Hi Friends! Long time no post! I had to share something with y'all that's been on my mind. As we approach the holiday season with Thanksgiving next week, I wanted to tell you about three organizations that are close to my heart. I know every year we all get bombarded by different organizations, local and international, for donations. So, I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring early in an effort to catch you before you're all tapped out!! :)
Many of you know that I sponsor a child through Compassion International. So, what is Compassion? Well to answer that I am copying info from their website!
Compassion began in the heart of one man moved by Korean War orphans
in 1952. The Rev. Everett Swanson was on a successful preaching tour in
South Korea when he encountered the bitter poverty of Korea's unwanted
children. He knew he had to do something.
Upon his return to the
United States, Everett established a program that allowed caring people
to provide food, shelter, education, medical care and Christian training
for Korean orphans. That program was, and remains, the foundation and
core of Compassion International. The hallmark of Compassion's work is one-to-one child sponsorship. A
sponsor is someone who has made the decision to personally invest in the
life of a child in need. Through sponsorship, children are able to
participate in a church-based program that offers life-changing benefits
that range from educational opportunities to health care.
This is me with my sponsored child Julienne in Rwanda last year. So, if you're wondering if the sponsorship is truly "one-to-one" I want to tell you that YES it is! One person/family/group that feels led to change the life of one child/family/community FOREVER! I say it this way because you can sponsor as a family, as an individual, or a group, such as a Sunday school class and your monthly donation of $38 supports one child of a family in need. This doesn't really seem like it would be such a big deal, but I am here to tell you, not only is the child forever changed by knowing there is a person/family/group across the world loving and praying for them, but also the whole family is given hope! I met Julienne's family on my visit and her mother showed me the cow they purchased from my donation. I didn't get to meet Julienne's dad because he was away at a doctor's appointment, which wouldn't have been possible before Julienne's sponsorship. And, during our visit, the entire COMMUNITY came over to Julienne's house to meet us. You see, Julienne's family lives in a very poor community. When I say that they are poor I mean, homes made of mud with dirt floors - no doors or windows; clothes that don't fit b/c they are hand me downs within the family for years - they are dirty, torn and threadbare; "outhouses" with a hole in the ground for facilities; "mattresses" that are so thin I wouldn't really call them that, on the floor for the children to sleep on, if they have that at all; no electricity, no water for miles, and very little food. And, this isn't just in Julienne's community, it's throughout the entire country for miles and miles and miles. So, when the neighbors came to meet us, Julienne, her sister Josiane and the rest of her family immediately started sharing the snacks I had brought to the family. The giving spills over and even though Julienne's family has so little, they still give to those who are less fortunate than they are - those kids who aren't sponsored yet. When you realize that for $38 a month you can literally CHANGE THE WORLD that these people live in, it doesn't seem like that much of an expense after all. To sponsor a child or make a one-time donation to children in urgent need, or just to find more info, visit www.compassion.com, or click on the link in the upper right corner of this blog!!
The next organization I want to share with y'all is CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children. This past January through March I participated in a training class to become a child advocate for Cullman County CASA.
This is me with my hand on the Bible (held by my handsome pop, Billy!) swearing to work for the best interests of abused and neglected children in Cullman County.
What is CASA? (From the website)
CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate
for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in
the overburdened legal and social service system or languish
in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case
until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home.
For many abused children, their CASA volunteer will be the one constant
adult presence in their lives.
Independent research has demonstrated that children with a CASA
volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term
foster care and less likely to reenter care.
CASA is a not-for-profit and receives funding from the US Government to function. However, due to the current economic conditions, funding for CASA has been cut nationwide. This means that the program will depend on receiving donations from people like you and me! If you feel led to give to an organization more local, please consider making a donation to your local CASA! In Cullman, CASA is in the Cullman Caring for Kids family and donations can be made at the food bank to Cullman County CASA. Click on the link below to go to the National CASA website to learn more.
Join our movement
Thanks for sticking with me guys!! The last group I want to tell you about is called Love Without Boundaries. Love Without Boundaries began in the year 2003 after a group of adoptive
parents came together to help save the life of one tiny boy in China.
Following his successful heart surgery, they realized that people with a
pure love for helping children can truly make a difference.
It is LWB's vision to provide the most loving and compassionate help
possible to orphaned and impoverished children in China, and to show the
world that every child, regardless of his or her needs, deserves to
experience love and be treated with dignity and care. (from their website)
I have always had a special place in my heart for orphans, and I became familiar with Love Without Boundaries when they were featured on the t-shirt website Sevenly.com. I started following them on Facebook and since then, the photos of these kids have tugged at my heart! Because China doesn't have regulations on pollution and rules regarding working conditions, in some of the poorest parts of rural China the birth defect rate is 85%. In addition, with China's strict child laws, many people simply abandon these children in dumpsters or orphanages causing a large number of children with special needs and no one to take care of them. That is where LWB comes in. They help children like this little guy.
This is George Bradford. I know strange name for this little guy but the volunteers usually have to name the abandoned children and this is what he got. lol. He had a cleft palate and because of LWB had his lip repaired. He is now growing and is in foster care awaiting a forever home. To read his story please go here: http://www.lovewithoutboundaries.com/programs/medical/success-stories/
To donate to Love Without Boundaries or find out more information, click the link in the upper right corner of this blog!
Thanks friends! I hope you will consider donating to one of these organizations, or to another organization of your choice this holiday season! Above all else, please pray for the children in impoverished countries like Rwanda and China, and for the abused and neglected children here in our on back yards.
Love you guys!