Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What’s it like to volunteer with NPH?

10 Reasons to Choose Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos When Volunteering Abroad
by Carrie Daut

Maybe you’re a recent college graduate. Maybe you’re mid-career and looking for a change. Maybe you’re retired and searching for the next adventure. Whoever you are, when you’re looking to volunteer abroad, the options seem endless. They seem overwhelming. I remember. :)

I’m Carrie, and from January 2010 – January 2011, I was a volunteer at NPH Guatemala. So, what’s it like to volunteer with NPH?

NPH’s international volunteer program offers many of the same things other international volunteer programs do. Work with children. Live in a developing country. Improve your Spanish or French. Teach English.

But NPH is also unique among volunteer abroad programs, and I promise you this: you’ll be hard-pressed to find an organization with the same affordability, support system and sense of family as NPH.

What makes the NPH international volunteer program so unique?

1. There is no fee. You pay nothing to volunteer. (Okay, so you pay to get yourself there and back. And you pay 35 bucks to process your background check. But that’s it.) Zero. Nada. Zilch.

2. NPH pays you. All volunteers receive a monthly stipend, which varies by home (usually $50 - $100 per month). I know it doesn’t sound like much, but when a nice Guatemalan hotel room only costs $8 a night and a 3-hour bus ride only costs $3, you’ll be surprised at just how far $50 can get you.

3. You get free housing and 3 free meals a day. That stipend now feels like a whole lot more, doesn’t it? :)

4. It’s a one-year commitment (or you can extend). A year is long enough to become fully immersed in NPH life but less intense than, for example, the Peace Corps.

5. Professional volunteer positions. If you want to teach English, that’s awesome. NPH certainly needs English teachers. But they also need physical therapists, psychologists, communications people (that’s what I did!), clinic staff, childcare workers, etc. with expert training in their field. A year abroad doesn’t have to mean putting your career calling on hold.

6. Options within the program. Each of the 9 NPH homes is different. Some have as many as 800 children and 25 volunteers; others have as few as 90 children and 4 volunteers. Some are located near tourist towns; others are extremely isolated. Some have hot water, washing machines and wireless internet, while others don’t. As a volunteer, you choose your experience.

7. Vacation. (I had 4 weeks of it at NPH Guatemala, allowing me to travel to Mexico, Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and all over Guatemala.) What other job is going to give a 24 year-old 4 weeks paid vacation?

8. Free access to healthcare. All NPH homes have onsite clinics. From minor colds to broken bones, volunteers have trusted medical access where they live.

9. Support systems both in-country and at home. The NPH program is extremely established, supporting volunteers before, during and after their service. Before you leave, Friends of the Orphans helps with packing lists, what to expect, and arranging language school. While you’re there, your in-country Volunteer Coordinator points out the market, where to get a cell phone, and how to use public transportation. They’ll also organize volunteer retreats and ask for your feedback on the volunteer program. When you return, Friends provides follow-up support and checks in to see how you’re adjusting.

10. A built-in community, or better yet, a family. NPH volunteers live onsite at the homes, surrounded by dozens – more likely hundreds – of kids, staff and fellow volunteers. Through the good, bad, terrifying, exhilarating and touching moments, you are never in your volunteer experience alone. There’s a phrase we use at NPH: Somos una gran familia. We are all one giant family.

So if you’re ready to volunteer with NPH, get to it! (Or if you know someone else who’s looking to volunteer, send them this list right now!)

Visit the Friends of the Orphans website for more details on the international volunteer program. And one last question: just what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You will find the experience worthwhile...

Below is an excerpt written by great Friend and Godparent, Jason Topp.He writes about his recent trip to NPH in the DR with his wife and children. Jason is an avid golfer and writes a monthly column on a golf website about his travels and of course couldn't resist sharing about his DR trip.

The baseball facility reminds me of a place where children are given the chance to lead a productive life that is not dependent on their baseball skill. Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) gives children from extraordinarily difficult circumstances a home, food, education and love. The organization is tremendously successful with such efforts and my family regularly visits their homes located in countries throughout Central America, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The purpose of our visit was to meet two children we sponsor in NPH’s Dominican home – Esterlín and Anna Maria. Esterlín is 11 years old, small, loves soccer and has a gang of friends that are rambunctious and friendly. Marks on his head bear testament to a difficult early childhood. Anna Maria is ten, very shy and timid. Her caretakers report that four sentences a day are her maximum – residue from parental neglect.

