By Claudia Stapley, child move coordinator for Unbound
Claudia Stapley is a child move coordinator for Unbound and has been with Unbound for 10 years. When a sponsored member sends in a farewell letter, her team is in charge of processing the letter and contacting the sponsor to let them know their friend is leaving the program. For some this can be an emotional time, and Claudia and her team are there to offer care and understanding.
I’ve been writing to Gemmil in the Philippines since 2010. It’s exciting to hear from him and learn what’s happening in his family. His mom just had a baby this year, plus Gemmil’s in college studying to work on a ship and he tells me about the things he learns, like celestial navigation.
Even with all this excitement, there’s a little pit in my stomach because I know that soon — probably very soon — I’m going to receive a letter telling me that Gemmil is leaving the sponsorship program. I’m so happy for him to be graduating and starting to work. He’ll be able to help his parents and siblings and one day his own family, but I’m also a little sad that our relationship will come to a close.
Each month, our Kansas City office receives thousands of notices from our offices around the world about individuals who are leaving the program. Sometimes it’s happy news, such as graduation, new job opportunities or better living conditions, but sometimes the news is more solemn. Sometimes a sponsor will know the news is coming, but other times it can be unexpected. We here at Unbound know it’s hard because we go through it, too, with our own sponsored friends.
When our program staff informs us that one of the sponsored members is leaving the program, we notify the sponsor. We’ll send a letter to let you know; often we’ll even try to call you first because we know the news can be surprising.
Even when someone leaves the program before a final goal like graduation has been reached, it’s important to remember the positive impact sponsorship makes, not just on that individual, but also his family, his community and the lives that he’ll touch in the future. Maybe a teen has to leave school early to work, but instead of thinking of that as a shortcoming, it’s important to remember that she has probably made it farther in school than her parents or even other kids in her country her own age.
When the time comes for your sponsored friend to leave the program, we hope you’ll consider offering the opportunity of sponsorship to another person in need. We always have individuals waiting for sponsors listed on our website, or we can surprise you by choosing someone for you!