Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thank You, Thank You and Thank You!

By Cynthia Price, Director of Communications

Just before Thanksgiving we began calling donors to thank them for supporting Christian Children’s Fund and our work with children. It was a way to say thanks during the holiday season.

I personally called about 100 donors. I’m not one to enjoy chatting on the phone, but the donors were great. Those I spoke with directly couldn’t believe I wasn’t asking for money – that I was simply calling to say thanks. One donor asked, “Are you sure you don’t want money?”

I laughed and said, “Nope, just wanted to say thank you and Merry Holidays!”

He laughed and said, “You can call me anytime!”

Most expressed concern about the economy and tough times but said they remained committed to sponsoring their child (or children). That was so rewarding to hear.

I heard from some about the snow in the northeast. Others talked about their personal losses this year, but that giving to others helped them.

We have great donors. Obviously we couldn’t reach them all. But if you’re reading this, “Thank you!”

Monday, December 29, 2008

Coffee Roaster Perks Up Employees With Child Sponsorships

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist
Putting others first – that’s the mentality of Dillanos Coffee Roasters in Sumner, Wash. The company – whose mission statement is “Help People. Make Friends. Have Fun.” – puts others first in several ways, one of them being helping Christian Children’s Fund.

The company sponsors a child for each of its employees – to date that total is 78. At Dillanos’ headquarters a wall is adorned with photos of the employees and their sponsored children. (See the photo above for what the wall looks like.)

Dillanos’ Marketing Director Lon LaFlamme said the employees enjoy the benefit of sponsoring a child and many employees give separate individual donations to CCF during the holidays.

“Putting others first – like the kids in Christian Children’s Fund – not only supports our mission statement and culture, it also encourages our family of employees to put the welfare of Dillanos first. Selflessness builds great companies and happy employees,” said Dillanos’ CEO David Morris.

For more on Dillanos’ and its work, click here to see our latest press release. You can also find out more about Dillanos’ by visiting

Monday, December 22, 2008

Soldier's Memory and Efforts to Help Afghanistan Live On

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

Forrest Ewens – a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army – was passionate about helping the people of Afghanistan. In addition to handing out treats to the children, the elders in the nearby village where he was stationed would often ask for him by name.

“When he wrote home, he would write more about the help he was able to provide to the local people rather than his military adventures,” Forrest’s mother, Carol, said.

Forrest, of Gig Harbor, Wash., was killed in action in 2006, but his memory and effort to help the people of Afghanistan live on. Forrest’s parents have been contributing to Christian Children’s Fund since 1992 and wanted to find a way to honor their son. They quickly realized that a well would be a good way to have his memory live on.

Earlier this year, construction of a well in the remote Samady Village in Badakhshan Province was completed, thanks to funding from Forrest’s parents, family and friends.

The well provides clean water to about 500 families in this area, bringing about significant change. Children who once had to walk to nearby villages to find water can now focus on their education instead of waiting in long lines. Clean water also prevents illnesses from water-borne diseases found in rivers.

“It is especially encouraging to us to see that our decision to be involved in CCF long ago has been so worthwhile,” Carol said.

To read more about Forrest and the new well, click here to read the latest news release from Christian Children’s Fund.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Th1s HoLi6ay, Try G1ving By th3 Num6ers with CCF

By Stephanie Brummell, Interactive Content Specialist for CCF

Everyone loves presents. No matter the occasion, whatever is in that mysterious wrapped up box adorned with bows and string curls – we want it, we need it and we’ve got to have it now.

But looking back on your childhood, chances are some of your most “precious possessions” have since seen better days.

We grow out of clothes, we find better toys. Yet along the way, we also find that one of the best gifts is giving of ourselves; knowing that our generosity toward others is truly appreciated, and sometimes needed.

This holiday season, CCF is encouraging everyone to give the gifts that keeps on giving way past their shiny, brand-new expiration dates. Even if it goes to someone you’ve never met.

Our Gifts of Love and Hope Catalog has more than 100 items to choose, ranging from animals and garden tools to toys and school materials. Not only will your gift brighten the day of the child, family or community who receives it, but thanks to you, we will be that much closer to easing the burden of poverty to those within our circle of care.

