Comment on new "A Life Changed" series (Olive's story)

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Olive's story was amazing. But as far as inspiring my ministry to children to come alive, it did not have that effect. My ministry to my sponsored children was quite alive; we had regular communication both ways. But all that was changed with the new system in April, nearly cutting off the communication.

Specifically regarding Olive's outcome, I am getting the impression that new changes have done away with the Leadership Development program and are steering kids to more 'realistic' options. It would seem that dramatic stories like Olive's are not what most of the Compassion kids will see. The more I learn about the countries where Compassion kids live, the more I wonder what their lives will really be like once out of the Compassion program. These are families who struggle to have enough food to eat, who cant find jobs. What will happen to the kids after they are out of the program? Will they be able to generate enough income to survive, in countries where most of the people live in poverty and there are no jobs?

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Beth

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Posted 2 years ago

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Adam

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I don't think the problem is that there are no jobs, Beth. One of my boys lives in a small community near Medellín in Colombia and another one lives near Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. These are not small towns with no jobs. It's the cycle of poverty that keeps people living one day at a time, just making sure that they have enough to eat even though there may be opportunities for them nearby that are just out of reach. That's the cycle that Compassion is trying to break.

Also, regarding the new system I want to encourage you I just received a letter from one of my kids in less than 10 days, and I saw where another sponsor received one in less than 24 hours! So it might have started out slow but it looks like it's really going to be great when it's all finished!
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Christina, Employee

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Beth, it sounds like you are mostly upset regarding the new letter writing system and the LDP transition and not necessarily objecting to Olive's story being shared. We are deeply sorry for the frustration and disappointment you have experienced in regards to these two changes.

First, we are deeply sorry for the interruptions this new system has caused with the letter writing with your three precious children :(. We understand that letter writing is so precious and important in these children's development and confidence. Please rest assured that our IT Team and our wonderful field staff has been working diligently to resolve these issues with the new letter writing system. As Adam said, we have begun to see great improvements with our letter process, so you should start to receive more regular letters from your kiddos soon :).

I also want to sincerely apologize for the confusion regarding the Leadership Development Program (LDP) transition. Regrettably, as you may be aware, the way that LDP was designed only allowed a very select number of young adults who could receive university and leadership development training. This broke our hearts as thousands of very bright and capable students were not able to be included in this program due to the way it was designed. Our hope and goal in transitioning out of LDP was to empower ALL, and not a select few, of our children to pursue their dreams whether that included university or other vocational training. You will begin to see the benefits of these changes in the coming years as we make these opportunities available to all of our children. 
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Beth

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Christina, I am not upset. Just saying communication is what builds strong relationships, and that has been hindered -- for quite some time.

I have also gotten the impression (from this forum) that the letters may be somewhat of a hassle, both for the translators and also for the children to have to answer. When I started sponsoring, I heard what sponsors of children from various organizations were saying, and I believed writing once a month should be a minimum but once a week was better. Recently I got the impression from this forum that Compassion didn't really want sponsors to write more than once a month (which is what I've gravitated to since the system change anyway)and also that it may be a hassle for the kids to 'have to' answer all those letters. I've never gotten that impression from my kids' letters, just from this forum. I realize that there are sponsors that write several times a week or more, and I would just say that if that is slowing down letters (due to translation time) from people who write once a month, maybe Compassion should put a limit of no more than 5 letters a month or something. Also, since the system change, it would seem like answering sponsor letters may be a hassle for the kids, just basing it on the fact that the letters are not longer being written by the kids every 60 days. These are just the observations I've made; again, I am not upset. People just tend to invest there time where they know it is most valued.

Regarding the LDP, I was just making a comment that Olive's story (and many other stories that are shared) seemed to be focused on the rare situation. I would like to hear stories about the average kids and their situations. We know most of the Compassion kids are not leaving their countries and finding jobs in America. I would like to hear what the reality is like for the average Compassion kids after they are out of the program. While in the program, the children and their families receive help with food and other basic necessities, both from the Compassion center and from sponsor gifts. Many of these families are unemployed. What is reality like post-Compassion for the average child, not just for the 'super stories'? I realize that most of the kids would not go through LDP anyway. I just would like to know what their lives are like after they leave the Compassion program.

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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Beth, we are aware that all of these changes could have been communicated better. I agree with you that good communication builds strong relationships and I have been harping on this fact to others in Compassion for several months now. Please know that we are working to provide better communication in the future. 

I am not trying to imply that letters are ever a hassle and I am so sorry that it came across that way (I'm assuming this was one of my posts but correct me if I am wrong). Letters are always a blessing because they communicate to your child that they are loved, thought of, and prayed for! My reasoning for encouraging no more than one letter per month is that in the past, letters may only be delivered to the centers once a month. To me it seems unnecessarily to send more often than the frequency that children will receive letters in the first place. That said, you are more than welcome to write more often and no one will keep you from that. Also, from my experience, letter writers are more likely to get overwhelmed when they start writing to too many children too fast and think they have to write a certain number of letters each month. I like to encourage writing as often as you can sustain over the long haul. For most people that I have talked to, the frequency they can sustain is once a month or once every few months. If you think you can sustain writing letters every day or several times a month over several years, by all means bless your child with that!

That is a great suggestion about the stories of adult graduates of our sponsorship program. I will definitely suggest it to others in Compassion and we will work to provide more of these stories in the future. 
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Adam

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When I first started sponsoring I was writing once a week and I did that for about ten months or so, but after I started sponsoring my second child it started to become a lot to keep up with and sometimes my letters felt kind of forced. After a few months of doing that I kind of got burned out and basically quit writing for a while. Now I write to five kids, once a month, and I look forward to it and it seems way more sustainable that way. I think a lot of times new sponsors don't really know how often to write, and they may write more frequently at the start because of the initial excitement and because there's much to discuss. Sometimes I still write more often than that if there's a special occasion, but in general I think writing monthly is a good recommendation for being consistent over the long term.
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Beth

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Hi Susan. Be assured my comments had nothing to do with any posts you wrote to me. I have always found your replies to be most helpful and encouraging.  :-)  I am referring to comments to other sponsors, and I do not remember who wrote them.

Second, you are right that the communication between Compassion and sponsors was not the best, but actually I was referring to the communication between sponsor and child and how very important that is! (My specific point was that I had in the past experienced much motivation just from child letters. The article I was referring to did not motivate me in regards to my specific children.)

Thank you for sharing my comments about the types of stories.

Blessings to you, Susan, and have a nice day!

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Jenny Kim

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I would love to to know what "normal" Compassion children's (for those who had to end the program during their high school years because they reached 22, those who had vocational training programs, those who graduated from colleges) lives are like after they leave the Compassion program too. I would also like to know what kind of jobs these kids have after graduating! 

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