It’s (Not) So Sad to Say Goodbye

In three years as a Compassion sponsor, I’ve had to say goodbye to several sponsor children. Children leave the program for many reasons, including graduating, moving away from the area with their families and even simply tiring of the program.

Three times, though, I’ve had children leave for an incredible reason, which is surely a testament to Compassion’s success. They left because their family situations had improved so much that they no longer needed Compassion’s help.


Anderson, from Guatemala, was my first sponsor child, and also my first to leave Compassion due to his family’s circumstances improving.

Can you imagine that? These families who once qualified for Compassion’s services had improved their circumstances so greatly that they were able to stand on their own.

Initially children are selected for Compassion sponsorship by the leadership of the local project, which is often a pastor or a committee of church leaders. These children are selected after being identified as the most needy in the community. 


Greyvin, of Nicaragua, was my second sponsor child whose circumstances improved so much that his family left Compassion.

While in the program, children receive help with spiritual, economic, social and physical needs. Meanwhile, their parents also can receive training covering topics such as family care, adult literacy education, seminars on domestic violence, and nutritional food preparation.

At the point when a family feels it no longer needs Compassion’s services, the family can make this known to the project leaders, who make a home visit to confirm it.

A Compassion representative told me that many families make the decision to leave the program when their circumstances improve because they know there are children on the waiting list who desperately need the benefits offered by Compassion.


Jordy, of the Dominican Republic, is my most recent child to leave Compassion when his family’s circumstances improved.

So a family in desperate need receives help and training, its circumstances improves, and the family makes the decision to step aside so another family in the community can receive help. I can’t think of a better system than this.

Please click here, browse the children waiting for sponsors, and see if there is a child you would like to release from poverty. Compassion works in 26 countries around the world, and has more than 3,500 chldren available today on the United States web site alone.

When you partner with Compassion, you could help a child and its family to reach the point where Compassion’s help no longer is needed, and isn’t that the whole point of sponsorship?

An Invisible Thread


“An Invisible Thread” by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski

Laura was a successful advertising executive in New York City when she passed 11-year-old Maurice on the streets one day. She hardly noticed him at first.

“His words were part of the clatter, like a car horn or someone yelling for a cab,” she wrote. “They were, you could say, just noise – the kind of nuisance New Yorkers learn to tune out.”

But something stopped Laura in her tracks, and she walked back to Maurice, invited him to McDonald’s, and began a relationship that would change both of their lives. The two began to meet weekly, and before long, Laura even included Maurice in her own family’s holiday celebrations.

“An Invisible Thread,” by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski, tells a fascinating and moving story of two people from vastly different worlds.

Their worlds were so different that when Maurice found out Laura had tracked him down to the public housing apartment he shared with many relatives, he begged her never to return there for her own safety.

“You have to promise me you’ll never go back there again,” he said. The child was trying to protect his adult mentor.

But Laura and Maurice had in common the pain of childhoods marked by chaos. Laura grew up navigating her own father’s violent alcoholic outbursts, which seemed to give her a special understanding and empathy for Maurice.

Laura tried to create a comforting routine for Maurice with weekly dinners, laundry washing, and even making him lunch for school daily. It was the kind of routine that those who have lived without really can appreciate.

Maurice requested that his lunch be give to him in a paper bag each day. He said, “Because when I see kids come to school with their lunch in a paper bag, that means someone cares about them.”

Despite warnings from friends and loved ones that she was possibly becoming too close to this child, Laura forged ahead, enjoying a relationship that has continued into Maurice’s adulthood. It is a friendship that has survived ups and downs in both their lives.

Laura’s decision in that brief moment so many years before changed two lives for the better. This is an uplifting story of love and trust.

Art Spotlight: Bolivia

As part of my “Art Spotlight” series, today I am sharing drawings from 9-year-old Humberto in Bolivia. He always colors his drawings very neatly, and it’s clear he spends a lot of time on them.






If you are interested in sponsoring a child from Bolivia, or from any of the 26 countries Compassion serves, please click here.

Christmas Comes Early

It’s time to send out Christmas packages to your sponsor children!

It normally takes about two months for items to reach your Compassion children, so I try to send my Christmas packages out by early October each year.

This year, my children and I put together packets for our sponsor children including items like stickers, bookmarks, coloring posters, thin paperback books and Christmas cards.


Foldable cards from Memory Cross and Noah’s Ark stickers.



Christmas cards made by my daughter.

Once we had everything together, we started the assembly line.


My sons assembling the Christmas packets.

We put all the smallest items into a Christmas-patterned paper bag, which we stored in a paper folder with pockets along with any larger items. We also labeled any larger items and the paper folders with each child’s name and identification number, and my name and sponsor number.

We ordered some of the items online from Memory Cross, and Oriental Trading.

Remember, Compassion has some size restrictions on packages. Items must not exceed 8 1/2 by 11 inches and be 1/4-inch thick or less. Please check out this link for other restrictions.