The CFCA project in Legazpi, Philippines, recently sent us success stories from young adults who were sponsored through CFCA.
Here’s one from Charlie, who just graduated with his teaching degree after many challenges along the way. Congratulations, Charlie!
It was soon after third grade when I wanted to fast forward through time, skip this long, dreary school age and enjoy a happy, sufficient job.
I even prayed for a time machine, magic or anything I saw on television that could transform me immediately into being a man.
Desperate as I was, I tried rotating the hour hand of our clock backwards, almost a hundred times, believing that this would change the world’s time.
And, of course, nothing happened, but something was granted.
I was 8 years old, in the fourth grade and in good shape when I was accepted by CFCA as a sponsored child.
I remembered I was taking my annual photograph on one corner of our house. I was greatly hesitant about whether to smile or just to make a normal face to look well-behaved.
Whatever I did, I was happy being one of the sponsored children.
At the onset of my fourth grade up to the last pinch of struggle in my pursuit of a teaching career, I have felt the genuine support of CFCA and, most especially, my sponsors.
I have worked very hard to become successful in my academic career because I know someone is determined to see me stand out in my field.
My father died of pneumonia when I was in my fourth year of high school. His death intensified our family’s needs and my fear of no longer being able to pursue a college degree.
I persevered, and I graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
CFCA has been a good foundation to my family, which holistically helps develop and improve our life in every aspect.
Now that I completed a degree and am practicing my profession as a substitute teacher, I still want to have a time machine to turn back the time and be, forever, a CFCA sponsored child.
By Kristin Littrell, CFCA correspondent
CFCA is not a one-size-fits-all organization. We rely on our field staffs to know the families in each community, to listen to their needs and hopes, and to provide a program that empowers them to build a path out of poverty.
In the second post in this three-part blog series, we give you a window into several CFCA communities, to gauge the success of the Hope for a Family sponsorship program.
Water still covers the path to the home of Kuya and Beng, parents of a sponsored child in the Philippines. The area has yet to dry out from monsoon rains that recently hit their community.
Kuya and Beng live with their family in a small home, made of bamboo and plywood, just 5 meters from the lake’s edge.
Like many in their small fishing village, they depend on the lake for their livelihood. Kuya owns a banca (a small fishing boat) and a fish cage.
But the fishing hasn’t been going so well lately.
Water hyacinth, a highly invasive aquatic plant, has hurt the local fishing business. The water hyacinth grows densely along the shore, making it difficult for fishing boats to navigate. The plant also prevents sunlight from entering the water, which reduces the food supply for the fish. Read more
“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page.
Photo credits go to our devoted staff in our Quezon and Antipolo projects.
The reception for the sponsors was very dynamic and very musical.
The Filipino people mean it when they say “Mabuhay,” meaning “welcome.”
What a joy to travel with such a fine group of CFCA sponsors. It was a large group and big on inspiration. We are truly companions in learning and action. Read more
By Kasey, who sponsors Amelia through CFCA
I heard about CFCA through an online search.
I knew I wanted to sponsor through a reputable program, and after extensive research and finding that CFCA’s values lined up with my own beliefs, I knew I had found the right place.
I searched the profiles and determined that a woman named Fabiana needed my help most.
Her story resonated with me. For $30 a month, I could help this elderly widow off of her straw bed on the ground and change her whole life.
When I got her first letter, I cried. I read it over and over and then wrote back saying that, although she thought I was a blessing to her life, she was also a blessing in mine.
The gratitude I felt through her handwritten words spoke to my heart.
I carried them close until about a year later when she passed away. I mourned her passing but rejoiced in knowing that I brought her great comfort in that past year.
CFCA then found me Amelia, and although from a different continent and telling a different tale, I was written into her story. Read more
Great learning opportunities can sometimes occur right in your living room!
Christine Newpower, a sponsor from California, read about the special “Rise and Dream” movie night kit offer extended to CFCA sponsors and volunteers in one of our newsletters.
Christine, who grew up abroad and remembers her Southeast Asian roots, saw the film as an opportunity to teach her children about global poverty.
“We wanted our children to understand how blessed they are in comparison to children growing up in poverty overseas,” she said. “We also wanted to provide that extra connection, knowing that a large part of our extended family still lives there.”
Christine ordered and received a “Rise and Dream” DVD and movie night kit in July and organized a family movie night for her husband and their three children.