Did you know...

Your gift of teaching materials will help 1,500 children in 8 primary schools throughout Ethiopia.

1 bicycle with a sidecar can help a family in the Philippines deliver vegetables, fruits and baked goods without having to walk door to door. 1,000 children will benefit from the availability of this nutritious food in 10 communities.

For as little as $6 you can provide cough medicine for 1 child in Honduras. Share the joy of simple card games with children in Angola for only $10. It’s not how much you give, but knowing a child’s life will be better since you did.

In poverty-stricken communities in Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Dakota, young people are looking for a chance to make a difference. Your gift will provide a team of 5 young people with 10 gallons of paint and supplies to transform a barren house into a beautiful home. Plus these youth will also plant 1 tree in the yard of each low-income home to celebrate the beautification and transformation of their community.

6 chickens will provide enough nourishment and income for 1 school of children in The Gambia. 5 ducks will help feed an entire family in Timor-Leste.

Did you know 1 mosquito net can save up to 3 children and last for up to 5 years? Did you know you could purchase a net from the Gifts of Love and Hope Catalog for only $11?

Already this holiday season, gifts have been ordered to help many children and families living in poverty, including a house for a family in Timor-Leste for $2,857 and a water tank for 800 children in India for $107.

Do your part to make this holiday season shine brighter for children all over the world; check out our Gifts of Love and Hope Catalog here.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 12, 2008

CCF Hits the Streets of Richmond to Give Back Locally

By Nicole Duciaume, Documentation and Sponsorship Support Officer for CCF

Earlier in November, a group of us at CCF were looking for ways to give back locally this holiday season. After all, our headquarters is in Richmond, and we love being here.

So, we set out to identify two local organizations that share many of our own goals and program approaches, but whose clients and recipients are all Richmonders.

The first – Virginia Council of Churches Refugee Resettlement Program (VCCRRP), serving the refugee community in Richmond. The second – Freedom House, serving the homeless and working poor in the greater Richmond area.

We asked them one, simple question: how can we help?

An answer came in the form of CCF’s 2008 Holiday Gift Drive. Beginning Nov. 21 we asked staff to donate children’s books to benefit VCCRRP and items such as hats, gloves and scarves to benefit Freedom House. Staff response was overwhelming.

On Dec. 10, I, and two other staff representatives, hand delivered these items to both organizations to learn more about their mission and clients, hopes and needs, frustrations and successes.

A representative from VCCRRP told us that our donations were “exactly what the spirit of the holidays is all about; extending a hand of welcome and peace.”

A representative from Freedom House also thanked CCF for helping “make this holiday special for many that get lost in the shuffle of life.”

It was an amazing opportunity to give of ourselves and see the outpouring of support and generosity from our staff. It was even more amazing to be able to represent my colleagues to these other organizations.

Our goal was to let them know that CCF is not only committed to the 15.2 million children and families around the world who we support through our organization, but that we also intimately care about the wellbeing of people in our own community.

This outpouring of support inspired us to re-write a well-known holiday song (please begin humming the classic tune “The 12 Days of Christmas”)

On the twelfth day of our Holiday Drive, CCF staff gave back:

377 total items
246 children’s books
35 pairs of gloves
30 stylish hats
23 sets of warm things (combos of hats, scarves, and/or gloves)
17 comfy scarves
8 board games, coloring books and puzzles
7 blockbuster children’s movies
5 children’s throw pillows
3 pairs of ear warmers
2 pairs of socks and
And even one pair of leg warmers.

(Ok – you can stop humming now).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One Wife, 136 Children – How'd That Happen?

Huntingdon, Pa., resident, business owner and husband Leon “Red” Hopkins says his donations to Christian Children’s Fund are not a big deal – what he is passionate about it is getting more people to give.

Red sponsors 136 children through CCF – he recently added 12 more.

“It’s a thing I do,” he says of his sponsorships. “Get yourself a child; you’ll feel great.”

To read more about the “thing” he does, click here to read CCF’s latest news release.

