You open your mailbox and pull out a familiar red and yellow envelope, Holt’s logo flashing from the corner. It’s an update about your sponsored child — one that comes each season. You rip open the envelope and pull out a new photo of your child and an update about his or her life overseas. Or, you log into your email and click on a familiar link from Holt. Soon, a new picture of your sponsored child stares at you from your screen.
You examine the new picture of your sponsored child — her smile, how she’s changed from the last photo — and delve into the words, how your $30 per month is changing her life.
Maybe you even wonder about the day a Holt staff member visited your child to take his new photo and get his update, and the journey to get that update to you, the sponsor. How did it get to you, and why, in April, is your child talking about Christmas?
Here we explain who wrote your sponsored child’s update, and the long journey that report took to get to you.
To write your child’s progress report, a member of Holt’s program staff or staff at one of our partner organizations sits down with your child and his or her parents once every 3-4 months. If your child’s family receives food assistance or vocational training, it may be the Holt social worker who regularly meets with the family. Or if your child receives educational sponsorship, the person writing the report may be your sponsored child’s teacher. In short, the person who writes the report knows your sponsored child well — often from daily to monthly contact with your sponsored child.
This person asks questions — How’s school? How is family? What did you enjoy this month? What was hard?
Many times, school is a major part of each sponsored child’s update. Holt believes education is critical to the health and future of children, so checking in about grades and classes is common. Since many children also receive medical care as part of sponsorship, a child update may say whether or not a child visited a doctor in the last quarter. Often, children will talk about life at home or with friends, and the hobbies they enjoy during free time. Sometimes, children or families will include prayer requests or personal struggles into their updates as well. Since Holt sponsorship works to help families grow self-sufficient, many times the update will focus on a family’s growing stability or the steps necessary to meet future goals.
Then, Holt’s staff snaps a new photo, types up the child’s update and emails it to the main Holt office in that country. Once the main office has an update for each child, they electronically send all the updates and photos to Holt’s office in the United States. Because of the number of children Holt serves, it can take up to four months for each program to write, gather and compile all the children’s updates.
In order to maintain the authenticity of the report, Holt edits each update minimally. We often choose to leave grammar, punctuation and spelling as it is originally written. Sometimes, the report is originally written in English and sometimes it is translated to English from another language.
Finally, we prepare each report, and send it to you, the sponsor.
Each update must travel a long way to arrive in your mailbox, but the message inside comes straight from the heart of a child or family whose life is transforming thanks to your compassion.
To sponsor a child (or a second, third or fourth child!), click here.
For questions about sponsorship, email Aanya Bricker at firstname.lastname@example.org.