

The friends I write to seem interested in knowing what types of foods we eat.

For instance, we might eat turkey for Thanksgiving, but eating turkey in some countries is not very common. These contrasts seem interesting to them.

My letters certainly won’t win any awards for great penmanship or content, but they let those individuals know that they are in my thoughts.

What are your letter-writing tips? Share them in the comments below!

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