“After dinner, we set up our family room with sodas, popcorn, pretzels and chips,” Christine said. “We turned off the lights and drew the blinds for the full theater experience.”
In more ways than one, the film’s setting hit home for the Newpowers. The family sponsors Jasmine, a 9-year-old in the Philippines. Christine’s children have expressed interest in meeting Jasmine someday on a CFCA trip. Read more
Join us as we celebrate Geography Awareness Week with National Geographic and friends. This year’s theme is “Geography: Declare Your Interdependence.”
QUESTION: Approximately 8,600 CFCA sponsored friends live near this active volcano in the Bicol region of the Philippines. What is the name of this beautiful, symmetrical mountain?
ANSWER: Mayon Volcano
The Mayon Volcano is the most active volcano in the Philippines.
It is located about 8 miles from Legazpi City. This distinctive landmark is the symbol of the province and region. It is surrounded by verdant rice paddies and fields.
Rey, 12, and his family have a clear view of Mayon from their home. Rey, who has been sponsored through CFCAís Hope for a Family program since he was 8 years old, rides a bike to school each day and dreams of becoming a doctor.
CFCA’s Hope for a Family sponsorship program serves more than 43,000 children, youth and aging members through five project locations in the Philippines, which are Antipolo, Legazpi, Manila, Quezon City and Zamboanga.
Families in the sponsorship program face challenges such as natural disasters and high unemployment. Flooding, landslides and tsunamis triggered by typhoons are common, as are earthquakes and active volcanoes like Mayon.
Through sponsorship, families receive access to education, nutrition assistance, dental and health care, and more.
Watch Rey share his story in the video below:
Steve Taylor, CFCA sponsor, recently hosted a “Rise and Dream” movie night with others at his parish, St. Jerome Catholic Church, in Virginia.
There was an amazing turnout for the event, and Steve shared his reflection on the evening with us.
Thank you, Steve and St. Jerome parish, for your “Rise and Dream” movie night!
St. Jerome Catholic Church, Newport News, Va., hosted a successful showing of CFCA’s documentary film, “Rise and Dream” to a crowd of approximately 180 parishioners.
The evening’s success was the result of numerous factors centered on St. Jerome’s connection to the Philippines, including Father Henry Diesta, a large spirit-filled Filipino community, a significant number of CFCA sponsored friends in the Philippines and the “Rise and Dream” movie, which was filmed in the Philippines.
The local Filipino community, led by Medy Gameng, supported the evening through delicious Filipino dishes, a folk-dance demonstration by four parish children (video below) and a heartfelt thank you to the parish and the individual sponsors of Filipino children and aging.
CFCA sponsors Gabe Franco and Lisa Garner provided insight into their sponsored friends and the importance of their sponsoring experience. They both requested that attendees consider sponsoring a child or aging person through CFCA.
Although the movie takes place in the Philippines, it represents the 22 countries in which CFCA operates. In all these countries, the children’s needs and conditions are similar and so is their spirit and effort to succeed in school, to help themselves and their families financially.
Steve Taylor, Va.
Just a few of the awesome ways that sponsored children, aging friends and their families are serving as agents of change in their local communities!
1) Sponsored seminarians in Philippines ordained to Sacred Order of Deacons
Malou Navio, our project coordinator in Antipolo, Philippines, told us that six sponsored seminarians were recently ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons, a perpetual vow to religious life made before the vow to priesthood.
“They are very grateful for the thoughtfulness of the sponsorship that constantly supports part of their needs while studying at the seminary,” Malou said.
Several CFCA staffers and fathers of sponsored children came to watch three of these seminarians take their vows at the St. Gregory Cathedral in Legazpi.
CFCA is the only major U.S.-based sponsorship organization to sponsor the elderly.
Through our Hope for a Family sponsorship program, aging friends receive benefits that focus on providing better nutrition, access to health care, adequate housing and social activities.
Some sponsored aging friends also participate in skills training or income-generating workshops. Most importantly, they are welcomed into a caring community and feel less alone.
For some sponsored aging friends, CFCA meetings and events may be the only human socialization time they experience all week, or sometimes, all month.
Michelle Dawson works in sponsorship operations at our office in Kansas City. Michelle sponsors five aging friends in the Hope for a Family program. She shares with us some of the reasons why she decided to sponsor an aging friend and why she loves it.
How did you decide between sponsoring a child or an aging person?
I heard a priest speak at my parish many years ago, but instead of sponsoring that day, I took a brochure home with me and called CFCA not too long after that.