We attend a wedding with the children, and enjoy a celebratory dinner and awkward communication. I resort to the old parent tricks of rock paper scissors and a game where everyone puts their hands on a pile and the bottom one moves to the top. It is unclear what Anna Maria thinks of us and at one point she leaves us. We look around for her and she returns holding a friend’s hand and instructs her friend to give each of us a hug. She then brings her friend back and returns with another. She repeats the process until we had hugged about a dozen little girls.

We return the next day and all of us are more comfortable with each other. The boys bring my son and me to their baseball fields for a sandlot game. My 45 year-old shoulder no longer is capable of a throw from third to first. After a couple of hours we transfer to the soccer field and I learn I stink at soccer and am out of shape.

I must admit that the motivation for sponsoring these kids is not entirely charitable. When I was a child my mother bought The World Atlas of Golf as a coffee table book. The name Cajuiles struck me as magic. The idea of seven holes jutting out into the ocean seemed beyond comprehension. Ever since that time, I dreamed of playing the Teeth of the Dog and recognized that the Casa de Campo resort was not far from the NPH home.

Teeth of the Dog at Casa de Campo is my February course of the month. Our family has a general rule that we never travel to the same destination twice. That rule will be broken in this instance. I look forward to returning again soon to see Estelín, Anna Maria, winter baseball and feeling the warm breezes off the Caribbean Sea. I hope the kid in the batting cage gets the loop out of his swing. I am more optimistic about Esterlín and Anna Maria’s prospects.

You will find the experience worthwhile regardless of whether you visit Casa de Campo.

You can view Jason's full article here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

He opened his eyes wide, smiled, and took my hand and melted my heart...

Here is a blog entry from NW sponsor, Joanna Mummert, about Godparents’ Month. Thank you Joanna!

When I was asked to write a blog for Sponsorship Month I thought it was going to be so easy. But once I started to put my thoughts on paper I realized how difficult it was to try to show the impact that one little boy has had on the course of my life. I’ve always been the kind of person who has wanted to reach out to help others in various ways, and the people of Latin America have always held a special place in my heart. I guess you could say I really didn’t know what was in store for me that one evening in 2008 when I called up my mom and invited her to attend an information night and a presentation by “Friends of the Orphans" with me.

At the presentation I learned that Friends arranges annual trips to visit some of the homes, and I was most interested in the upcoming trip to Honduras. The trip was about nine months away and the Sponsorship coordinator suggested that I become a sponsor to one of the children in Honduras to make the visit that much more meaningful. From the stacks and stacks of available children I chose Christian. His personal story struck me, and I knew that he was the one I wanted to reach out to. Right away I started writing letters and sending photographs.

I chose not to tell Christian of my upcoming trip. I was just too nervous that something would come up and I would have to cancel and let him down. My excitement grew and grew until we reached the Ranch and I almost found myself commandeering the group itinerary to get over to the “Baby House” so I could meet him. The long-awaited moment finally came. I couldn’t pick him out in the crowd but kept asking every little person around who Christian was until they sent him over. I crouched down and looked into his shy face and told him in Spanish, “My name is Joanna. I’m your madrina. I came all this way just to meet you!” It was that one moment that made sponsorship truly meaningful for me. He opened his eyes wide, smiled, and took my hand and melted my heart.

The entire week we were inseparable. I wanted to spend every moment I could just being with him to play games, draw pictures, and read stories. Everywhere around me I was struck by the happy children who were so content with what I perceived to be so little. I think they knew in their own ways that they were rich with opportunity. If they didn’t know it now, they would learn it later as made evident by the older children I spoke with. I started to realize that without sponsors and donors through Friends of the Orphans their lives would be very very different.

I have continued to foster that bond I started with Christian a few years ago, and I am going back to Honduras this year to visit him. Meeting Christian inspired me to look deeper within myself to see what I could do to make more of a difference. I took a year and a half off from my life in Seattle to live and work as an English teacher in South America, and now that I am home I have pledged to myself to visit Christian every couple of years. I also try to support Friends as much as I can financially but also with my time by helping out at events and trying to spread the message. Friends of the Orphans has been a blessing in my life and I just pray that I can help at least one little boy realize how much he is loved.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

She told me that she was so grateful to have me in her life and that she loved me so much...

