Finishing Well Program

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While I was volunteering at one of Compassion's events, I heard about "Finishing Well" program that is in development, which will replace LDP Program. I heard there is a rule to to follow to stay in this program. The children have to volunteer 1 day at a Compassion center and work 20 hours a week. I would like to support two of my sponsored children through university.

My question is how does "Finishing Well Program" work and can any sponsored child be enrolled as long as they have sponsors who would like to support through university? I would also like to know how much monthly support is. Lastly, I would like to know if my children didn't graduate from high school by the time they reach 22 years old, if they can enroll in Finishing Well Program. Both of my sponsored children seem like they won't graduate high school before they finish Compassion Sponsorship Program. And my wish is to support them farther to pursue their dream.
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Jenny Kim

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Posted 3 years ago

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Hi Jenny! These are all good questions. Here is what I can share with you about the Youth Development Program now :

While the Leadership Development Program (LDP) was successful in providing life-changing opportunities to numerous beneficiaries, it was only available to a small percentage of Child Sponsorship Program graduates. In fact, due to resource limitations, 4 out of 5 qualified applicants did not even make it into the program. Compassion believes that leadership development is an important part of our Holistic Child Development Model that we want to provide to every child. The LDP was a highly competitive and successful program, but only to a select number of sponsored children. In fact, only 1 of every 360 youth could be accepted into the program. The LDP Transition will allow Compassion to move from a selective, stand-alone program to a more consistent, integrated approach with the potential to impact every child.

While the Leadership Development Program is transitioning, our commitment to developing leaders is stronger than ever. It is our desire that every youth has access to the most appropriate developmental opportunities possible. To this end, we are working with our local church partners to pioneer new ways to better prepare more of our young people for Christian leadership and success in adulthood.

Compassion’s youth development strategies will seek to equip and strengthen our local churches ability to connect with youth and provide customized development plans for each child in their program. These strategies equip the church to engage with the biblical calling to care for the poor in a powerful, more contextualized way. Best of all, this truly reflects our commitment to invest in the God-given potential of each beneficiary.

Some young adults may attend university, while others may receive vocational or ministry training. No matter what they pursue, our youth development strategies should do more to give children the opportunity to explore their dreams and apply their individual interests and passions into a career of their choosing.

Compassion’s youth development strategies do not just impact the chidlren. They help sponsors play an active role in their success stories. It gives our sponsors, ICPs and staff the confidence of a job well done.

We recognize that it is often later in life before a young person fully experiences release from poverty. Since this process can vary for each individual and their economic circumstances, we don’t see their development as final when they leave the program. Instead, we design our efforts toward reaching outcomes that indicate whether an individual is poised to continue their lifelong development to become a responsible, fulfilled Christian adult.

Since our local churches are responsible for implementing our program, this approach to youth development provides an opportunity to establish new church partnerships, including middle class or mega churches working together across denominational lines. It also aims to offer additional resources such as apprenticeships, scholarships, mentors, job placement opportunities or business networks.

With Compassion’s approach to youth development, our field offices can create a strategy unique to their context that incorporates local resources and strategic local partnerships. These resources, in addition to child support, help churches maximize their youth development opportunities.

Compassion’s youth development strategies incorporate hands-on experience to help youth practice skills in leadership, communication, job acquisition, entrepreneurship and other areas. Compassion’s youth development strategies allow youth to discover more about themselves, their interests and their callings. Compassion’s youth development strategies provide life-planning tools for our church partners to mentor youth, help them identify their talents, guide their vocational choices and help them prepare to use their skills.  

I realize that this does not answer all of your questions. However, we are still working through the details of the transition.
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Richard Belflower

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Susan, will you post your findings here or email that out?
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Richard, I apologize for the incredible delay on this. Part of the reason behind the delay is that, as you may be aware, we have been implementing massive changes in our program in an effort to better serve supporters and children and to build systems that can sustain us as we seek to serve more and more children in poverty. The design of the Finishing Well Program is part of this massive overhaul, and because of all of the other changes going on, we have extended our deadline to the end of fiscal year 2017 (or July 2018) to design and fully implement Finishing Well. As a result, regrettably, some of the details of this program are still being worked out at this time. In the mean time, we have been continuing to fully support those Leadership Development students who had already joined the program prior to 2016. 

