Tag: letter writing

Unbound sponsors
Oct 24 2014

Sponsor’s family photo bridges the distance

Unbound sponsors

This photo of Kathy, her children, Kristen, Alex and Gabriel (front), and her husband, Bob, gave new meaning to the relationship they had with their sponsored friend, Jay.

By Kathy Ackerman, Unbound sponsor

Kathy Ackerman has been an Unbound sponsor for 12 years. She has been sponsoring Jay for half that time. She shares how one family photo changed the relationship between her family and Jay.

For many years my family has sponsored a child through Unbound. Jay is the second child from the Philippines we have been able to help by providing financial support through this organization.

It is very easy to write a check and feel good about making a difference. We frequently received update letters from Jay. I occasionally sent a short note or card back, but honestly, I didn’t fully invest myself in trying to establish a relationship with this child so far away.

Read more

Sponsor a child
Oct 25 2013

Help find a sponsor for Carlos in Peru

Manchay, Peru

The city of Manchay, Peru.

By Elizabeth Alex

From the distance, Manchay, Peru appears dirty and desolate.

Small and sometimes rickety houses, cheerfully painted in lilac and blue sit at the base of what appear to be mountains made of dust and rock. Manchay is covered in haze.

But what Manchay lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in smiles.

Like the big grin on 5-year-old Carlos’ face.

Read more

Mar 6 2012

4 tips for sending Easter greetings to your sponsored friend

By Jordan Kimbrell, Sponsor Services

CFCA sponsored child and social worker

Irene, a child sponsored through CFCA

Easter is almost here, and many sponsors are thinking about sending a card or letter to their sponsored friend expressing Easter blessings.

Before sending your next letter, here are a few tips and recent changes we’d like to share with you:

1) Check new mailing rates.

This January the United States Postal Service introduced new mailing rates for international mail.

A 1-oz. letter will cost $.85 to Mexico and $1.05 to other countries. Larger envelopes or those weighing more than an ounce will cost more to send.

A full list of prices can be found here: https://www.usps.com/send/first-class-international.htm.

You will still need to visit your local post office to have the item weighed and stamped.

2) Consider eLetters. Read more

Jun 30 2010

Francini’s joy is a letter from her sponsor

My name is Francini. I am 12 years old, and I live in in Costa Rica.

I usually get up at 6 a.m. I eat breakfast and, later in the morning, I help my mother with the house chores, especially sweeping and washing dishes.

Right now, I am in fifth grade, and my favorite subject is mathematics. I usually leave for school around noon. I walk for about 10 minutes to get to school. It is not far.

I have received some cards and letters from my sponsors, having them brings happiness and joy to my life, I am very happy to be sponsored by them and CFCA.

If my sponsors were here I would offer them my gratitude for everything that they have done and given me. They are very special.

Francini reads a letter from her sponsor

Francini reads a letter from her sponsor

Francini reads a letter from her sponsor

Have you ever wondered about the letters you receive from your friend? Read Dani Pollock’s blog post about the letter-writing process in Honduras where she is serving as a CFCA volunteer.

You can also learn more about Francini’s home life by visiting walk2gether.org.

Nov 18 2009

What do I say? How to write your sponsored friend

“I feel very good when I get a letter. I feel I am being loved very much. It makes me want to write lots of letters to my sponsor.” – Sesilia, 9, Tanzania

Sesilia expresses what all sponsored friends feel about receiving letters from their sponsors. A letter from you is a symbol of love and represents the human connection in the relationship. Exchanging letters is a way for you build that relationship.

(Update: You now have the option to send an eLetter once you’re logged in to your online sponsorship account!)

If you haven’t written your friend because you don’t know what to say, grab a piece of paper and a pen. Our goal is to help you compose a letter step-by-step using as an example a letter written by a sponsor to her friend in Venezuela.

Step 1: The opening
How do you start? This is usually the toughest part of the letter. Start by greeting your friend and asking about the family. Then, follow up with something your friend mentioned in a previous letter as Sheila has done here. Did he take a test? Is a family member ill? Did she have a birthday? The opening is the place to touch base about important events your friend has talked about.

Step 2: The body
Now that you’ve opened the letter, share what’s going on in your household. Sheila mentions Halloween and the upcoming holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sponsored friends love hearing about holiday customs. Or, share something about yourself. Describe a pet. Talk about your favorite sport. Tell your friend about your children, their ages and grades in school. The words will flow once you start writing about something important to you.

Step 3: The closing
In your closing paragraph, give your friend encouragement. Sheila simply closed her letter by wishing Edinson and his family a happy New Year. Tell your friend you think about him and pray for him and his family. Then, sign off.