Jordan Hightower shares her story of sponsorship with us! Thank you Jordan!

I felt compelled to become a Godparent at an NPH Faces of Hope event when I saw a table of beautiful, smiling faces. Perusing the photos of the many children who had so much love in their hearts, and who simply wanted to share that love, inspired me to get involved. That night I wrote a letter to a little girl, Nadine, whose story drew me in.

Nadine had lost both her parents in the 2010 earthquake in Haiti when she was only seven years old. Her biography described her as a little girl who, despite the tragedy and heartache, was full of light and who loved to go to school and learn. I couldn’t wait to get to know her! 

About a month later, I received a hand drawn picture that now hangs in my classroom and a note so beautifully colored and so joyful that it took my breath away. Nadine relayed to me that she loved to play with balls in the play yard and to sing. She told me that she was so grateful to have me in her life and that she loved me so much. And I had no doubt it was true! Nadine’s letters continue to bring me joy, always arriving, fortuitously, on days when I need a bright light or a pick me up.

I had the good fortune to travel to Honduras with NPH this past summer and every child I met, I wanted to sponsor alongside Nadine. Although I am not sure I will ever visit Haiti, my good friend Rachel recently did and brought me back pictures of Nadine. (She is pictured below with Nadine.) She also gave me a great gift – Rachel used some very expensive cell phone minutes to call me with Nadine, and I got to talk to her in my somewhat broken French. It was an afternoon I will never forget!

The opportunity to become a godparent through Friends of the Orphans is accessible and affordable. It will enliven your life in ways you can only imagine!

Monday, February 20, 2012

There is hope for Haiti, and that hope as it has always been, is the children.

Check out what Dr. Michael Koster, Friend from the MANE region, has to say about our child sponsorship program. Dr. Koster is a pediatric infectious disease doctor who has traveled down to St. Damien’s Hospital at NPFS Haiti many times in recent years to volunteer his service. In January he and a friend began co-sponsoring Nacia from Haiti. He just returned from a recent trip to Haiti and was able to meet Nacia for the first time. Below is his account of his journey. 

I have been to Haiti five times in the last two years. I have seen the destruction of the earthquake and the extreme poverty of downtown Port-au-Prince. I don't think this is anything one gets accustomed to, but seeing Haiti is different than hearing or reading about Haiti - every time. I have been to many poor countries in my life - India, Cambodia - but Haiti is still the extreme in terms of poverty, overpopulation, and lack of infrastucture. You will not see any foreigners taking tap-taps, the local taxi system, but there are plenty of UN and other vehicles that transport the numerous NGO employees and volunteers around. 

I had become involved with St. Damien hospital through a Brown alumnus Patrick Moynihan, who runs a top-notch free boarding school in Haiti for underprivelged children. On my first visit to Haiti in March of 2010, I was introduced to Father Rick Frechette, the national manager of NPFS Haiti and founder of St. Damien Hospital. When I first laid eyes on St. Damien Hospital it was like a jewel in the rough. As a pediatric infectious diseases doctor in a children's hospital in the United States, it was reassuring, if only a familiar scene, to see humanity shining in such a place. It is without a doubt the premier and only children's hospital in Haiti; the level of care and commitment of the medical, nursing, and administrative staff is unparalleled. Father Rick and the staff at St. Damien model the power of individual commitment and perseverance. I have since come to realize that, in Haiti, NPFS not only runs two hospitals, but also a rehabilitation clinic, and several orphanages.

A colleague and I, prompted by the kindness and generosity of a family who adopted an HIV positive patient, decided to sponsor a child through Friends of the Orphans in this family's honor. We co-sponsored Nacia this November and from the first letter and picture we have been rewarded beyond words. I knew that I would be traveling back to Haiti this January and wanted to have the chance to meet our new godchild. I had the delightful opportunity to ride up to the Kenscoff Orphanage with Maximo, the driver of a Land Rover defender 120, a tough truck. He was a pleasant gentleman, and he picked up several weary travelers along the way, which only solidified to me that he was a genuinely good guy. The travel from St. Damien in Tabarre to the orphanage in Kenscoff was about a 2 hour drive, and it lead straight up into the mountains of Haiti. As the port disappeared, the countryside opened up to a rural landscape with steps on the side of mountains and areas of agricultural bounty. The smog and pollution melted away into the cold air of the mountains as palm trees gave way to evergreens. 