Monday, December 8, 2008

We All Have Something to Say, But Children Say it Best

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

Adults have all the answers, don’t we? At least we like to think we do. Around the world, millions of children live in poverty. Finding the answer to break the cycle is not easy, but at Christian Children’s Fund we know that listening to children and how poverty impacts them is a start.

A new publication – “We’ve Got Something to Say: Promoting Child and Youth Agency, A Facilitator’s Manual” – captures how important it is to listen to children and youth about the issues that impact them the most.

This publication follows a 2005 CCF poverty study in which we learned that children are far more sensitive to and affected by poverty than we first thought. The study also showed that children understand poverty as a deeply physical, emotional and social experience.

We know that children are agents of change and are capable of playing leading roles in their lives and in their communities. This manual helps make this clear.

The guide was developed for program managers, community workers, community leaders, youth leaders and others who are interested in working more effectively with young people in community development. Child protection expert Claire O’Kane and child participation consultant Tracy Dolan wrote the manual for CCF.

The manual is divided into seven sections that stress the importance of talking to and working with children in communities to bring change and help with planning in CCF’s program areas.

While the “We’ve Got Something to Say” guide was written for CCF, Dolan said its uses are practical for any organization that works with children.

“This guide includes chapters on how to prepare adults and organizations to work more effectively with young people and how to share governing responsibilities with children and youth,” she said.

To view the “We’ve Got Something to Say” manual click here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

We Can't Control Our Chickens and Goats!

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

A few weeks ago, we told you about Christian Children’s Fund’s "Gifts of Hope and Love" catalog and how you can use it for your holiday shopping needs.

Well, we’re here to tell you that chickens and goats are flying off CCF’s shelves – more than 1,200 have been purchased this season.

For more details on the gift catalog, click here to check out our latest news release, go here to read our blog entry from a few weeks ago or check out the catalog on our Web site here.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Will there be a Generation C – for Cure?

By Stephanie Brummell, Interactive Content Specialist

First, there were the “Baby Boomers;” known for adding to the worldwide increase in birthrate just after World War II. Naturally soon after came the “Baby Busters” – better known as Generation X.

These people grew up with an affinity for pop culture that may never be challenged.

In between live the “Jonesers,” whom people reference when speaking competitively about “keeping up with the Joneses.” And who could forget Generation Y? Steadily making their way to the top even as we speak?

With each sweep of a new generation comes change; some for better some for worse.

But as we celebrate World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, and all thoughts turn toward raising awareness for the global epidemic that affects more than 33 million people worldwide, we can’t help but ask, “Will there be a Generation C?”

That is, do you think there will be a Cure for HIV/AIDS in your lifetime?

“Wow, that’s a big question,” said William Fleming, HIV/AIDS Program Specialist for CCF. “I doubt it, but then we have had major breakthroughs before. Most folks are talking about chronic disease management – like diabetes, or cancer in some ways.”

According to Fleming, efforts to combat HIV have had positive spill-over effects in many areas, driving innovative research toward finding a cure. So far, however, nothing concrete has surfaced.

“For now prevention and treatment are our best weapons.”

Get in on the discussion. Why do or don’t you think you will see a cure for HIV/AIDS happen in your lifetime? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What Are You Thankful For?

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

This year has been one of doom and gloom according to the nightly news and the morning headlines in newspapers – home foreclosures are at record highs and the stock market seems to have no bottom. We say (for at least a few days anyway) enough is enough. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and it’s time to think about the good things life has to offer.

To celebrate the holiday, we asked several of our CCF employees what they are thankful for this year. Here are their responses.

Gary Duncan, assistant director of marketing
“Despite the economy in the U.S., the increasing job losses, and high prices for basic daily needs, I am thankful that there is reason to be positive for the future. In many impoverished countries, there are children and families who have no hope, no dreams, and no one to encourage them.”

