Friday, August 5, 2011

Breaking the Silence

Yes, indeed. Things sure have been quiet around here. Just a few days after I got home from my trip to Colorado, our family took off for the Kingdom Bound festival at a nearby amusement park. I meant to blog about Colorado while I was home, but I ended up needing more time than I thought to unpack, re-pack and recover from travelling. Now that my schedule is slowing down to a manageable pace, I aim to get back to my regularly scheduled posting.

Tomorrow, I hope to share some details about my trip to Colorado, but for today I will share some information that was posted on the OurCompassion website regarding some changes in the letter writing policies.

Quoting a post from Shaina Moats who works for Compassion:

Hi everyone!

Finally, the wait is over. :) I have the new correspondence guidelines for you. I am very excited about them as it will be better for sponsors who are fully engaged with their sponsored children and protect those children whose sponsors are not engaged.

Ill keep an eye on this journal entry to answer any questions you have- just leave them in comments..

What changes have you made to the correspondence process?

There have been four main changes to the correspondence process: a third party letter will be sent each year, every country will participate in a reciprocal writing process, children will write two letters annually instead of three, and children ages three to eight will use structured templates for correspondence.

You will receive one third party letter every year. Your child's pastor will write at least every other year; the project director, country director, or some other qualified individual will write the other years. This will help you better understand your sponsored child's community.

In addition to the two required letters, the child will also respond directly to up to 6 sponsor letters. This process is known as reciprocal letter writing. This creates more meaningful correspondence between you and your sponsored child, as you each respond to the each other's letters. Children whose sponsors do not write will be required to only write two letters annually. However, children and sponsors may send as many letters as they choose.

Younger children, age three to eight, will correspond using age-appropriate templates. Each template will represent one of six topical themes: family, favorites, project information, dreams, house, and Christian learning. Each template will include a basic question and answer section, a list of prayer requests, a fill-in-the-blank section, a checkbox section, a writing section (up to four lines of text), and a space for a drawing.

These changes are scheduled to be implemented by July, 2012. However, some countries have elected to implement some of these changes before that date.

Why are you changing the process?

We believe that these changes will improve the correspondence process and enable you to have a greater connection and better relationship with your sponsored child. For children age three to eight, age-appropriate templates do not rely on the tutor to write a narrative child letter on the child's behalf. The templates give younger children an easier framework to express themselves. The reduction to two child letters lowers the translation costs and prevents children from writing excessively to sponsors who do not engage with them. A reciprocal process helps us to create a consistent communications process across the globe and creates conversation between sponsor and child. Although we have changed the correspondence process, sponsors and children may still write as many letters as they choose.

These changes will ensure more letters for those sponsors who are dedicated in their letter-writing ministry to their sponsored child, and also make it easier for children whose sponsors don’t write. (Can you imagine what it must be like to be told you have to write to a sponsor who doesn’t make an effort to communicate back?)

One other thing I wanted to mention is that the Compassion Bloggers group on OurCompassion and my BFTB Facebook page will have regular blogging assignments for those who want to spread the word about Compassion International and the various ways they help. Click the FB button on the top right of this page to keep up with BFTB and any future assignments!

-Michelle