When you enter the gates of the orphanage, an oasis opens up, almost seeming as if a mirage has appeared. There are enough buildings to house and school over 850 children. The campus is enormous and the backdrop is endless wooded mountainous area. Once we reached the orphanage, we stopped first at the Kay Germain house, a home for disabled children. Right away a teenage boy with spastic quadrapelgia caught my eye as he mustered up a salutation. Having grown up in a home with 2 adopted brothers with disabilities, and countless foster children, I jumped right into tickling and teasing this young man. We were both pleased with our interactions, and he was mimicking my English greetings with a giggle in his voice. I could tell right away that this was a place where all children are loved. 

I was eager to meet Nacia and trotted behind the volunteer leading me to her class having time outdoors. I had grabbed some things to give to her and was happy that I had brought some skittles, stickers, and animal flash cards. These were the biggest hits, as everyone in their "house" or classroom shares everything. So I passed out some candy and started tacking clothes with stickers, which quickly became stickers on kids noses, faces, foreheads...I was literally swarmed with the young kids - and as a pediatrician and father of 2 young kids, I was so delighted to have all this attention. Nacia was in the bathroom for the first 10 minutes of my visit with her class, and when she saw the raucous I was hopeful she might find it amusing that her godparent was such a clown. After all the goodies were handed out, I started singing and chanting with the children. They sang me several rounds of alouette, but were most pleased when I pretended to fall asleep, snore and then they would startle me awake. They asked me for dormie, dormie, dormie (sleep, sleep, sleep) I am sure they have all sorts of fun and imaginative play with each other, but I hope that my silliness offered them a little more laughing material that day. 

I was able to spend about 2 hours with the group of children before the sun started to set and dinner was approaching. With the interactions of the kids I had a little glimpse of Nacia, and her personality. She is feisty, as one of her schoolmates tried to take her animal flash card, she let them know that it was hers, gave a real menacing face, and then went right back to smiling again. I had been away from my own kids for about 2 weeks and seeing her and her classmates was a real breath of fresh air to me!

I think some people have mixed feelings about the no-adoption policy of NPFS. How can you deny these kids families? To which I say - you have never seen such a large family! As someone who has dedicated his life to the health of children all around the globe, there is no better program to invest in the future of children than NPFS. While individual efforts and the dedication of people like Father Rick are vastly important, the most meaningful way to support excellent programs like NPFS and Friends of the Orphans is through sponsorship! I have been lucky enough to have a complete experience of my sponsorship, with the opportunity to meet Nacia, but I know that it's only through continued support that all the kids have a chance to shine. Also important to note, I have meet many graduates from the Kenscoff orphanage with my time at St. Damien, some now employed by NPFS and some whom have gone on to become doctors and nurses. There is hope for Haiti, and that hope as it has always been, is the children.

Friday, February 17, 2012

An eternal source of hope and inspiration...

Here is Rachel Prusynski's "Godmother Blog" about her godchild and her time in Haiti.

I lost a variety of possessions buried in the rubble of a fallen building, along with my ability to tolerate heights and my best friend in Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. But I gained a passion for an achingly beautiful and painful country and its people, a few Creole phrases, and a new family member in the earthquake’s aftermath. My godson, Kervenson, lost his family in the earthquake when he was 10 years old and was abused in a tent camp before being welcomed to the NPH family.

Kervenson and I first met when I returned to Haiti on the one-year anniversary of the earthquake. I arrived to the orphanage shortly after choosing to be his godmother and before my first letter had reached his home, so my appearance on the peaceful St. Helene campus caused quite the ruckus as 400 children went to hunt down Kervenson and produce him to me. A wide-eyed little boy with tiny legs and knobby knees in a ski cap and oversized sweatshirt shuffled up to me with a shocked expression. He listened as I struggled through my Creole explanation of who I was and why I was showing up at his home to offer him a bag of gifts and company for a few days of walks in the mountains, treats like sodas purchased nearby, and hopeful conversations with whispered hopes from my shy godson and joyful encouragements from his besotted godmother.

