Learning Through Giving

In my first blog post, I mentioned how I made up a list of values, beliefs, and traits I wanted to nurture in my children. One of the character traits I hope they develop is compassion towards others and a desire to help those in need. When Jacob was around four years old, he started learning how different people live around the world through books we read. We shared with him how many adults and children do not have enough food, clothing, or a home to live in.

When I was a young girl, my family sponsored a child in Bolivia through Christian Children's Fund. Our sponsored child's name was Alex and he became an extended part of our family. We would write letters to him and get letters in return. Alex's mother even sent our family a couple of gifts from Bolivia. One gift was a card with a picture of birds made out of feathers and the other gifts was a small woven wall hanging. Sponsoring Alex made a big impression on me and when I turned 13 years old I decided to use some of my babysitting money to sponsor my own child. I chose to sponsor a child through Children's International because the monthly sponsorship fees were more affordable. My first sponsored child was from India and her name was Marufa. She was five years old when I started sponsoring her. I ended up sponsoring her until she graduated from school and got married. Since then my husband and I have sponsored several other children through Children's International and I have shared with my own two children the letters and pictures we receive from them. The pictures to the left and right are pictures of my first sponsored child, Marufa.

Over the years, my son Jacob has become more and more interested in helping children around the world. We have read stories about children who live in other countries and I have shared stories from our sponsorship newsletters. A wonderful organization we learned about a couple years ago is Heifer International. Through this organization you can purchase farm animals which are then donated to families in need around the world. The families are taught how to care for the animals and they must donate the first offspring of their animal to another family in need. The animals provide the family with food and a source of income which can make a big difference in their lives. Some of the animals you can donate are chickens, ducks, goats, sheep, cows, and more. Jacob really enjoyed helping buy chickens for a family by doing extra chores around the house to earn money. Heifer International has a wonderful children's book called Beatrice's Goat which is an excellent teaching tool.

We now have a new favorite charitable organization called Love Without Boundaries. Our own family has actually benefited from the work of this organization in a very big way. When we were matched to adopt our daughter Rosa, we found out that her medical and foster care were provided through Love Without Boundaries (LWB). An individual sponsor through LWB donated the monthly funds needed for her to live with a foster family after she turned two and others had donated money so she could receive treatment for her eye condition. We are so grateful for what LWB has done for our daughter and so many other children in China. LWB provides help in the areas of medical care, nutrition, foster care, education, and special projects. Up until this year, they were an organization run solely by volunteers.

Besides the fact that Love Without Boundaries helped our daughter, it is now our favorite charitable organization because it provides a wonderful way for our children to experience the joys of giving and learn while doing so. Love Without Boundaries allows contributors to donate any amount toward the medical care or surgery for individual children listed on their Medical page. This has allowed Jacob and Rosa to donate a couple of dollars which they have earned or received to help a child. They have been able to personally pick a child from a list of photos on the medical site. Each child who needs medical help or surgery has a photo posted as well as information about their medical needs.

Last year, Jacob donated some money that he won when he caught a pig at our Fair's pig scramble. He decided to use the money to help a little boy around his age who had lived in the same orphanage as our daughter. This little boy had a blood condition and needed regular blood transfusions. Jacob was so excited when he found out a number of months ago that the little boy had been matched to be adopted by a family here in the U.S.

Jacob and Rosa have donated money to help several children on the Love Without Boundaries medical page. I subscribe to the LWB Blog Posts and we have been able to read updates on one of the babies my children chose to help. LWB also has a Kids for Kids Newsletter which shares stories of children who have helped other children through LWB. The stories in this newsletter are very inspiring and they have been a great learning tool. Reading the stories has shown Jacob and Rosa that you do not need to be an adult to make a big difference in the world. We have been greatly blessed by Love Without Boundaries through the help they provided our daughter while she lived in China and now through the opportunity our children have to give back. Jacob and Rosa have been able to see how their donations (no matter how small) can make a difference for children on the other side of the world.

Our family now sponsors a child through Love Without Boundaries and we receive updates on our child every few months. If you are interested in sponsoring a child, please visit the LWB Sponsorship Page.


Lou Ellen said...

Amy, your idea of writing down your goals for your children is excellent. It is so easy to get caught up in just getting through life. You know?

So glad you have learned the joy of a giving heart and sharing with others.

Mike Patricia & Evy said...

Nice post! I followed your link from WCC. :-) LWB is my favorite charity too! Sometimes they help kids who are still in families in China - which makes it so that their birth families don't have to abandon the child in order for him/her to receive the medical treatment he/she needs.

Stacey Gifford said...

I always let my kids put change in the different charity baskets and things. I am teaching them the concept of giving to others who are less fortunate or who may need medical treatment. My son has epilepsy, I truly know of the word give to others. I love to give back.