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Lifetime of Letter Writing Shows the Difference Made in Children’s Lives

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By ChildFund Staff
Posted on 8/19/2014

Half of the world’s poorest people are children. Sandra Nielsen is working to change that staggering statistic. A ChildFund television commercial opened her eyes to a world of need in 1968. She’s been sponsoring children and making a difference in their lives ever since.

Sandra’s long-term sponsorship “took on a life of its own,” she reminisces. For forty-plus years, she’s kept track of all of her sponsored children. “I have every one of them in my file.” Today, she and her husband Dale sponsor two children – one in Guatemala and the other in Indonesia.

The sponsorship television commercial moved her, but she was careful. She researched ChildFund, then known as Christian Children’s Fund, to be sure this is where she would donate her money. “This is the only charity we have,” she explains. “So much of the funds go to the children.”

A California resident, she even visited ChildFund headquarters in Richmond, Virginia, during an extended vacation years ago. “Their stewardship of funds says a lot about them. It’s amazing what they do with a buck,”  Sandra says. 

Sandra is the letter writer in the family and feels it’s the hardest thing about their sponsorship commitment. Once, after not corresponding for a while, she received a letter from their child in Mexico.

After reading, “we haven’t heard from you,” she “straightened up and wrote more often. He was worried about us!”

She is quick to write about her and Dale’s travels and sends pictures often. She’s even recycled some of her older letters and is sure to respond to the children’s questions and observations. A new computer user, Sandra was delighted to learn about ChildFund’s letter-writing tips available on the Web site.

Learning works both ways and as much as Sandra and Dale’s children learn about them and their grandchildren, the couple is fascinated to learn of their children’s families. The mother of her Indonesian child, for example, recently finished beauty school and is now able to earn an income for her family.

Sandra says that helping children and their families is fulfilling. “They have nothing. Nothing to eat, no education… all the things that count.”

Through sponsorship, she says, you’re making a difference. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement in their lives over the years.”

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