I returned again to Haiti a year later and was overjoyed to see how much difference a year of education, the NPH family, and proper nourishment can make! Kervenson had grown inches and was full of the spunk and confidence I would expect from a 12-year-old who is the first in his class at school. No longer as wide eyed, Kervenson laughed instead of whispered and chatted with me as much as my Creole skills would allow. He plucked my heartstrings with the tears he tried to hide both times I arrived, sniffling and smiling and wiping his eyes on his sweatshirt sleeve. Every few hours, he asked, “when are you coming back to Haiti?”

Between my trips, Kervenson and I have gotten to know each other through letters that never cease to lift my spirits as he tells me of summer vacation, his grades in school, and his goals for the future. He posted the pictures I sent him up in his cubby at school and made sure to show me during my latest trip.

Kervenson endured much more than I can comprehend and much more than a young boy should, but like so many of the children in all the NPH homes, he provides an eternal source of hope and inspiration. I can’t truly capture how amazing it feels to be a small part of what he was able to gain after losing so much.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Once you enter the NPH homes, you feel peace, love, and care everywhere...

Below is a great story of sponsorship from Friends, Cathy and Tom McQuillan from Arlington Heights, IL. 

This past November, my husband Tom and I joined an American group tour to NPH Guatemala and El Salvador. This was a life-changing experience! Not only did we make 18 new U.S. friends, but we saw the natural beauty and also the abject poverty in these two countries, which have both been terribly affected by long wars, injustice, and violence. But, once you enter the NPH homes, you feel peace, love, and care everywhere! The children are eager to greet and hug you. They want to talk with you and play games with you. We were lucky enough to be present for the kindergarten and 8th grade graduations and an elegant quincenera ceremony and celebration honoring eighteen 15-year-old young women. Our highlight came when we met our goddaughter, Wendy. Wendy is 15 years old and is suffering from severe spine curvature. It is negatively impacting her health. In fact, she is now on oxygen and living in the home's clinic. Despite her life threatening disease, she is absolutely beautiful, inside and out. Meeting her especially made us appreciate sponsorships. We could see how the money is helping her life, and we could tell how important regular communications are. Knowing that others care and are helping mean the world to these children. From our visit, we have since added two new goddaughters! We were extremely impressed by the staff, teachers, caregivers, and all associated with NPH and Friends of the Orphans. Our money is being well spent and our prayers are being answered. As Father Wasson, the founder, said, "WE ARE ALL ONE BIG FAMILY, GOD'S FAMILY!"

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When you make the difference in the life of a make a difference in your own life as well.

Read this wonderful sponsorship testimonial by Vic Roers from St. Paul, Minnesota.

On February 7, 2012 my life officially took on more meaning. My NPH story originally began in August of 2011 when my employer offered me $1000 in grant assistance to travel to NPH Honduras. At that time I discovered Friends of the Orphans and arranged to travel with them to Honduras. It was a week that would change my life forever.

While in Honduras I connected with a shy seven-year-old named Carmen. Carmen arrived at NPH Honduras in May 2011 and seemed to be right at home with her new family. While she speaks no English and I speak very little Spanish, we were still able to communicate and connect with each other over the course of my ten-day visit. LOVE speaks its own special language. Quality time and lots of hugs went a long way with making a connection with Carmen. I can smile fluently in Spanish... and I smiled at every opportunity! Carmen and I were able to spend a fair amount of time together as the children were on break from school during my visit. I joined her for the evening meals when possible and we had an opportunity to dance and sing and play every day. By the end of my third day at NPH Honduras it was clear to me that I would be traveling back to Honduras again and again.

Another highlight of my visit was becoming acquainted with a very special priest by the name of Father Ken Hume, who the children affectionately refer to as "Padre Tortilla". Padre Tortilla is from Oregon and sponsors 14 children at NPH Honduras! His sponsorship commitment really inspired me! After a review of my finances, I felt that if Padre Tortilla can sponsor 14 children on his retired income, I could certainly find a way to commit to sponsoring ONE!

Upon my return to Minnesota, there have been numerous opportunities to share the NPH experience with friends, family, co-workers and my church community. Going forward I will be speaking to local schools and social organizations to educate them about NPH and share the sponsorship opportunity! On February 7th I officially became a sponsor/Godmother to Carmen. I am pleased to share that several of my friends will be joining me in beginning their sponsorship journey through Friends of the Orphans as well. It has given me great joy to match up children with loving and encouraging sponsors!

