Category: Sponsor a child

Oct 13 2010

Sponsor reflects on what it means to “walk with the poor”

Everyone at CFCA is grateful for every sponsor who has chosen to partner with us. Here is a beautiful reflection from Matthew Potter, CFCA sponsor and volunteer.

“To walk with the poor.” Thatís a phrase that sometimes just trickles from our lips without really thinking about it.

Sherry, Evanson and Matthew

From left are Sherry Sopha-Potter, Evanson from Kenya and Matthew Potter.

We watch Bob Hentzen lace up his boots and head on down the road knowing that he does, indeed, walk with the poor.

Do we, as CFCA sponsors, walk with the poor, even though we arenít on the road with Bob?

In fact, we do. The most obvious way is when we make our contribution each month in support of our sponsored friends.

We took on this responsibility in a conscious action with the intention of helping someone who needs some assistance, and with the knowledge that sharing in our good fortune is a directive given to us by God.

Jesus tells us, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” (Luke 12:48, New American Bible)

The money we send to CFCA each month goes to help a real, live person. Someone whose name we know, who goes to sleep each night and wakes up each morning.

Someone who laughs, cries, celebrates joyous occasions and worries about what challenges life will bring today. In other words, someone a lot like us.

Our lives are richer because of our relationships with our sponsored friends.

We walk with our friends each time we make our contribution, each time we write a letter, each time we pray for them.

They help us along the journey with their love and prayers.

Even though we may not travel the road with Bob, through our sponsorship and our faith, we most assuredly do walk with the poor.

Sep 10 2010

Welcome to our new website

What do you think of our new website? Our redesign has given it a more updated look, with interactive features and more stories from the field. We invite you to explore it and share it with your friends.

Weíve made your online experience easier to navigate. One of our highlights involves our work, with an interactive map of all the countries CFCA is reaching. You can view photos, videos and stories from around the world.

To keep up-to-date, explore whatís happening. Peruse the latest news and stories, read our blog, view upcoming events and find out how you can meet your sponsored friend on a mission awareness trip. Learn about special events and activities here, with Walk2gether updates, reports on the Zamboanga documentary and more.

Welcome to our new site!

Tell us what you think of our new site!

Details on how to get involved explain ways you can help spread the word about CFCA and participate in our work. View profiles of children, youth and aging friends waiting for sponsorship. Donate to one of our special funds or make a donation in memory of, or to honor, someone special. Finally, learn how you can get involved in CFCA outreach activities in your community.

We included youth resources on the tell others page, another new feature. Anyone interested in teaching young people about global solidarity can check out our quarterly eLessons and curricula. We also encourage you to subscribe to our monthly eNews and other communications to stay connected.

We have a brand new section where you can explore planned giving options. Learn about the latest options for immediate or future giving, including estate gifts, charitable annuities and donations of stocks, bonds and real estate. Create a personalized illustration using the gift planning calculator, and research tools and options using our resource library.

The why sponsor? section helps people who are considering sponsorship learn more about our program, how it works, and its transformative effect. It also highlights reviews about CFCA from others ó charity rating agencies, other sponsors, people who have been on mission awareness trips and more. We invite you to share your own history with CFCA on your blog or website.

Near the top right is a special section for our sponsors, where you can pay your sponsorship, find tips on how to write your sponsored friend, read frequently asked questions and learn how to get more involved with CFCA. We are working on a log-in section that will let you view information about your sponsored friend, see your payment history and manage your account.

The website has been a great tool in raising awareness about CFCA, and weíre excited about this opportunity to provide better service and information to those interested in our work. We hope you enjoy using it, and let us know in your comments what you think.

Jul 15 2010

Why do you sponsor with CFCA?

CFCA takes a very grassroots approach to spreading the word about our Hope for a Family sponsorship program. We donít spend a lot of money on advertising to find new sponsors (in fact, fundraising only totals 3.2 percent of our expenses). Consequently, that also means we rely on the enthusiasm of our sponsors to share CFCA with others by talking about their sponsorship experience.

We have approximately 270,000 sponsors, and we want to hear from you. Why do you sponsor with CFCA? What would you tell others about sponsoring through CFCA? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

May 25 2010

Welcome, Allie and Sami

We’re very excited to introduce two volunteers, Allie and Sami, who will help out on our Walk with the Poor Facebook page this summer. They will be the ones behind the discussion questions, status updates, comments and more. After you meet Allie and Sami here on the blog, head over to Facebook, and leave a message to welcome them!

Allie Kline
My name is Allie Kline, and I’m a junior communication major at Missouri State University. In my free time, I like to hang out with my friends and family, watch St. Louis Cardinals baseball and read. I’ve been involved with CFCA since 2000. I have been sponsoring Allison in Costa Rica since 2006 and visited her and her family on a mission awareness trip in 2009.

