By Kristen Littrell, CFCA correspondent
Have you ever placed a letter to your sponsored child in the mailbox and wondered how many people and places, cars and planes are required to put that letter in your sponsored child’s waiting hands? Read more to find out!
July 4 usually means fireworks, outdoor grilling and paying tribute to our blessed country.
But what about Independence Day in the countries where we work?
Read more to find out when Independence Day is celebrated around the world.
Happy Mother’s Day! Well, depending on where you are that is. Find out the different days Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world.
Join us as we celebrate Geography Awareness Week with National Geographic and friends. This year’s theme is “Geography: Declare Your Interdependence.”
This presents challenges for families living in poverty. The National Council on Evaluation of Social Development Policy estimates that 46.2 percent of Mexico’s total population (52 million) lives in poverty.
Families, however, are working to overcome these challenges through our projects in Cuernavaca, Guadalupe and Merida.
Violence is a part of everyday life for many families in the Guadalupe and Cuernavaca projects. In a few communities, this violence has driven some families from their homes and changed the way we interact with families when our staff cannot visit neighborhoods.
Families meet with staff in other, safer locations. Our Hope for a Family program conducts activities for families that reinforce healthy values and teach conflict resolution.
Our work also supports parents in their efforts to educate their children. Hope for a Family sponsorship in Mexico helps offset the cost of supplies, fees and uniforms. Read more
In Latin American countries such as Mexico and El Salvador, it is customary to honor beloved family members who have passed away by celebrating Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).
In many places, people will spend all day today in the cemetery on what is considered a celebration of life, not death. The graves are decorated, and it is a time for family and friends to gather and honor the lives of their loved ones.
Here at our headquarters in Kansas City we have our own Day of the Dead display. Veronica Vidal, who works in our Sponsor Services department, prepared a place in our community dining room to feature friends and loved ones in the CFCA community who have gone before us.
Bud Hentzen died Nov. 30, 2011, and his sister, Nadine Pearce, died two months later on Jan. 30, 2012. We miss them deeply, but we also celebrate their legacy and everything they have helped CFCA to be during the last 30 years.
We’re so excited to share with you the story of Gregorio, one of our sponsored aging friends in Mexico. Gregorio has a history of finding sick or abandoned animals and bringing them home to nurse them back to health.
Here are a few questions we asked him recently:
What made you decide to help animals on the street?
My mom and my dad always told me to be good with people and animals. I feel so much compassion for them.
I remember crying over three newborn baby cats I found abandoned in a soccer field. I decided to help them and see them grow.
Where do you find these animals?
I’ve found them everywhere: near my house, close to our church, at the soccer field, in the rural areas.
Please describe your favorite or most fond memory of your pet(s).
Wow, the truth is that I have adored them all, but there was Alaska.
Alaska was my neighbor’s dog. He bit my neighbor’s brand new mattress and made holes in it. I told him to let me have Alaska, and he gave him to me.
Alaska was big, black and white, with grey-colored eyes. His tale was long and in a spiral.
I enjoyed going out with him. He would run next to me riding my bike. Both of us would go to the river and he would jump right in, come out and shake his body, getting me totally wet. I did not care about that; I just laughed.
I enjoyed his company so much. He was with me in my ups and downs; he was strong and obedient. He was my partner. Sadly he died of a virus.
How has the CFCA Hope for a Family program helped you?
Every month I receive my food provisions, and on special occasions I get gifts. I also receive vitamins, shoes and clothing.
Whenever I need some help with some medicine or we are sick, we can come to CFCA and get help.
A country that shares a border with the United States, Mexico often has a cost of living similar to the U.S. but with much lower income opportunities. This makes life very challenging for families living in poverty.
In the Cuernavaca project, 14 scholarship students offer their services as assistant teachers to more than 90 sponsored children.
These classes cater to students who cannot attend a regular school because they do not have their birth certificates. Although these classes are not part of a formal study program, they do ensure that children receive a parallel quality education.
These classes are free and offered at the local CFCA office. Some teachers are volunteers who support this educational benefit.
Tell us about yourself and when you became a scholar student in CFCA-Cuernavaca?
My name is Erika, and I am 30 years old. I have been in the scholarship program since 2004.
What are you studying and when will you graduate?
I completed my degree in physical education in 2011. But throughout the year, I have the opportunity to take courses in human development at the CFCA office.
For example, I am currently in an ethics course, which helps us to improve attitudes and behavior. This is a tool that prepares me to work with sponsored children. I’m starting a course on computers and English at a university.
How does the scholarship help you? How do you use it?
It helps me with my transportation costs to come to the local office, so I can take my courses and give my service to sponsored children. It also helps me with food because sometimes I only have soup to eat.
Thanks to the scholarship, I am able to continue preparing for my future.
What is your community service? How many service hours do you give and how do you think this helps your community?
I come to the local CFCA office Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. I work with children up to 7 years old, and assist in their physical and mental development. We also support educational activities through games, songs and stories.
Being a part of CFCA helped me to be the person I am today. I think what I bring to my community is the love I give to the children and I try to give them the desire to be better in life.
The young girls often come to me for advice. I am a confidant for them, and I like to help them.
Violence is a challenge that many families in Mexico face. In several communities the drug and gang violence has increased dramatically, which has driven some sponsored friends and their families from their homes.
The project staffs have to think of creative ways to help sponsored friends and their families while protecting themselves at the same time.
The Hope for a Family program conducts activities in safe locations that raise awareness among families about positive values and conflict resolution.
Many of the families are led by single mothers, and CFCA small community groups provide mothers with livelihood training workshops, encouragement and support.
We asked two of these mothers, Gloria and Maty, how the Hope for a Family program has helped them with the challenges they face.
Gloria’s 16-year-old son, Juan, was sponsored for 10 years. She was once the leader of her mothers committee and is now in charge of serving eight smaller CFCA communities in the Guadalupe project.
Describe some of the biggest challenges that you have faced as a mother and as a woman.
As a mother, my challenge is raising my child. He is becoming a teenager and his behavior has changed.
I [hope] he will keep practicing values that I, as his mother, tried to instill in him to be a better person.
As a woman, I wish to overcome [obstacles] in life with the opportunities that CFCA offers me. I am very thankful.
How and why did you decide to be a leader in your mothers committee?
I was elected by many mothers and I wanted to participate; of course, I never imagined being in the place that I am now.
What did you learn from this experience and how has it helped you personally?
I learned to listen to people and to help others in need. My participation gave me a lot of satisfaction.