Eli Rivadeneira, assurance officer in CCF’s Americas Region
“I am thankful for my life, the opportunities I have had, the moments I have lived, the persons I have met. I am thankful for my great family and for my parents who always support me. I am thankful for my husband, my son and my daughter; they are blessings in my life. I am thankful for my professional life, for the opportunity to be in CCF, because since I visited the communities and shared with the children and their parents, I changed my priorities in life. I understand the important things to live and enjoy and I am really thankful for it.”

David Hylton, public relations specialist
“I am thankful for the opportunities and challenges that each new day brings in both my professional life and my personal life.”

Cynthia Price, director of communications
“I am thankful for friends and family and the blessed life that I have. I know I’m fortunate that my basic necessities and then some are covered, but all this was reinforced this summer when I traveled to my first developing country. I was in Senegal and The Gambia for Christian Children’s Fund. I no longer take for granted access to health care and education, water from my tap, and so much more.”

Annelore Temple, executive secretary, Marketing and Sponsor Services
“I am thankful, even as our world is facing an economic crisis, that we still have hope – hope in our future, hope in our new leader and, most importantly, hope in our God, who will preserve this country called America.”

Welbert Luis S. Gonçalves, administration officer, Brazil
“I am thankful for my wife, who has always supported me in my professional and personal life. I am thankful for my little son, who is only 1 year old. He came into our lives bringing so much joy and so many lessons to be learned. I am thankful for him to have the opportunity to be raised in a home where he can not only have access to basic needs, but also to be loved. I am thankful for our health, for our friends and for each new morning.”

Stephanie Brummell, interactive content specialist
“I’m thankful for my family and for the foresight that brought me to CCF. Not only is my passion for writing used each and every day, but that same passion is also transformed into my own way of helping children all over the world. Who knows what my words might inspire?”

Cheri Dahl, vice president of International Communications and Fundraising
“I am thankful that I work with a team of people that I like, who laugh and have fun, and who are committed and work hard.”

Nicole Duciaume, documentation and sponsorship support officer
“I am thankful for my family’s unconditional love and support, friends who make me laugh, opportunities to touch the lives of others, my dogs’ effervescent personalities, and warm dryer-fresh towels.”

Ellie Whinnery, public relations manager
“I am thankful for family and friends and the freedom to celebrate together on Thanksgiving. I am thankful that in these tough economic times we truly understand that being together and giving of ourselves is more important than material things that won’t last. Everyone contributes a part to our Thanksgiving meal. We take a long walk before eating and have dessert first, then our meal … otherwise we are too full to really enjoy pumpkin and pecan pie.”

* * *

Now it’s your turn. What are you thankful for this year? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hear How Children’s Lives are Changing

Children in Senegal and The Gambia in West Africa are learning in schools and gaining confidence thanks to Christian Children’s Fund’s programs. In August, Cynthia Price, director of communications for CCF, traveled to this region with CCF President and CEO Anne Goddard to get a first-hand look at CCF’s programs in action.

This week Cynthia will share her experiences from the trip. The presentation will be held from 2-4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, at the Twin Hickory Library in Glen Allen, Va.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Want to Give a Goat? Buy it Here

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

We’re no David Letterman, but we're borrowing his idea of a top 10 list to help you with your holiday shopping. We know that you just threw out that Halloween pumpkin, and the Thanksgiving turkey may already be in your freezer, but the holiday season is right around the corner.

Christian Children’s Fund can help you with your holiday shopping with its "Gifts of Hope and Love" catalog. From solar lanterns to paper and pencils to chickens and goats, all of our gifts change the lives of the deprived, excluded and vulnerable children and families in developing countries.

Items from this year's "Gifts of Hope and Love" catalog can be found by clicking here.

We know you don't want to get up at 5 a.m. to shop on Black Friday – besides, that flat screen TV will be on sale again in January and that Nintendo Wii you've been dying to have will eventually be back in stock. You know you really don't want to wrap and ship gifts this year – just think of that headache of looking for that roll of tape you thought was in the kitchen drawer.

Do you still need more reasons to shop our "Gifts of Love and Hope" catalog? Well then, here are 10 more:

You don’t have to dig around your attic for a gift box or wrapping paper for your gift. CCF takes care of that for you. No bows required.

