Anurak, who graduated from Compassion’s program in Thailand in 2012, shares some of his fondest memories of his time as a sponsored child and teenager.
"It is a vivid memory: I think I was around 5 or 6 when my mother took me to the Compassion center for the first time," Anurak says. "It wasn’t too long after my father had passed away. My mother was still mourning, and I was too young to understand how sad she was and what she had to do to raise me. I only remember how excited I was every weekend to go to the Compassion center."
Anurak says the people in his life when he was a child in Compassion’s program — his tutors, friends and sponsor — helped give him a good childhood and fond memories. "I might not have a father like my friends, but I love my childhood memories. Because of the Compassion center, we had things to look forward to every weekend."
Anurak says he began dreaming about his future in art class. He had an especially inspirational art teacher, who helped him think about who he wanted to be when he grew up. The teacher was one of many caring adults in Anurak’s life. Another was his sponsor.
"My most precious memory is of my sponsor and how he made me feel that I had a complete family," Anurak says. "His name was Scott; he wore jersey number 41. I had a picture of Scott, and in the picture, he was dressed as an American footballer. As a kid, I felt he was super cool. … I felt like we were family because we shared our lives, families and thoughts for years through letters. It was like a family conversation through letter writing."
Scott always sent money for Anurak’s birthday and during Christmas. “One gift in particular changed our perspective of our lives,” Anurak says. "My mother and I were in awe of how much Scott cared for us. … He sent a gift for me and my mother to buy a calf. From there, we learned to set goals for our finances and income."
After Anurak graduated from Compassion’s program, he wasn’t exactly sure what career to pursue. He changed jobs many times, unable to find fulfilling work. But then he decided to enroll in higher education.
"Today, I am graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science," says Anurak, who works as an assistant to the area chief, where he has a voice in politics and local decision-making. Because of his good character, he received a scholarship from the Thailand government to complete his degree in politics.