Monday, April 22, 2013

Making Sponsorship a Family Affair!

Taking the step of faith to sponsor a child through an organization like Compassion International can be a life changing decision. You have the opportunity to impact a child living in poverty and also their family. This is the motivation for a majority of people who make the decision to start sponsoring a child.

What often follows, though, is an impact in your own family. I’ve heard it from numerous sponsors in the last few years. Many have commented on how surprised they were to feel a nearly instant sense of love for a child they have never met. Perspectives are changed and hearts are open to something that is greater then themselves.

Getting your children involved in the sponsorship process is a wonderful way to nurture their innate sense of compassion. I do believe that most children are born with a deep-seated affinity for caring and helping. By taking steps to include children in your sponsorship journey, you can help to foster this characteristic!

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(My girls with the packet from our very first sponsored child, four years ago!)

This week, I hope to focus on ways to get your family, and specifically your children  involved in your sponsorships through Compassion International.

I am sure it will come as no surprise. My first post this week will be on my very favorite way to make the most of the sponsorship opportunity.

Letters!

Encouraging children to connect with sponsored children through letters is a great way to make sponsorship more personal.

While we make letter writing a part of our weekly homeschool schedule, it could be a great after school or weekend activity for any family.

Toddlers can grab crayons and draw a picture to send to their far-away friend.

Preschoolers can dictate letters to an adult and, if they are able, they can trace the words as well. This is something that Luna really enjoyed doing when she was younger.

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When writing to a sponsored child, it may help to bring out that child’s picture and strike up a conversation with your own kids. Is there anything they would like to know about the sponsored child? Do they have any exciting news they would like to share?

The Our Family for His Glory blog has a nice page of stationary that is perfect for preschoolers and the younger set.

Emily from With Elephant Grace has also created a nice line of stationary templates that are perfect for children!

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Sonja from Conspiracy of Love also created some templates for letter writing which can be found here.

With older children, you can give them stationary and various writing prompts to inspire their letters.  You’ll find prompts galore in the links on my sidebar or on my various Pinterest boards.

Make sure to keep stationary and templates accessible and available for whenever inspiration strikes! Or once a month, you can pull out paper, art supplies and stickers and call the family to the table!

Some children struggle with writing and I think that sending nice drawings to sponsored children is another great way to connect.

My girls love drawing and Kaya has sent some really sweet pictures to some of our Compassion children.

This one for Yolanda in Guatemala accompanied a letter where Kaya shared how much she likes riding horses.

This drawing was inspired by a letter from Kwagala in Uganda, after she had shared her dreams of opening a salon of her own one day.

It doesn’t matter if your child prefers writing or drawing, sponsored children will surely be blessed to receive something special from their friends!

Now, when you receive a letter, be sure to call your children and read it to them with excitement!  If your sponsored child mentions something specific, like a place or a song or a type of food, take the time to look that up with your children and learn more!

When our Obwini Stephen mentioned that his favorite song was “Biriba Bitya”, I took to Youtube and was happy to find a music video!

We also found videos of a jumping game that Precious in Ghana mentioned called Ampe. Little glimpses into the culture and favorites of our children really do help us feel connected in some way!

When we have a bit of a dry spell between letters, I will sometimes pull out our binders and go through ones we have received in the past. It doesn’t take long before I have company on the couch and we are all relearning and remembering things our Compassion children have mentioned!

Do you have any suggestions for getting children involved in the letter writing aspect of sponsorship?  I would be so happy to hear your ideas! Please click on the comments below to share your tips or links to blog posts on this topic!

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