You don’t have to bite your fingernails or wring your hands waiting for it to be delivered in time for your holiday celebration.

You don’t have to ask the help of cranky, overworked store clerks for the size you need or wait for them to check for it in the back room.

The item you order will not be out of stock, backordered, sold-out, or no longer available. There is an unlimited need for “Gifts of Love and Hope” and CCF has all of the items available.

We have gifts that will fit any budget and don’t require you to pay shipping and handling. Gifts start at $6.

Gas prices may have come down, but who wants to search for a parking space at the mall? And with the “Gifts of Love and Hope” you don’t have to fear forgetting where you parked.

You can shop in your jammies anytime of the day, or night. Shop and order online.

Your gift will reduce your income taxes because it is tax deductible (if you itemize).

You will get a heartwarming feeling about the gift you purchased in honor of your friends or loved ones.

The number one reason why you should shop from CCF’s “Gifts of Love and Hope” catalog – Your gifts provide a brighter future for children and families in the 32 countries CCF works.

So what are you waiting for? Get your shopping done now and then sit back and relax with a smile on your face knowing that you’ve helped change the lives of children around the world.

To learn more about the gift catalog, click here to watch a video from CCF's Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Resources Mike Pressendo. For more information on Christian Children’s Fund, click here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hello Richmond! Did You Know We Were Here?

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

Earlier this year, we created this blog as a way to keep you up to date on what's happening at Christian Children's Fund. Unfortunately, we admit, we let it slide. Before we knew it, a month had passed … then several months … then all of a sudden the last quarter of 2008 is here.

I'm here to tell you, though, that this blog is back. So please bookmark this page, add it to your RSS reader, e-mail a link to your friends – we want your help in keeping it going.

This all being said, we want to re-kick this blog off with a warm Richmond, Va., welcome. Oh wait, you didn't know that we're located in Richmond? Well then, that's a good place to start. We'll begin by giving you a few Richmond facts.

* We have been in the Richmond area since our founding in 1938.

* We are now located in Henrico County on Emerywood Parkway just off Broad Street near Glenside Drive. We’re next to the relatively new Virginia Blood Services Building.

* We employ about 200 people at our Richmond headquarters, better known as the International Office. CCF employs about 1,600 worldwide.

* In the past year, more than 7,100 people in the Richmond and Petersburg area contributed to CCF through child sponsorships or one-time donations.

* Our current 24-member board of directors includes 11 individuals from the Richmond area.

* In a 2005 study ("Virginia's Nonprofit Sector: An Economic Force," by Lester M. Salamon, Stephanie Lessans Gellar, and Wojciech Sokolowski), CCF was listed as one of the top five nonprofits by total revenue in the Richmond/Petersburg region.

Now that you know a little more about us and our connection to Richmond, we want to hear from you. What do you want to know about us? Are you a sponsor and have a story you’d like to tell? What kind of blog entries would you like to see on this site? Please share your comments, ideas, suggestions and questions in the comments section below.

Click here to visit CCF's official Web site.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Start with the Children

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

All day you’ve probably seen what people think of poverty, what they’re doing to help those in poverty and, like our blog today, you’ve probably seen many first-hand accounts of poverty. The United Nations has a goal to halve poverty in the world by 2015 as part of its Millennium Development Goals, but how can we really combat poverty?

The answer is what we’ve been hinting at all day – the battle begins with children.

“The biggest force for transforming a culture of poverty is the children who grow up poor and gain the skills and self-confidence to change their lives,” says Christian Children’s Fund President and CEO Anne Goddard.

Children are the biggest agents of change. CCF works every day in 32 countries around the globe implementing programs to help children become young adults, parents and leaders who bring lasting and positive change in their communities.

“Working with children is crucial because if you can lift a child out of poverty, that child becomes a force in moving others out,” Goddard says. “If you change the life of a child, you change the future for their children.”

Nobody said fighting poverty was going to be easy. With thousands of people participating in Blog Action Day, we hope that you are more aware of this global problem. Together we can all make a difference.

If you want to know more about CCF and its efforts to fight poverty, click here to access our Web site.