Congratulations! The hard part is done. You can include a photo of yourself and your family with your letter. Sponsored friends love getting pictures.

Mailing your letter
Follow the instructions provided with the pre-printed mailing labels you received from Unbound. Send your letter via international airmail, unless it is sent to a U.S. mailing address. Check postage rates at the U.S. Postal Service Web site, www.usps.com.

We have more suggestions about letter writing here.

Was this helpful? Do you have any questions for us regarding letter writing? Drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you.

Aug 27 2009

Children want to hear from their sponsors

In spring of last year, CFCA sent out special postcards to sponsors to encourage them to write a letter to their sponsored friend. The response has been wonderful. Many children who had not yet received any letters heard from their sponsors for the first time.

Jilma holding one of the CFCA postcards sponsors sent.ìI am very happy because I have received letters before but never one like this,î said Jilma, who lives in El Progresso, El Salvador. ìMy sponsor has told me in her letters that she has a beautiful garden and lots of flowers.î

The Vellore project in India saw an immediate increase in communication between sponsors and their friends because of the postcard campaign. Additionally, nine children received their first communication from their sponsors.

In the Zamboanga, Philippines, project, an estimated 140 individuals received their first correspondence from their sponsor. Project coordinator Maribel Mandi said the children and aging were delighted with the postcards, and it helped give them motivation to openly express their emotions.

ìA short message from a sponsor adds life and growth to the child and sponsor relationship,î said Mandi. ìThe postcards created a SMILE.î

Many children in the Quito, Ecuador, project had not heard from sponsors, and the postcards brought them much happiness.

Letters are an important benefit
ìI can tell you with great certainty that the kids and their families value the letters and photos that sponsors send more than anything,î said Dan Pearson, project director for CFCA international operations. ìImagine the lives of these kids. It is hard for them to believe that someone they have never met chose them and is sending help every month to give them a better chance in life.

ìThe sponsor is often a central figure in the child’s life, and they want to know who this person is. They want to know what they look like, who is in their family, and why they decided to help.î

In an age of instant information, emails and text messaging, letter writing is becoming a lost art. It is one of the many gifts that our brothers and sisters in developing countries can give to usóto remind us of the joy that can be found in taking the time to sit and write a simple note of love and encouragement.

On behalf of the sponsored children and aging, we thank you for writing, and we encourage you to continue growing your relationship through letters.

Below are the three postcards we mailed to sponsors

2friends postcard

If friends were flowers postcard

Love in a letter postcard

Jul 16 2009

Serious fun: part 4

By Kelly Demo, CFCA preacher

Soccer has grown from an obscure game played by a handful of kids to being the most popular, organized sport for children in the U.S. With more than 3 million youth registered each year in formal leagues, soccer has firmly established itself as part of the American childhood.

Without knowing it, kids who play soccer here in the U.S. are aligning themselves with the millions, perhaps billions, of children worldwide who play soccer (more commonly known as ìfootballî). However, these kids in developing countries donít always experience soccer with minivans, uniforms, coaches and juice boxes waiting for them when they are done. These are the kids who find any round object and a group of friends and play wherever they can find an open space. They run barefoot, kicking the ball through a goal they have fashioned out of scrap metal or their imaginations.

Henry Flores, director of the CFCA Communications Center in El Salvador, says that CFCA staff will often organize soccer games with the scholarship students because they find this to be a great way for staff to connect with the youth.

ìWith these games we are telling the students, ëWe want to spend time with you!í î Henry also observes that soccer is only fun when you play with others. It is a community sport. It unifies responsibility, ability and discipline.

Marissa Gargaro plays soccer during a mission awareness trip to El Salvador.“Plus, you donít need lots of equipment, just a 25-cent ball and a small space in your community. You often see children in the different communities who spend hours playing street soccer. When a vehicle is passing trough you hear, ëGAME OFF / GAME ON!í to let the children know.”

Often, when there have been teen mission awareness trip groups, the staff will organize soccer games because it is a simple way to break the ice, create community and strengthen bonds of friendship. “And,” says Henry, “You need no translator for it.”

In your next letter, have your soccer kid ask their sponsored friend about “football” in their country. Do they enjoy playing? Does their country have a national soccer team? Talk with them about the idea that they are in solidarity with their friend simply by playing soccer. What similarities does your child see in the way their friend plays football, and how soccer is experienced here in the States? What are the differences?

Related links
Serious fun, part 1
Serious fun, part 2
Serious fun: Creative play

Jun 25 2009

Serious fun

Schoolís out for summer! Kids are lost in a lazy haze of swimming, camps and vacations. But, as the excitement of having no homework fades, it is often replaced with, ìMom! Iím booooooored!î

What a great time to encourage solidarity with their sponsored friend. Have them do a little research about the country, culture and history of their friend. The library has wonderful books for all ages about different countries. This will make letter writing easier, too, because the research may stir up good questions they can ask of their friend.

