When you sponsor a child you should feel comfortable with the organization you're partnering with. And you should feel confident that the organization operates with integrity.
To help make the best decision for your circumstances, priorities and values, consider these six questions before you decide which organization to sponsor a child with.
1. Who implements or administers the child sponsorship program?
For us, the answer is the church. We have over 6,200 local church partners. And our local country staff works diligently with each church and its staff to tailor our holistic child development model to the contextualized needs of each individual community.
Our church partners know each of the individual children they serve. They know each individual child’s name, family circumstances, future dreams and immediate needs. And our church partners, being churches, implement the program in the name of Jesus.
Our decision to partner with local churches is a strategic one. We believe local congregations are catalysts for community change and optimize the mutual respect, resources and common purpose critical in caring for children.
2. Who most directly benefits from my financial support?
When you sponsor a child with us, the beneficiary of your support is your individual sponsored child. The families of children in our sponsorship program receive additional or indirect benefits from their child’s sponsorship, but our focus is the one child.
We don’t target community development or work toward regional poverty reduction. Rather, we work directly with each child on a unique and individual level so that his or her specific needs are addressed.
Our child-focused, holistic child development approach to fighting poverty is distinctly different from a broader, community development approach. The result of this strategy is that by changing the life for one child, we work toward a critical mass that can transform an entire community and even a nation.
Over the years we’ve learned that changed circumstances rarely change people’s lives, but changed people inevitably change their circumstances.
3. How often does the child participate in the sponsorship program?
The standards for our Child Sponsorship Program are:
- At a minimum, every child development center operates 4-8 hours of programming each week, at least 48 weeks out of the year.
- Individual child attendance is taken each time the center is open.
Many of our development centers structure the frequency based on local, contextual needs, but all of them meet this standard.
4. What does the child experience in the sponsorship program?
Our approach is summed up by the phrase, “long-term, Christian holistic child development.” Through our programs we address every major aspect of the child's being, every element that they need to survive, develop and thrive. We want to release children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty.
To do this, our strategy includes four domains: physical, socio-emotional, cognitive and spiritual. The methods we use to teach the children are age-appropriate and may vary from one child development center to another and from one country to another, but the goals are the same.
We give the children in our programs many non-formal education options to help them discover their skills, talents and interests because we recognzie that children learn in different ways. From tae kwon do to bead making to baking to surfing, our children enjoy diverse learning opportunities.
5. What if the child has unique needs?
Because our church partners work one-on-one with the children in our sponsorship program, they are poised to note significant changes in child well-being, behavior, or family situation and address these issues through Complementary Interventions (CIV), which can be seen as an "elevator" to our core programs and provide services to lift the children and their families to higher standards of health and development.
6. What is the role of the sponsor?
Our one-to-one sponsorship model isn’t a funding mechanism for other programs; it facilitates relationships that change lives.
Our Child Sponsorship Program offers an opportunity to minister directly to a child in the developing world. The sponsor's role isn't simply to help fund programs, it's to participate. That's why we emphasize correspondence, sponsor engagement and visiting the child, if possible.
We believe child sponsorship is an experience that can change both child and sponsor. When sponsors participate and involve themselves in the life of their sponsored child, the world becomes a better place for both.
Sponsor a Child Today!
Partnering with the local church in a one-to-one relationship is a child sponsorship model we have seen work well for more than 60 years. Would you consider becoming part of our family and sponsor a child today?