One way in which we give back to the world is through our participation in aid organizations, on a global level and within our own community. If you are seeking ways in which to “make a difference” in the world, we highly recommend the following groups:
ChildFund—ChildFund supports a large number of communities throughout the world, with a focus on the health, education, and rights of children. The program is funded through the monthly sponsorship of individual children, as well as general donations and direct “purchases” of items (e.g., mosquito nets, water tanks, chickens, seeds, etc.) in the Gift Catalog.
Our lives have been enriched through our continuing sponsorship of a number of children over the years. The best part is the ongoing connection with the children through letters in which we share each others’ lives. We have also visited two of our sponsored children, in Bolivia and Mexico. (Click on the links to view our detailed photo-stories about those special days.)
Women for Women International—Operating in countries that are recovering from the devastating effects of war, Women for Women International offers women survivors a year-long program in which they receive job skills instruction, aid for their families, education about human rights, and leadership training. For $27 a month, you can sponsor a woman on her year-long journey to self-sufficiency. You also have the opportunity to form a personal bond by exchanging letters with your sponsored “sister.”
Each year, we sponsor a different woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the many letters that we have received, our sponsored sisters have shared how they have learned to read and write, provided better food and education for their children, gained self-confidence, improved relationships with their husbands, and started businesses involving new skills such as tie-dying and soap making.
Proyecto DCR in Quito, Ecuador—This non-profit group has started a school for one of the most marginalized groups in Quito—street kids who are usually found begging or selling small items (candy or trinkets) to help support their families. The letters “DCR” stand for:
“Dignity”—A good education will allow the children to make better choices as they get older; they will be able to live with dignity, instead of begging on the street.
“Consciousness”—By raising awareness of social injustices, the project hopes to inspire people to take action that will bring about change.
“Respect”—The project’s work reflects its utmost respect for the surrounding community and the environment.
Our family brought school supplies and clothing to Proyecto DCR when we traveled to Ecuador in April 2011.
Literacy Program of Santa Cruz County, California—A recent university study revealed that the primary factor that keeps many U.S. immigrants in poverty is language—specifically, the inability to communicate in English. We live in Santa Cruz County, which has a high percentage of people who speak Spanish as their first language. The Literacy Program provides a basic training program on how to teach English as a second language, and then matches each new tutor with an adult student.
We have experienced first-hand how just a few hours each week over time can make a huge difference in another person's life, increasing their confidence and the ease in which they interact with the community at large.