Sponsoring a Child

April 6, 2016 12:08 pm Published by

   e Count, JBFC Staff

Editor’s Note: JBFC’s Sponsor a Child program began back in 2009. Over the years, dozens of people from around the country have helped sponsor the educational and living expenses of children in Tanzania. Alyssa Doty is one of the people who helps run the program, behind the scenes. She keeps track of who’s sponsoring who, who needs a sponsor, and she facilitates contact between the children in Tanzania and their sponsors in America. In this blog, she explains her unique perspective on sponsorship, as a program administrator and a long-time international sponsor.
I was introduced to the world of child sponsorship my freshman year in college. A large nonprofit came to my college campus and convinced me that even as a broke college student I could afford a monthly pledge to help support a child’s education and health. Having just moved back to the United States from South America, doing this sponsorship helped me feel that I could still have a very small part in making a big difference in the life of a child on the other side of the world. Almost two decades later I am still sponsoring a child through this organization.

Because of my history of sponsorship, when I started working for JBFC in 2015 I was very excited to learn that we also have a sponsorship program. After helping with our Sponsor a Child program for the past 16 months I have learned a few things about sponsorship in general and our program in particular:

1. The money really does make a difference. JBFC has three yearly sponsorship levels: $350 for a residential sponsorship, $400 for a scholarship sponsorship, and $750 to cover both. This may not seem like a lot (think about how much money you spend just on groceries and school clothes for your kids alone), but that amount helps children at JBFC get a quality education and provide for their living needs. It also means that other donations that previously would have gone towards scholarships and residential needs can now be used to expand our programs and offer even more opportunities to these kids.

2. It’s not just about the money; it’s also about the relationships. Confession time: I have not been the best sponsor in terms of seeking out relationships with the kids I have sponsored. I take a lot of the blame for that, and come up with a lot of excuses (current one being I can barely keep track of the two children who live in my home, much less find stamps for a letter). But also part of it has to do with the program I have sponsored through. I get yearly updates from the child I am sponsoring, and they are not very personal. So I have had a hard time connecting and even remembering to send letters.

At JBFC we try to send out quarterly updates that let the sponsors get to know the kids they are sponsoring. We also try to make it easy for the sponsors to communicate directly with the kids they sponsor. We just sent out pre-addressed and stamped cards to each of our sponsors (no excuses!) to send to their sponsored kids, and I’m amazed by the number we have gotten back. The kids love to hear from their sponsors and to get to know them and their families. We have many sponsors who have traveled to Tanzania to meet their sponsored child, and some beautiful stories of connections and friendships have come out of that (keep an eye out for future blogs on these stories).

3. Sponsorship is addictive and competitive, in a really good way. Ok, this one is not based on any scientific research – it’s just my observation. About a quarter of our current sponsors are sponsoring more than one kid. A few of those sponsors started out sponsoring all the kids at once, but others have started sponsoring one kid and then a couple of months later call to say they want to sponsor another kid. See? Addictive (or we just have a lot of really big-hearted people supporting JBFC). Also there are times that we have a wait list for sponsoring kids. That is not a problem folks; that’s amazing. It means that when we get a new girl at the JBFC campus, or a child at the Joseph and Mary Schools that needs scholarship help, we already have the funds lined up to pay for their care and schooling. This is the kind of competition I like – everyone wins.

Currently we do have several kids in need of sponsorship (especially at the scholarship level). If you are interested in sponsoring a child and want more information, please give me a call at: 918-706-2268 ext 3.

Or if you are ready to sponsor now, you can sign up on our donation page. After entering your donation amount ($350 for a residential sponsorship, $400 for a scholarship sponsorship, and $750 to cover both) scroll to the bottom where it says “I want my donation to go toward:” and choose your sponsorship level. And don’t forget under the “donation frequency” section to choose “annual.” That will save us in administration time and money, and give you a little more time to focus on building a relationship with your sponsored child.

Guest Blogger Alyssa Doty is JBFC’s Office Manager and she helps administer our Sponsor a Child program.

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This post was written by Mainsprings