A passion for connection

Longtime care team member lives the mission to end poverty

Jan traveled to Jalisco, Mexico, in 2007 to visit her sponsored child, José. His brother, two sisters and cousins are also pictured.

Included in Jan's impeccable fashion sense are a pair of earrings made from photos of her first two sponsored children.

Jan Sparling-Herring is a care team ambassador for Children International. She’s known for her radiant smile, great sense of humor, colorful style aesthetic and, especially, her contagious enthusiasm for our mission.

Through conversations with sponsors and donors, she works daily to make connections stronger between our supporters, the children we serve and our organization. She has worked in our Kansas City, Missouri, headquarters for almost 18 years. Her favorite thing about working for Children International is her belief in our shared mission – to connect people around the world in the fight to end poverty.

What brought you to Children International?

After 21 years in the high-stress world of graphics in both Kansas City and San Antonio, Texas, I was ready to look in a different direction, toward something I felt could help make the world a better place. So, Children International was a good fit.

Have you traveled with Children International before? If so, what’s a memorable experience you had?

In Mexico when I visited my sponsored child José’s home and family, I was serenaded with Mariachi music by extended family members. There were four singers, a badly tuned guitar, a stand-up bass with only 3 strings and hearts full of pride. It was glorious!

What are some of your hobbies, or how do you like to spend your time outside of work?

I love watching sports, a gene inherited from my now deceased mother – a preacher’s wife – and fed by my patient husband, Lyndon. Cooking anything and everything while listening to audio mysteries from the library on my iPad is a passion.

Do you currently sponsor any children?

José and Yoleidy, both of whom I picked, have graduated from the program now. I decided to let the Children International computer system (which prioritizes based on need and preference criteria) pick our next sponsored girl, Audry, from the Dominican Republic who came to us last January. Lyndon and I look forward to getting to know her.

I’m sure we will learn more about Audry as time goes by. Like many other sponsors, I have received just one letter in the 14 months we have sponsored her due to the pandemic. Her original letter received prior to COVID-19 indicated that she is a typical 11-year-old who enjoys rollerblading and jumping rope. Her favorite foods are are jelly beans, burritos and pizza.

What’s your favorite thing about sponsoring?

Watching children grow and evolve into strong, self-aware and capable young adults is a treasure.

On a visit to the Domincan Republic, Jan lunched with her sponsored child Yoleidy. Sofía Betances, Agency Director, and Yoleidy's grandmother are also pictured.

Something you’d like to share with a Children International sponsor?

The commitment of CI supporters to their sponsored child/children is a constant reminder that human goodness exists. I am grateful for the honor and privilege to speak with sponsors, hear their stories, problem-solve when needed, create real human connections, and hopefully provide service with a side order of joy.

Learn more about our Care Team

Comments

sattvictapasya
Apr 12, 2021

I enjoyed reading Jan Sparling-Herring's interview. It is nice to know that such nice, balanced people exist. Take good care.
-Suresh

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