SamiSami Freese
My name is Sami, and I live in Denver, Colo. I’m in between my junior and senior year of high school, and I’m 17 years old. I did speak at NCYC, so those of you who were there, hi again! Those who weren’t, hello for the first time! I’ve been sponsoring with CFCA since I was 8, and I went on a mission awareness trip two years ago. CFCA and sponsorship is a big part of who I am, and I’ve realized I can help those in need. It has been an eye-opening and deeply humbling experience, and I hope to share it with you.

Mar 23 2010

A Teacher’s story: Where there is a will, there is a way

Joey of the Philippines is a fourth-grade teacherThis is a story of Jose Marie V. Camargo (Joey, as he is fondly called), a fourth-grade teacher in Quezon Project. He was sponsored for 12 years and assisted by CFCAís scholarship program from 2003 to 2007. Joey was first introduced in the 2010 Spring edition of The Scholar.

The lesson that I share with my class is, ìWhere there is a will, there is a way.î Success is everyoneís dream in life, and this is what everybody wants; however, only few achieve it.

I come from a family of six. My mother is a housewife, while my father works in school maintenance. I am the eldest among four siblings ñ two brothers and one sister. When I was a child, I thought I couldnít attend school because of financial constraints, but upon my sponsorship with CFCA, everything became possible. I was born with a handicap, but this has not stopped me, rather, it has pushed me to fulfill my dreams.

I am presently working as a private-school teacher. I teach fourth graders mathematics and computers. I finished business education at one of the state universities in the Philippines.

I was able to get through college with the assistance of the CFCA Scholarship Program. The scholarship helped me pay for my school expenses, such as tuition, books and uniforms. Aside from financial aid, the services* I rendered to the community and CFCA developed my skills, talents and knowledge to be a better person ñ the person that I am now. I owe my success to God. I may not be successful in awards or money, but I am successful because I followed the ideals of CFCA: help children fulfill their dreams and touch their lives.

Joey and his fourth grade classI decided to be a teacher because I believe I have something to contribute to a childís development. Despite my disability, I can be a role model. I think is a powerful way of teaching, always being the person your students may want to be.

Interacting with students with a variety of personalities is what I considered most challenging. They each have different backgrounds, orientations, attitudes and behaviors. It would depend on the teacher how to blend and complement these mixtures of individualities. This is the challenge that I face everyday.

Being a good teacher means being faithful to the memory of all the good teachers who have motivated me and pushed my life boat within the oceans of life, through its waves and storms, even when it occasionally got stuck in the sand of a shore.

Today, thinking and remembering all of them makes me feel the great responsibility I shoulder to be like them and to become better, because I want my students to see me as a role model in the future.

I am the committee chair on education of the Scholars Alumni Association in the CFCA Quezon project. I have committed myself to creating a worldwide community of compassion. I will do my share in the voluntary work through tutorial sessions, teaching and talent development; become a role model to the younger generations; protect the rights of children, youth and elderly; help generate jobs for future CFCA graduates; share my expertise; and advocate for the mission and vision of CFCA. This is my expression of gratitude to the CFCA movement that changed my life.

To those who aspire to follow the path that many like me have walked, each has to have the heart of a child ñ kind, loving and joyful. This, perhaps, would lead you in your destined profession and vocation ñ TEACHING!

*Editorís note: as part of the scholarship requirements, scholars perform service projects that benefit CFCA families, or their local community.

Apr 2 2009

CFCA projects roll out the red carpet for sponsors

Colleen Gawley and her daughter, Elizabeth, were overwhelmed and honored when they were entertained by a community of 400 sponsored members and their families during a trip to the Philippines.

Watch more trip testimonials
Margaret Looper discovers how important a bag of groceries really is.
Hunter Hardin get to know his friend during a day of fun in Honduras.

Learn how you can go on a CFCA mission awareness trip and what to expect.

Dec 1 2008

World AIDS Day: Young HIV patients are the best teachers

Taking medicine is routine for young HIV patientsWorld AIDS Day logo

Many mothers will tell you how hard it is to get their young children to take medicine. For young patients with HIV at CFCA’s Dar es Salaam project in Tanzania, taking medicine is a matter of life and death.

When the patients from the Intensive Day Therapy program arrive at the project clinic at 6:30 a.m., Project Coordinator Mary Dawn Reavey has their medication measured and set out on the table. Young children swallow nine cups of liquid until they are old enough to take pills. At that point, they take six pills: an antiretroviral drug plus five supplements.

The 23 children range in age from 3 to 18 years and attend day school on the project grounds. They visit the clinic before leaving to take another round of medicine.

Children help each other

Reavey teaches the children to swallow pills at age 3.

“Liquid medicine is much more expensive and it is easy to counterfeit, so the goal is to switch the children to pills as early as possible,” she said.0508rachelscherzerch-4

The cost for antiretroviral tablets is $20 a month for one child, versus $100 for liquids.

Typical of children, they make a game out of taking their medicine.

“They have competitions to see who is the fastest to take their medicine and who can take the most pills at once,” Reavey said.

Success entails being firm, consistent and patient, and giving lots of positive reinforcement. Peer pressure helps, too. Though it can be hard for the young children, they are usually pros after a week.

