A sponsor’s view: ‘Minimal effort’ makes a big impact

Becky Hutner (second from left) traveled to the Philippines to meet her sponsored child, Melody (far left), and her family.

Children International sponsor Becky Hutner opens up about how being a sponsor has impacted her life.

Can you tell us a little about your sponsored child?

Melody is 11, the youngest of three children, living in Tabaco City, Philippines, with her mother, a housemaid, and her father, a day laborer. She’s an excellent student and loves to dance. I also know from visiting that she is quite the Hello Kitty fan!

What were you hoping to get out of sponsorship?

The opportunity to forge a relationship with a young person and her family appealed to me. I’ve always loved letter-writing and appreciated that, with sponsorship, you could track your contribution via correspondence and updates, different from the usual donation experience where you have no idea where your money goes.

What has been your favorite experience?

Well, nothing beats my visit with Melody and family in December. The unforgettable moment when I met Melody and her father, Francisco, both trembling with nerves and excitement; Francisco thanking me over and over for supporting his daughter and making the effort to meet them. It was all worth it within that first 60 seconds, really! But then it just got better. The warm welcome from the family and CI volunteers. Getting the tour of Melody’s home and the ultimate surprise – amongst the row of family photos on the wall, a blown-up picture of me! I learned that out of the 15,000+ sponsors of children in the area, I was one of just 12 who visit [annually], a stat that Francisco would repeat over and over throughout the day. “One of the 12! One of the 12!”

In what ways has being a sponsor changed your life?

I don’t want to give the impression that money is no object for me. I work hard to make a decent living. But my monthly contribution to Melody is pretty painless. I have now seen firsthand how far that money goes and how meaningful it can be to the people who receive it. The way I was welcomed, like a member of the family, was almost embarrassing to me in light of what is really a minimal effort on my part. Seeing this impact firsthand has inspired me to sponsor another child!

Reporting assistance from Garrett Kenyon. Photo courtesy of Becky Hutner.

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