A Small Victory in a Big Fight

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

The fight against poverty isn’t always about the bad news. Here’s a story on how one girl is living a better life because of Christian Children’s Fund.

Nine-year-old Celsia is now living a healthy life. It hasn’t always been this way. Celsia and her family, which includes three siblings, live in Timor Leste where 46 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, life expectancy is low and there’s a low education level.

In Celsia’s village, children lack access to health care, safe water and pre-primary education. In 2001, a partner affiliate of CCF Timor Leste started its service programs addressing the health, nutrition and pre-school needs of children younger than 6.

At 2 years old, a severely malnourished Celsia was a beneficiary of a supplementary feeding program.

When Celsia was 4, she joined the Early Childhood Development (ECD) activities of the partner affiliation. She learned the alphabet and numbers, as well as played and sang with her friends. The ECD activities prepared Celsia and her friends for their primary school education.

Now in her fourth grade, the ECD services continue to help Celsia through after-school tutorials. Celsia happily talks about the lessons, games and singing she has done through the ECD program. She says that the supplementary feeding program helped her to be healthy.

Celsia describes living in poverty as not having “the opportunity to have proper food, health care and school facilities.” Her parents remain determined to try their best to provide opportunities to Celsia, her siblings and the other children in their village.

Breaking the Circle of Poverty in Taiwan

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

Christian Children’s Fund is a member of the ChildFund Alliance, a family of 12 organizations that partner together to improve the lives of deprived, excluded and vulnerable children and their families in 56 countries. One of those organizations is Taiwan Fund for Children and Families (TFCF).

Through the Domestic Children Sponsorship Program, TFCF provides needy children with financial assistance and an opportunity to continue their education through sponsorship programs, scholarships and an emergency relief fund. Social workers track children’s situations with regular home visits and interviews.

In 2007, thousands of children and families received assistance through TFCF’s programs. More than 38,000 children received educational sponsorships; nearly 2,000 families encountering financial difficulties received money through the emergency relief fund; and about 800 children received medical care through a health insurance sponsorship program.

TFCF’s effort to break the circle of poverty also includes a family development program, a youth capacity building program and a head start program. For more information on TFCF, click here.

Poverty As Told Through Youth Voices

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

Adults can try their best to explain to you how poverty is such a bad thing, but do you really believe what you’re hearing? We can give you the statistics and results from a study, but what does that mean?

To understand poverty and to be moved to take action to fight poverty, you have to hear about it first hand. The quote we left you with earlier today is only a small part of what poverty does to children. Here is how a group of youth in a CCF program in Honduras views poverty.

Wilmer, 15
Poverty is a problem that has been going on for a long time. Poverty is most damaging to young people, leading them to drugs, alcohol and other vices. Poverty is something that has not been controlled in our municipality. We have seen how this situation causes damage to children and youth due to discrimination by not having a roof, food and a decent life for a human being.

Poverty is manifested through malnutrition. Malnutrition is something that has not been controlled due to lack of resources to combat it. Lack of education is another manifestation of poverty in our town. Education is something that can help us reduce the force of poverty, and hence contribute to the development of our region.

Unemployment is also a product of poverty. By not having work, the person responsible for the household is not able to bring food to his or her family

Edgardo, 13
Poverty is a different condition that drives poor people to seek outlets in life. This continues to be the most humiliated condition by society. Poor people live in conditions in which they lack food, housing, clothes and health. By not having the opportunity to have what the rich have, poor people, and most of all young people, seek refuge in gangs and even steal to support their families. Children suffer when they become ill because there is no money to buy medicine.

Poverty is manifested by not having an education because of lack of money. Malnutrition is what most concerns because there is no food. People suffer because of ignorance in their minds, which brands them for life.

Idania, 14
Poverty is one of the things that greatly affects children, young people and adults. It is everywhere and limits the development of the communities. Poverty obstructs education, health and our way of life. Poverty makes you think that you are not the same as the others. Opportunities for the poor are also fewer.

In my municipality you can see that children have no clothes; their food is not good; there is no adequate medicine; there are no jobs; children sell vegetables on the street in order to make some money and not endure hunger; and children are malnourished.