We have long used the My Plan for Tomorrow curriculum to help adolescents begin to dream, plan, and set goals for their future. This curriculum is designed to begin at age 12 and continue until they complete the program. Each adolescent is assigned a mentor at the center who will help walk them through the curriculum and assist them in pursuing their dreams. I anticipate that the Finishing Well program will work alongside the My Plan for Tomorrow. The funding and extra oversight for the additional vocational training and university that we are wanting to provide for teens will come through Complimentary Intervention proposals. This would mean that essentially the Finishing Well Program would also begin at age 12 alongside My Plan for Tomorrow. However, as I said, many of these details are still being worked out. 

In regards to continuing to support your child after age 22, I think I can pretty much answer that one with a "no." Finishing Well is being designed to fit into our main program of the Sponsorship Program which runs until age 22 at this time. One of the assets of the Leadership Development Program was the discipleship and mentoring element. We want this asset to be available to all of our kids along with the ability to pursue educational and vocational goals. Also, students can actually stay in the program until age 23 if their staff can make the case that this student could benefit from the extra year because they are anticipated to complete their schooling within that time frame (and if there is funding in place to do so). 

If your sponsored child is planning to attend vocational training or university in the next seven months, I suggest providing additional family gifts to help support that child's dreams if you are able. However, if university or vocational training is something that would begin in the next few years, your child should be able to benefit from the Finishing Well Program.
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IDEA FOR COMPASSION TO CONSIDER: As I am sponsor to some older teens, the question of if I can contribute towards their schooling beyond high school has been on my mind. One of my children dreams of going to the university. My wish is that I could contribute towards her schooling, the money would go into a trust fund that is administered by Compassion, and if she meets certain requirements (like good grades) the money would be directly paid to the university as needed. If she dropped out or did not meet certain expectations, the money I gave towards my sponsored child would then just become part of a general fund to be used towards any child's education who has received funds from the trust. If I, as a sponsor, just give money to the family, I have no guarantee it would be used towards my sponsored child's education. Would Compassion be willing to consider an option that would allow sponsors to contribute towards education, with the advantage that Compassion would distribute the money directly to the educational institution?

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Jenny Kim

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This is exactly what I am interested in doing as well. I have an older teen as well and I might have more older teens in the near future. I am very interested in supporting them to pursue higher education if they are willing to, however I am not sure if they will use it towards their education by sending a family gift or a graduation gift. I hope there can be some better solutions to how we as a sponsor can help our teens for their education to have a better future.
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Shannon Massey, Employee

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Hi Beth and Jenny!

First off, please know how much we truly appreciate your heart for wanting your young adults to have the benefit of going to school! We could not agree more that each child should have be given the opportunity to go to a university, or choose a career path that fits them individually.

While the deadline to have the details for this program finalized is July, we have already began to see some changes in some of our centers and country offices where they have already began implementing these positive changes. So while we cannot guarantee any changes have been made at this point, we are aware some wonderful things are already happening.  

However, with that said, this program does not include anything like a “bank account” for each individual child to fund schooling. Something like this is not in the plants at this time, but we appreciate the feedback and idea. This specific program is not quite set up with this funding structure as we want to ensure each child has the same opportunity to go to a university rather than just those that have sponsors willing to give extra. In the new model, we will be focusing on making this opportunity open to any child and it will be funded from other funds that come into Compassion, rather than that child’s specific sponsor.

Again, we will be able to confirm more in July when the program is complete. However, we do want to thank you for this feedback and an idea to consider. For the time being, we would suggest that if you have it in your heart to give an extra family gift for university fees, that maybe before sending, you ask some probing questions to your child. They should be able to tell you if their plan is to attend a university, trade school, etc. Once you know they have the plan to attend a university that may be able to ease your heart a little bit about sending a family gift with this intention. Regrettably, we still cannot guarantee they will use your gift for school, but you would have a much better idea if you felt they needed these funds.

I hope this is helpful!

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