When I was in college I used to wander around Harvard Square in Cambridge when I wanted to escape campus life. On one particularly sunny day, while aimlessly window-shopping I (literally) ran into a sweet undergrad canvassing for Save The Children. I had heard about the charity and the amazing work it did but, like most kids my age, I had never thought that there was something that I could do. I was wrong.
Today, three and a half years later, the darling child I sponsor is turning fifteen, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Shewaye is an incredibly intelligent young girl with ambitions of becoming a teacher in her village in Ethiopia. I absolutely adore the fact that I am afforded the opportunity to be part of her journey. With each letter I receive I see more hope and more joy as she continues her education and works towards her goals. If you remember my love for snail mail, you know how much delight a simple letter brings- this glee grows exponentially when the postmark reads Ethiopia.
As many people would be, I was wary at first of donating funds (rather than materials which I often do/did) to charity. To me, the question of how much of the donated money goes to programs that support the sponsored children was a big issue. However, as I stood and spoke to the Save the Children ambassador, those fears of murky money trails were assuaged. Aided by infographics of fiscal studies completed by outside organizations, and excellent ratings by organizations like an A+ from the American Institute of Philanthropy, a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, and ‘Wise Giving Alliance Standards’ from the Better Business Bureau, I saw that just over 89% of Save the Children’s donations went directly to program services, with the remaining 11% going to fundraising and management. This impressive set of numbers showcases Save the Children’s effective and efficient use of funds.
With my monetary fears out of the way, I chose to sponsor a child rather than make a one-time donation. Sponsorship, in Save the Children’s own words is “a special kind of giving that creates a relationship between you and the community in which Save the Children is helping to create real and lasting change. It provides more than the satisfaction that comes with aid for improving the health and well-being of children; it delivers a special opportunity to witness young lives lifted over time. Through child sponsorship, two lives are changed forever: yours and the life of your sponsored child.” I could not have said it better myself. My heart still flutters each time I see the ‘love, Shewaye’ at the end of each letter I receive. The sentiment is reciprocated, I honestly love a child I have yet to meet and am incredibly invested in her future.
Save the Children is an organization that helps to improve the lives of children all over this planet that we call home. From helping children in my own United States, to aiding in disaster relief in the far corners of Asia, Save the Children makes a difference. Please join me in wishing Happy Birthday to my darling Shewaye, and giving a chance for a better life to children across the globe. Sponsorship is fulfilling and accessible, and I will always remember the day that clumsy me chose to spend $30.00 on helping the life of a child rather than that American Apparel shirt that I really didn’t need.
You can connect with Save the Children on their website: www.SavetheChildren.org or on their Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ pages.