Over the next four weeks, we will offer some ideas and activities that you can do with your children or grandchildren that will teach them about other cultures.

Global play
The most global, common element about childhood is play. Children play. Even when faced with inhumane conditions and hardship, it is part of a childís nature to engage in some kind of play. There are many games that are manifested in areas all around the planet in various forms (hide and seek, tag, jump rope games, etc.) but there are many games that seem to be organic, having grown out of the imaginations of a nationís children. The following is a game that children play in Chile.

Mar, Luna, Sol (Ocean, Moon, Sun)
You need a couple of steps where the children can stand side by side. This can be the front porch or the steps of a pool.

The bottom step (or the ground) is Mar (ocean). The next one up is Luna (moon) and the top step is Sol (sun). One person is the caller. The caller says either, ìMar, Luna or Solî and everyone has to jump to that step. The caller keeps choosing different levels and everyone must jump to that step. If a players jumps to the wrong step, they are out. The last one left standing wins and gets to be the caller.

There are many great Web sites where you can find games that are played by children in your friendís country. Research the games together with your own children or grandchildren. Then, let the games (and the learning) begin!

You can also look at our 2008 edition of Sacred Ground for more games around the world (look at page 15 of the pdf).

Related links
Serious fun, part 2
Serious fun: Creative play

Apr 6 2009

Writing topics

Ask Sponsor ServicesQ. I donít know what to write to my friend. Could you offer any suggestions?

A. We are happy that you will be writing to your friend. Children, youth and aging friends eagerly anticipate receiving letters and photos from their sponsors. For both you and your friend, writing letters and sharing photos is the best way to build a strong relationship. But we know that itís sometimes difficult to get that first letter started.

Here are some topic suggestions:
Your story ñ age, children, family
Holiday traditions special to your family
Your favorite color, food, memory, sports/games
Interests, profession or hobbies
Weather where you live
The landscape in your geographic area
Cultural activities ñ art, music, dance, theater
Why you chose your sponsored friend
Ask questions about your friendís life and dreams
Offer words of encouragement and support

If you donít have time to write a letter, postcards and pre-printed greeting cards are an easy and quick way to stay in touch with your friend.

Remember: Itís a good rule of thumb to avoid talking about material possessions, money and other topics that could serve to highlight the differences between your circumstances. Please keep these same considerations in mind when sending photographs.

For the privacy and protection of sponsors and sponsored friends, please do not share or ask your friend for personal contact information, including e-mail or home addresses and phone numbers.

Please visit the CFCA writing page for more writing tips, including up-to-date information about mailing costs and how to request more pre-printed labels.

Feb 10 2009

‘I’m going to miss your letters’

ìI truly hope, with all my heart that you are well because you deserve all blessings from this world.î

So begins the final letter from Karol to her sponsor of 10 years, Joseph Presper. Karol has finished her studies and is now working as a nurseís assistant at a hospital near her home. Because she has finished her university studies, it was time for Karol to be retired from the CFCA program. CFCA does not retire a person at a certain age. Instead, we walk with them until they have reached their educational goals.

Finishing her studies and graduating from the program was a bittersweet time for Karol. She writes, ìAt this moment there is also this great sadness in my heart Ö not only for your help but because I love you so very much and I am going to miss your letters, your news, knowing about your life and your family.î

Mr. Presper, a retired accountant,†says he used his letters to encourage Karol in her studies. He began to sponsor because he came to a point in his life when he realized he did not need more material possessions. There are so many others in the world who need so much, he said.

While he did not get the chance to visit Karol they both feel they grew close through their letters. Karol continues, ìI remember every single detail, all your letters, everything that youíve gone through, everything youíve shared with me, your support. Just imagine! I have your picture taped in my bedroom and anybody that comes in always asks me, whoís he? And I proudly answer, ëMy Godfather!íî

Karol had one last request of her Godfather: please sponsor another child. ìI would feel very happy to know that your beautiful light will light up the life of another child Ö there are many children of this world that need support, love and help to continue on, to bloom and change their own future.î

In this Valentine season where we can get lost in a sea of cards, chocolate, flowers and sentiment, we want to recognize the deep love that exists between a CFCA sponsor and sponsored friend. Karol closes her letter by saying, ìYou can be sure that there is someone that will always carry you in heart and mind. I will pray to God, everyday, to fill you with blessings, to keep you healthy. My life has been marked since I met you. Please, pray to God for me too, this is how we will continue to be united for eternity.î

Mr. Presper honored Karolís request and chose to sponsor another child.