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As for the letters I get, they are very hit and miss. Large chunks of lots of the letters are generic, particularly the ones from certain regions that have an oral vs written tradition. I imagine the kids sitting in their classroom on letter writing day and sometimes wanting to express gratitude and other days just wanting to get it done and copying the board. Having met them, one is very sweet but perhaps not wildly creative, so her words are simple but yet I know they have something behind them. Another is feisty and tough and probably not one to spill her emotions out on the page. Another is quiet and wasn't a big talker -- so he doesn't have much to say in the letters either.
When I was a teen, a friend and I decided that the children we babysat were going to be penpals because they had the same name. I tried to help my boy write a letter and it was like pulling teeth. This smart, funny boy full of personality was just not into it and had no idea what to say.
To summarize, the letter quality is greatly impacted by the culture and the personalities and the interests of the children themselves. From my experience, it doesn't mean that they don't hold you in high regard, and it doesn't mean that the program isn't having a massive impact on their lives. If you are able to look past that you are not getting great letters, I hope you will consider contimuing for the benefit of the kids. When I think to the future and where I'll sponsor next, I know I'll have to give up good letters in order to pick the place where I think my sponsorship will have the greatest impact.
One last thought -- on our trip we found out that the children struggle with the same thoughts. In many cases they, also, struggle with whether their sponsors are real, particularly the ones who don't write!
I hope my experience is somewhat helpful to you. Blessings!
First, I sincerely apologize for the delay as we are not always available on the weekends. We get to these conversations as soon as possible during weekdays.
Also, I am so very sorry that the letters have not been meeting your expectations and that this has caused you to lose trust in Compassion as an organization. It sounds like you are quite discouraged. :(
I have read every letter we have on file between you and Jonas. I do see his letters improving slightly over time although you are right that he does mention roughly the same things in each letter. He mentions football quite a bit (and liking the Brazilian team, Flamengo, several times in addition to his scores in his own games :) ). Each letter has a drawing of a building, but it does vary as far as what is on and around the building. Sometimes it has flowers or trees and sometimes other symbols. I wonder if the building is his student center? Maybe that is the only thing he can think of to draw because it is nearby when he is drawing? I am super impressed that you are able to read Portuguese! That's awesome!
Jonas writes about two letters each year which is the minimum when a sponsor is not writing. I do see a gap in our record of letters from you to Jonas between August 2015 and March 2018. Did you send letters to Jonas during that time? It could be that the letters just did not go through in the online system or we simply did not receive them in the mail. When you write a letter online, you will always receive a confirmation email and your letter will move from the Drafts to being viewable in Conversations. When you send a physical letter, we will scan it and you will be able to see the letter on your online account within two to three weeks.
As others have mentioned, letters are often written as part of a class exercise so staff can provide adequate help and attention to individual children as they write their letters. Several weeks after Jonas receives your letters, the staff at the student center schedule a time for all the children to write letters to their sponsors. Jonas may not have your last letter with him and may not have remembered the questions you asked. This is why I typically recommend that sponsors underline or highlight questions, so that staff can clearly see them and copy down these questions to make sure that Jonas is able to answer them. My prayer is that you would see letter writing less as a proof of something and more as a mentoring relationship. Jonas is a 14 year old boy in the US equivalent of the 7th grade. He faces great challenges as an at-risk kiddo trying to escape extreme poverty. He has another sibling in the program which tells me that his family is even more needy than others even in his impoverished community and his parents do not live with him. He desperately needs a consistent positive role model in his life. As a teacher, I'm sure you are aware that multiple studies have shown the importance of consistent, positive adult role-models in the lives of at-risk children. You can help make that difference directly through your letters. Your consistent letters of encouragement communicate to your child, “I care about you and I want to be a part of your life.”
Please do let me know by email if, after you have been highlighting or numbering your questions, Jonas continues to not respond to your questions. We may want to have a staff member pay extra attention to making sure that his letters improve, but I want to give him a chance to figure it out by being more clear in our directions first. Also, please feel free to reach out by email if you have any further questions or concerns. We greatly appreciate all the love and support you are providing for this young man and want you to be satisfied with the experience. God bless you and your family!
I have called Compassion and they say to keep writing. I have and I've even asked him to write and let the teacher translate.
When he was young he would tell me what he got with his birthday and Christmas money. Now I don't even know if he gets anything.
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