A family bonding activity evolves into more than 40 years of giving youngsters in developing countries a chance at a brighter future
By Brianne Binelli | online content manager
More than 40 years ago, while the world was sporting mood rings, singing “Love Will Keep Us Together,” and being collectively terrified by Jaws, a couple in the historic city of Nelson, B.C., was marking a milestone.
“Our family was complete by then, so we figured the natural thing to do was to sponsor children, and so we did,” says Frances Welwood, a mother-of-two, who along with her husband, Ron, was anxious to help at a time when child sponsorship was in its infancy.
For the two librarians, the decision has made perfect sense. “We appreciate the historical and social background you get from communicating with someone across the world. You [form] an emotional attachment,” she explains. The Welwoods appreciate the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada’s (CCFC) commitment to providing a personal touch with a donor-relations team with whom she can connect.
Through the years, the photos of CCFC-sponsored children on the Welwood’s fridge changed, but their commitment hasn’t wavered. There was Khadija from Kenya, Valeria (pictured above) from Brazil, Lariza from Paraguay — more than 20 children altogether. “The pictures have always been on the fridge, on the mantles, as they are in most families,” Frances explains. “They’ve been there throughout our children’s lives, so our boys are still interested.” Even today, the Welwood’s adult sons ask about the sponsored children when they visit Nelson.
It’s little surprise that these retired archivists, with hearts for helping others, kept, recorded and shared with CCFC the years of correspondence with their sponsored children. The stack of letters, photos and hand-drawings overflows with memories of little ones fishing with friends, visiting relatives and treasuring monetary gifts meant for new sneakers and school supplies.
“You’re helping a child be a child,” says Frances. “If you can help a child enjoy their childhood, their family and take pride in [their] country, that’s the biggest thing.”
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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada works globally to support children and youth who dream of a better world. For nearly 60 years, we’ve brought together diverse people and partnerships, driven by a common belief: education extends beyond the walls of a classroom and is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world. We focus on breaking barriers preventing access to inclusive, quality education for all, especially girls.