“Often they are so sick when they arrive and they have been so stigmatized, that when they enter a community where all their friends also take medicine and are showered with love and care, they start feeling better in a few days and actually seem to appreciate the medicine,” Reavey said.

Patients spread message of hope and compassion

Every segment of the community has been impacted by HIV/AIDS, Reavey said. Family members, teachers, health-care workers and leaders have been lost to AIDS.

“We have a tremendous need for education and the promotion of hope and compassion,” Reavey said.

This is where the young patients help. They are the best teachers and advocates.

“We always have clusters of children coming for evaluation and often discover later that as one child enters the program and becomes well, other community members find the courage to also ask for help and bring their children and grandchildren out of seclusion to seek care,” she said.

Oct 15 2008

Blog Action Day: “Our family’s poverty story”

From CFCA sponsor Zena Weist:

John and I began sponsoring a child in 1998. We were pregnant with our first child and felt so blessed. We heard about CFCA through our parish. During Mass while a CFCA representative was talking about the sponsorship opportunities, my husband left our pew. I thought he was going to the restroom.

Angelica is our sponsored child from Guatemala. She was 4 when we began sponsoring her.
Angelica is our sponsored child from Guatemala. She was 4 when we began sponsoring her.

When he came back to our pew, he had our little Angelica Antonia’s profile. He just knew that I wanted to sponsor a child and he did as well.

He said, “Angelica called out to me.”

Her mother and father took turns sending us letters about Angelica, their life and how thankful they were for our support until Angelica was old enough to write. So, through letters and photos we’ve received, we’ve seen Angelica grow up through her parents’ and now her words.

Angelica is in seventh grade. She draws us beautiful flower borders with every note. She’s quite an artist! Angelica is growing up a confident, educated young woman. She walks an hour to/from school every day – amazing! She is so grateful for the opportunity to go to school (which is a great reminder for our kids) and in every letter reminds us how very thankful she is that our support covers her basic needs.

By sponsoring Angelica, we get so much more out of the relationship than we ever dreamed was possible! She is a constant reminder of how blessed we are, that the basic things we take for granted (shelter, food, clothing) are truly gifts from God. Angelica doesn’t know this, but her words and prayers are far more valuable to our family than the monthly donations.

CFCA’s sponsorship program helps our family see that poverty is a worldwide problem that affects each of us in some way and even more so, how each individual can help end it.

Oct 6 2008

Blog for CFCA and join the discussion on global poverty

Join the discussion about global poverty on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008.

We know that people in the blogosphere can learn so much through your CFCA sponsor experiences: what it’s like to join with families living in poverty; telling about how your own view of poverty has changed through your sponsorship, and how poverty now has a personal meaning for you.

Blog Action Day ’08 gives bloggers around the world a chance to focus one day Wednesday, Oct. 15 – on one topic – poverty.

Blog Action Day ’08 gives bloggers around the world a chance to focus one day  Wednesday, Oct. 15 – on one topic – poverty.

Here’s how the Blog Action Day Web site describes it:
“Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.”

To be a part of the event:

  1. Register your blog on the blog action day site ( between now and Oct. 14.
  2. Start preparing your blog message based on your experiences as a CFCA sponsor.
    (e-mail us if you have questions)
  3. Post your blog entry on Oct. 15.

At the end of your blog post, please feel free to include the following description of CFCA:

CFCA is a Kansas City-based international movement serving people living in poverty in 25 developing countries. We help families put food on the table, send their children to school and have a decent place to live so that together we can end the cycle of poverty. Founded by lay Catholics acting on the call to serve the poor, CFCA serves people of all faiths. To learn more, or to sponsor a child, visit

If you don’t have a blog, but would like to start one to post your message about poverty, here are a few blog sites that make it quick and easy:

Thank you for joining CFCA and sharing your personal story to help the world gain a better understanding of poverty and ways to help.

Jul 23 2008

Givers’ high

It’s like a runner’s high, except it keeps on giving as long as you do! And now it’s laboratory tested.

Researchers have concluded that “giving unto others” produces a strong dose of happiness for the giver. According to a study published in March by researchers at the University of British Columbia and the Harvard Business School, there is scientific proof that financial generosity makes a person happier. The reward comes to donors large and small. From large Bill Gates-sized contributions to the normal working personís offering, itís not in the size of the donation, but in the act of giving. The UBC press release HERE explains it in greater detail.

The study states that people experience the same kind of physical endorphin rush from making charitable donations as runners get when they’re “in the zone.”

So, in scientific terms, giving a one-time donation is like a jolt of joy, and sponsoring a child or aging person is like a happiness marathon.

ADDED BENEFIT: Learning from those we sponsor

A sponsor told us that his family helps support Vanessa who is interested in science and lives in the Guatemala rainforest. They find spiritual enrichment through sharing their lives with Vanessa and her family. But also, theyíve learned more about nature from Vanessaís letters and have become more conscious about recycling and being caretakers of the environment.