“She’s so far away, but she’s definitely a part of our family. There are pictures of her all over the house. The kids talk about her all the time. They always include her as part of our family when people ask how many sisters and brothers they have.” That’s how Kelly described the relationship she, her husband Michael, and their children have with Phiona, 20, whom they’ve been sponsoring since she was in the fifth grade. It wasn’t always that way though.
There are just so many times our Church tries to tell people about something that really matters for their faith lives, talking at them about it, but never involving them in a matter deemed critical to their spiritual life.
As God’s children, we have a responsibility to love and care for the needs of others. That’s a message that the children who attend Religious Education classes at Divine Savior Catholic Church hear often. We can’t just learn about our faith, we have to live our faith as disciples of Jesus, walking in his footsteps and following his example.
CARITAS For Children founder, Christopher Hoar, will tell you, "CARITAS is about relationships." In Milwaukee Tuesday night, many donors, supporters, sponsors and their CARITAS children had an opportunity to enrich their relationships with one another.
Having been with CARITAS For Children for a few years, I've had the pleasure of getting to know some of our long-time sponsors and hearing some of the stories of their CARITAS children. I love connecting with Eve, a retired teacher, who has watched her sponsored child, Ruthie, grow up to be a lovely, capable, young woman.
A long-time sponsor shared her letter-writing tips and guaranteed fail-safe for not missing an opportunity to write to your sponsored child. Pam sponsors three children in Uganda and keeps in touch with them on a regular basis.
Meet Mari Sroda, the moderator of the CARITAS Club at Milton High School, just under an hour south of Madison, Wisconsin. Mari works as an at-risk learning support teacher, and runs a peer tutoring/mentoring program at Milton High School, as well as advising several student run clubs.
Phiona Kateme is a student at Trinity College in Nabbingo, Uganda. She often goes by Phiona Blau, taking the last name of her sponsor family who have been supporting her for more than seven years. “My sponsors really show me love,” Phiona says.
Even though you and the child you sponsor may be thousands of miles apart, writing can be a great way to build a relationship. Maybe you’re like me, oftentimes when I sit down to write, I end up staring at a blank piece of paper. What do you say to a child in a different country whom you have never met before? I’d like to share some ideas with you and share with you what I came up with in a recent letter to my sponsored child.
My name is Taylor and I’m working at the Center of the Holy Mother of Mercy for CARITAS For Children through UW-Madison’s International Internship Program. The Center is located on the outskirts of Warsaw under the direction of the Felician Sisters and provides after school enrichment programs for Polish children who are at risk socioeconomically. During the day the sisters run a soup kitchen and also provide shower facilities for homeless people.