By: Willow Welter   |   Posted: January 03, 2023

Ideas and resources to help you show how much you care.

9 Ways to Show Up Big for Your Sponsored Child in 2023

Ideas and resources to help you show how much you care.

Written by Willow Welter
Photography by Odessa B, Junieth Dinarte, Bernard Gbagba, Piyamary Shinoda and Alejandra Zuniga
a young boy sits outside his home

Showing up for someone doesn’t have to mean being physically present. When I think of showing up for someone, I think about giving my time, effort, compassion or words to let them know I care. Showing up for someone means going out of your way to help them or just sit beside them during whatever they’re going through.

You can show up for the child you sponsor with words, prayers, gifts, photos — really any act that tells them you’re thinking about them. As we look ahead to a new year, here are some ideas and resources to show up big for the child you sponsor!

1. Write Letters

2 boys sit in the doorway of their school

Show up for your sponsored child this year by writing to them. The new year is a good time to set goals and commit to how often you want to write to the young person you sponsor. I’m committing to a goal that’s realistic for me: Sending at least five letters each this year to Adam and Valeria, the teenagers I sponsor. Your letter writing goals might be more or less frequent than mine, but I can assure you your words will brighten the day, week and even life of the child you sponsor.

There are a few easy ways to send a letter to your sponsored child. You can write online after logging into My Account through the Compassion app (available for iOS or Android), or you might choose traditional paper or stationery. I like doing it through the app because it makes uploading photos from my phone super easy.

If you have more questions about what you can and can’t send and how it’s delivered, check out our letter writing FAQ.

2. Send a Birthday Gift

Another way to show the child you sponsor how much you care is to send them a birthday gift.

You should receive an email reminder from Compassion a few months before your sponsored child’s birthday. It will suggest a deadline for sending your birthday gift so there’s plenty of time. You can also set up a recurring birthday gift so you never forget! Just log in to My Account and select Child Gifts.

a young girl sits outside her home with birthday presents

Here’s how giving a birthday gift works:

  1. You send the child you sponsor a monetary birthday gift. We recommend $30, but you can give up to $110.
  2. Compassion staff or volunteers will coordinate with the child’s family to buy them something they want or need.
  3. On the child’s birthday, they will open their gift and know you were thinking of them!

3. Take a Photo Just for Them

Showing up for your sponsored child can be as easy as snapping a picture. Write a quick personal message on a sheet of paper, like “Happy Easter, Valeria!” or “Thinking of you, Adam!” and take a selfie with the message. If you have kids in your home, they may want to color and decorate a message for the photo, which could picture your whole family.

Photos can help deepen the child’s connection to you, and they love receiving them just as much as you love getting new photos of them!

For advice on how to be the most sensitive to your sponsored child’s world when you take photos in your home, read the tips in this article.

4. Give a Family Gift

Family gifts are another amazing way to show you care. They can transform the livelihood of entire families. When you send a family gift, the staff at your child’s Compassion center will work with the family to figure out the best use for the money. That’s why it’s so important to work with local churches that know the individual needs of their communities and the children in the program.

We recommend giving $60 for a family gift, but you can give up to $1,000, which is how much sponsors Linda and Doug Pfaff gave to their sponsored child’s family in Uganda. They wanted to pass on the blessings in their own lives, so they gave big to the family of the child they sponsor, Ablavi.

“We had no idea the magnitude of [how] the gift would help,” Doug says.

The family gift that Doug and Linda sent was used to build the family a home and buy them livestock. The improved economic situation enabled Ablavi’s father, who had left town to find steady work, to return home for good.

Read their full story to see how transformative family gifts can be!

a family smiles at the camera

5. Pray for Them

Finally, don’t forget a powerful way to show up big for the child you sponsor this year: Pray for them. Some families pray out loud for their sponsored child before meals, asking for God to ensure the child has enough to eat. Or you might add your sponsored child’s name to prayer requests at church.

a father prays for his son

Compassion also has a Prayer Network, a community of people like you who pray regularly for children living in poverty. You can sign up for free to become a Prayer Partner and receive a monthly prayer calendar via email or mail. It lists specific requests that our church partners around the world send us so we can pray for children in the program, their families and staff and volunteers who serve them.

6. Give a Center Gift

This is one of our newer opportunities to show up for your sponsored child. You can give to help your child’s entire child development center, providing much-needed items that will benefit all the kids who go there for Compassion program activities. You can give anywhere from a one-time gift of $50 to a maximum of four gifts up to $15,000 per center each year.

When you give a center gift, staff will decide how best to use the gift to help the children. For example, your gift could be used to:

  • Build a playground.
  • Stock a kitchen with food and supplies.
  • Equip a library with new textbooks.
  • Repair washrooms.
  • Fill a classroom with more learning supplies and toys.

For a child living in poverty, a Compassion center is a place of refuge. In some cases, the playground might be the only safe place to play in their whole community. And with some centers that serve more than 200 children, classroom and hygienic supplies are always much appreciated.

7. Host a Compassion Sunday Event

Hosting a Compassion Sunday event at your church is a powerful way to show up for the child you sponsor. It’s a day when you tell your church family about the child you sponsor and give them the chance to sponsor a child too. This year, April 30 is the date most churches will participate, but you can choose any date that works best for you.

Here’s how Compassion Sunday events work:

  1. You order a free Planning Guide, and we’ll mail it to you. It doesn’t obligate you to anything; it just gives you all the information you need to decide whether to host an event at your church. It has a booklet to give to your pastor, a sample presentation and other resources.
  2. After setting a date with your pastor, you register your event. Compassion will then send an Event Kit, including display decorations for a table you’ll set up in your church lobby and a T-shirt to wear. The week before your event, you’ll receive packets of children needing sponsors, which you put out on your table the day of your event.
  3. At your Compassion Sunday event, you tell your church about your sponsored child and why you have a heart for people in poverty. It can be a short talk during announcements, or you can work it into the whole service.
  4. After the service, people visit your table to learn more and see the children available for sponsorship. They can sponsor a child right from your table!

After your event, you can write to the child you sponsor and say you told your whole church family about them. Imagine how special that would make a child feel!

8. Get Your Kids Involved

We all want to inspire the kids in our lives to have hearts for people in poverty. Having your own children write letters or draw pictures for the child your family sponsors is a great way to get them thinking beyond themselves. With your sponsored child as a pen pal, your own child can gain a broader perspective, cultivate gratitude and practice writing or drawing. And children in the program love getting letters or drawings from kids around their age!

Maybe you even develop a family letter writing plan for the new year, marking on the calendar whose turn it is to write to the child you sponsor that month. Or the family could gather around the table every time you write and everyone add their own special touch.

If you do have school-age children in the home, you’ll find lots of fun family resources — activities, crafts, devotionals, stories and recipes — in Compassion Explorer for children. And if you’re a sponsor or donor living in the U.S., you can sign up to receive the print edition of Compassion Explorer Magazine in the mail four times a year for free. We are currently only able to send the magazine to households of sponsors.

9. Continue to Sponsor

Just a little reminder that even if you take none of the above actions, you are still making an enormous difference simply by sponsoring! Your monthly act of faith shows the child you sponsor how much you care. Your support connects them with a local church that knows their unique needs and works tirelessly to meet them with the resources you provide.

Compassion supporters are some of my favorite people. You inspire me every day, and I’m so glad I get to share these ideas and resources with you so you start off 2023 with your sponsored child at the front of your mind. Happy New Year!

Write to Your Sponsored Child
There’s no time like the present! Drop a quick New Year’s greeting to the child you sponsor.