While I miss Carmen and the other children at NPH Honduras every day, I have come to appreciate the longing that I have in my heart. It speaks of a very real love that knows no language or limits. Carmen chose to invest in ME. You see.... when you arrive at one of the NPH locations, the children know that you will be there for only a short time. They also know that when they have connected with you it will be sad for them to say "good-bye" when you leave. That said... they are still willing to invest in you!!

On February 7th I became a Godparent to a very special young lady. Will you sponsor a child? Please join your local Friends of the Orphans regional office in celebrating National Godparents Month - activities are planned throughout the month! When you make a difference in the life of a child... you make a difference in your own life as well. Go...make a difference!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

You are the one who shines for me...

Below is a sponsorship testimonial from Godparent, Alison Burke. 

Being a godparent has changed my life in more ways than I ever thought possible. My passion to support Friends of the Orphans came about after the death of my friend, housemate, and classmate, Molly Hightower. I was devastated to learn of her death. I wish I could have gotten to know her more because she was an amazing young woman who had so much to offer. I was also heartbroken to see how much pain and suffering the earthquake caused in Haiti. I was inspired by Molly’s work at NPFS and wanted to do my part to help the children. Over the next year after the earthquake, I learned more about Haiti and Friends and how I could help. I made the decision to become a godparent after determining that it was the best way I could contribute to Friends. I became a godparent in early 2011.

When I first thought about sponsoring a godchild, I wanted to choose a young child that I could watch grow up. I changed my mind as soon as I saw Steeven’s picture. His smile warmed my heart so much that I knew he was the godson for me. Steeven is 12 years old. He lost both of his parents in the earthquake, so he went to live with his aunt. She could not take care of him, so she asked an NPFS social worker to take custody of him. I am so grateful to have Steeven in my life. His letters are so sweet, and they inevitably arrive at a time when I am in dire need of a reminder of life’s blessings. Steeven’s letters make me feel so appreciated and loved and remind me that there are more important things in life than school and work.

Below are pictures Steeven has drawn and my favorite lines from letters he sent with them.

“It was a great pleasure to know you today, and I thank you for having picked me as your godson…I send you a little drawing of thanks. I wish that you love it.”

I knew I was meant to be Steeven’s godmother when I saw this picture. I drew that flower all the time while growing up.

“I hope everything is alright for you in the name of God. By my side, everything is alright in Jesus name…Thank you because you accept to be my god father. I hope God will protect your steps so that you could have a happy new year…Your godchild who loves you so much!”

“I give you thanks for your nice letter and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year 2012. I hug you tightly.”

“Do you know why I don’t need a candle on Christmas? Because you are the one who shines for me.”

I always carry a picture of Steeven with me, and I had a bracelet made with his name on it that I wear almost every day. These are both constant reminders of how blessed I am to be Steeven’s godmother. I plan to visit Steeven when I am finished with graduate school. Until then, I will communicate with him via mail, continue to learn Creole in preparation for my trip, and help support Friends in any way possible.

Choosing to be a godparent was the best decision I have ever made. I was hesitant at first, which is why it took me a year to finally commit to being a godmother. I was concerned about the monthly monetary commitment because, at the time, I was a full-time student with no job. Laura (NW Regional Manager and Child Sponsorship Coordinator) was very understanding of my situation and assured me that giving the minimum amount of money per month would still do a lot to help the children. After learning about all that Friends does and how my money would directly benefit the children of NPFS, I knew I was ready to make the commitment. I am so glad I made the decision to sponsor Steeven. Upon becoming a godparent, I was welcomed into an organization that I consider to be my family. I am so blessed and grateful to be part of Friends. I encourage you to consider becoming a godparent, as it truly will be the best decision of your life.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Truly Blessed...

Hi my name is Joseph Tarr, and I started sponsoring three girls through Friends of the Orphans. Two are from El Savdor, and one is from Mexico. I like to write to them and receive their letters back. It changes me to see how children in poor countries need help. I think many people should learn more about Friends of the Orphans' Sponsorship program and do the same. I have been truly blessed to sponsor Rosa, Ariel and Edith.