Note on child letter, indicating who actually wrote the letter

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  • Idea
  • Updated 1 year ago
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Please consider adding a fill-in-the-blank box or line on all child letters from all countries, indicating who wrote that specific letter, and please teach project workers to fill it out.  Most of the time I don't know if the letter is being written by the child him/herself, a project staff member/tutor, a parent, or someone else.  Sometimes it will say on the letter, but often it does not.  For a younger child, it would be nice to know when the child transitions from having a tutor write to writing on his own.  We could then congratulate and encourage them.  Sometimes I can tell that this has happened, but not always.  
Also, I have a 15-year-old correspondent boy from Bangladesh whose letters have different handwriting.  I would like to know who is writing for this boy, when he should be old enough to write by himself.  If a tutor is writing because a child is not there, then that should be noted on the letter.  
This would be a simple addition to the letter stationery/template but would be very helpful and add a level of accountability, resulting in more trust and confidence from sponsors.  Thank you for your consideration.
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Laura Allen

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  • Frustrated, concerned

Posted 1 year ago

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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Laura,

I am so sorry for the frustration and concern that this omission of information has caused. Our program manual for staff actually requires that in the event that a child is not old enough or is not physically able to write and a staff member or family member writes on their behalf, they must clearly state the name of that person, signature, and relationship to the child. There currently is a line for the adult to do this onmost (if not all) letter stationary. I believe I have also seen staff members write it at the end of the letter. Now, I know that from time to time, we see new staff members come on and maybe there is confusion on the guidelines. I sincerely apologize if you are frequently seeing staff not sign the letter.

It is not currently a requirement for children to clearly state when they are writing the letter themselves. For the most part, the system is designed so that if there is no signature from the person indicating they wrote on behalf of the child, then we can assume that the child wrote the letter. I know it is a nice touch to be able to congratulate them, but you should have a general idea of who wrote the letter, and hopefully can still congratulate the child's progress. 

Because it is required that staff note who is writing on the child's behalf, if you are not seeing the signatures, please let us know. For example, if the child is under 9 years old and the staff member signature is missing or it is an older child and you are seeing very different handwriting on each letter. In these specific cases, it would be helpful if you could email us at socialmedia@compassion.com with the child number and a brief description of what you are seeing so that we can send an inquiry for you. 
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Laura Allen

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Thank you for clarifying Compassion's policies on this, Susan.  I just went through letters from all of my 27 kids for the past 20 months, where possible, and I am not seeing signature lines on all letter stationery.  Where there are signature lines, they aren't always filled in.  I am just confused about all of this.  The assumption would be that if a child is using a template, then someone else is helping him, because he is too young to write; however, I've seen the templates used by children who are writing themselves.  By the same token, I've seen the non-template stationery used by tutors helping the children.  It would seem that if there is no signature indicating an assistant, then the child wrote the letter, but again, this isn't always the case.  I understand that mistakes will be made, because humans make mistakes, but it's happening often and with about half of my kids and from several different countries.  In looking back over the letters, I've also noticed inconsistent handwriting styles on the letters of many of my children who, I believe, are writing their own letters.  There are actually too many to send all of them in for inquiries.  Can anything be done about this?  Thanks.
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Laura Allen

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Here is an example of what I'm talking about with the inconsistent handwriting.  These, written about a month apart, are from my 15-year-old correspondent in BD:
(Edited)
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Teresa Dawn

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^Those do look very different for sure...
I'd also guess someone else wrote it but it's hard to be sure because when I think of my own handwriting it changes at least just as much on an almost daily basis, depending on things like my mood, how tired I am, how much other stuff I've written that day etc.  So it COULD be the same person writing? 
Even things like the style of the letters (My e's can look like either the e's in this font here or like backwards 3's and my a's can be like this or like the circle with a "tail" that kids normally learn to draw and they can switch up from day to day or even back and forth in the same word lol...)
(Edited)
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Christina, Employee

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Laura, I understand and appreciate your concern regarding your children’s letters. As Susan stated, our program manual for staff already requires that the tutors sign the letter if they have written on behalf of the child, even when there is not a given signature line on the stationary. We are so sorry for any letters that were not signed by the tutor if they were not written by your children. We sincerely apologize that this situation has been confusing, and we hope we are able to clear this up for you. 

Children who are ages 1 through 8 typically use the templates because it is easier to understand and fill in the blanks. This is the case for whether they are writing on their own or being assisted by a tutor. However, whether a child feels comfortable moving on to the standard stationary or not at age 9, they may still be assisted with writing until they feel confident enough to write on their own. As for the difference in handwriting, Teresa makes a wonderful point. I have also noticed my own handwriting change depending on mood, energy, or preference. After writing for a while my handwriting typically becomes for sloppy, haha :). However, if you are ever under the impression that your child did not write their own letter and there is no signature from the tutor indicating they were helped, please do let us know. 

Regrettably, because this is a specific case by case issue, we must have specific examples and circumstances to send an inquiry for each child. With as many wonderful kiddos that you write to, we understand that we may not be able to send an inquiry for every instance in the past, although you are welcome to send us a list of specific examples if you wish. However, we would be happy to send an inquiry for the most recent examples you have or any new occurrences in the future. To protect and respect your private information, we kindly as you to please email us at socialmedia@compassion.com with these examples, so we may help you further with sending inquiries :).
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Laura Allen

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Thank you, Christina and Teresa Dawn for your understanding, explanation, and help.  I will send an inquiry for the letters from Jhon.  I can't see bothering Compassion to do all the others at this point.  I'll just keep my eyes open and contact Compassion if I have concerns about future letters.
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John

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These two are definitely different. The dates are written different. The text is square  in one and  rounded in the other. On my letters for my younger kids  there will be a written or trans by and a  single name usually. They also seem to be written like he or she wants you to know.... The older kids write for themselves and directly. They say I and we. This pic is from Nuching  who is from BD
(Edited)
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Laura Allen

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Thanks for your support and help, John!

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