Tag: letters

Nov 9 2011

Mothers help sponsored friends write letters to sponsors

By Ricardo Ajpuac, CFCA staff member in Guatemala

A group of 134 mothers are helping CFCA sponsored children in the Guatemalan community of San Lorenzo, San Marcos, write letters to their sponsors.

Ilcia with CFCA sponsored children in Guatemala helping them write letters to sponsors

Ilcia helps CFCA sponsored children Manolo, center, and Auner, right, with letters to their sponsors.

Many of these mothers were only able to complete the primary level of education. Only a few were able to study in middle school.

ìI only studied up to fourth grade where I learned to read and write, and now I am putting that into practice,” said Ilcia, one mother. “Although I cannot write very well, I want to help.î

Mothers have used this as an opportunity to feel significant and involved with their community.

After CFCA staff members explained more about how to write a good letter, moms now meet in advance to plan all activities on the day of writing letters to sponsors.

Each sponsored child has two notebooks. One is for writing the letter draft, and here the mothers can make observations and corrections. Read more

Apr 4 2011

What postal price changes will mean for CFCA sponsors

A number of sponsors have mentioned the upcoming price adjustments for the U.S. Postal Service, which will be effective on April 17.

The only letters that will be affected are letters to Mexico (1 oz.), which will cost 80 cents instead of 79 cents.

All letters to other international destinations will remain unchanged at 98 cents, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

Happy writing!

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.

Nov 5 2009

Happy birthday, Sarge

Angie aka SargeEvery year CFCA processes an estimated 1.5 million letters from sponsored children and elderly. Each of these letters, with mailing labels, must be put into envelopes before they can be mailed to the sponsors.

You might think we need a small army to get this done. But, we have something better: a group of 35 highly dedicated volunteers.

And today, one of those volunteers, Angie Simms, is celebrating her 95th birthday!

Angie has been helping CFCA for 25 years, making her our longest-serving volunteer. She averages around 570 volunteer hours per year.

The staff and other volunteers know Angie simply and affectionately as “Sarge,” both for her military background (she served in the Womenís Army Corps in World War II) and her no-nonsense manner.

“She’s very spit-fire, and brings humor to the work place,” said Colleen McKeone, CFCA coordinator of child letters who works closely with the volunteers. “She has no qualms about speaking her mind. I enjoy her presence very much.”

AngieFor those who take the time to listen, Angie has a wealth of stories and life lessons. She’ll also trade some one-liners with anyone who’s quick enough to keep up with her.

After thousands of volunteer hours and probably millions of letters, we wonder what makes her so steadfast. Her brisk answer is pretty simple:

“God must have left me here in this world to do something.”

We’re glad He has, Sarge.

Happy birthday!

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

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 13 2009

Listening through letters

CFCA sponsors Howard and Jennifer Martin discuss their letter-writing experiences with their sponsored children and how their relationship goes beyond the financial aspect of sponsoring.

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.

Jan 12 2009

Why are my sponsored friend’s letters written by someone else?

ask_graphic1Q. Sometimes I receive a letter written by someone else. Why doesn’t my sponsored friend write?

A. There are a variety of reasons why a letter may be written by someone other than your sponsored friend. When this occurs, CFCA asks that the person writing the letter clearly identify themselves so you will know.

Letters to sponsors sometimes are written by parents, relatives, social workers or project staff on behalf of the child or aging person. It may be that the parents or project staff want to help a child write a more meaningful letter, or the child may be too young to write.

If your sponsored friend is elderly, conditions such as vision problems, illness or illiteracy may make it necessary for a representative to write on their behalf.

For some people in developing countries, oral communications are the norm and letter writing is a challenge. Composing a simple letter may require the assistance of a family member or a project staff member.