Delmy, 14
I believe that poverty does not allow us to be better – it denies us the opportunity to be better people. It makes us live hungry, with no clothes and no medicine. That makes the non-poor see us as rare and that we don’t belong to society.

Poverty is seen in people that do no have adequate and safe housing. People eat a little so that the rest of the family can eat. Some don’t have the opportunity to learn to read and write. Sometimes people are forced to steal because of the difficult situation.

You Can't Deny the Facts

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

Poverty is a global problem affecting billions of people. In 2002, Christian Children’s Fund conducted a comprehensive study on the experience and impact of poverty on children and youth.

As part of Blog Action Day, we wanted to share with you the major findings of the study. Later today we will share with you stories from children and youth detailing how poverty impacts them. Then we’ll close out the day with a post on our thoughts on how to combat poverty.

Here are the key findings from the 2002 study:
* Children understand poverty as a deeply physical, emotional and social experience. Many children in CCF programs prioritize the psychological and social experience of poverty, such as humiliation, as being more significant than any material deprivation.

* Children are more sensitive to and affected by poverty than adults realize. Children are aware of poverty’s divisive nature and feel its effects in terms of changing and constraining their relationships with family and friends.

* Children experience poverty as a continuously changing condition. This is due to the interaction of several processes at the personal, family, communal and structural level. For example, during times of conflict, distinctions such as those based on gender and ethnicity often grow for children who feel the least valued. “You feel lonely, you feel ashamed,” a 16-year-old girl from Kenya said during the study.

* Children are active contributors to their own well-being. In most circumstances, children do have options and make choices that impact their situation.

* Lastly, the range of experiences felt by children in poverty can be classified into three interrelated dimensions: deprivation (lack of essential material conditions), exclusion (on the basis of age, gender, class, etc.) and vulnerability (with regard to the changing array of threats in their environments).

To understand how poverty affects children, you have to hear it directly from those impacted. While the CCF study was taking place, here’s what one 17-year-old girl said: “Poverty means unequal relationships with others. If you are poor, you suffer from stigma. Others look at you in a certain way like you’re worthless. Feeling unimportant: No one will listen to me, no one cares for me … I’m poor, I don’t count, I’m a piece of dirt.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blog Action Day, Here We Come

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

“Poverty isn’t something you can fully convey in a photo,” says Christian Children’s Fund President and CEO Anne Goddard. “It is overwhelming. It is massive.”

In an attempt to more fully convey the impact of poverty, CCF will join Internet bloggers worldwide on Oct. 15 to take part in Blog Action Day.

Blog Action Day is a nonprofit event started by volunteers in 2007 to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters to post blog entries about the same issue on the same day. Last year more than 20,000 blogs participated in the event, which focused on the environment. This year’s theme focuses on poverty, which is an issue CCF tackles every day.

We’ll share with you details of a CCF poverty study from a few years ago, but the big highlight will be how the world’s youth view poverty.

For more information on visit Blog Action Day.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

CCF at the Children's Museum of Richmond for World Water Day

By Stephanie Kulenguski, CCF Web Content Editor

The sound of children laughing echoed through the open lobby area of the Children’s Museum of Richmond today. Sunlight poured through the massive floor-to-ceiling windows and illuminated the water structure (made out of water jugs) precariously built to resemble a big whale and a small goldfish.

The goldfish and the whale symbolized how much water the average American uses (80 gallons a day) compared to what a Kenyan family uses (5 gallons a day).

Christian Children's Fund worked closely with the Children’s Museum of Richmond to create an activity to engage children in water issues around the world such as water scarcity, conserving water and what other children around the world have to go through to obtain water.

The Children’s Museum set up a table for us in their Art Studio, and we brought unused water jugs -- donated by Marva Maid and CCF staff -- to the museum for children to decorate in remembrance of World Water Day. We handed out pamphlets to parents with child-friendly activities and stories about water usage in Ecuador, Zambia and the Philippines. One mother asked her son, “Do we use water to grow plants?” The mother went on to talk about how they use water at home for brushing their teeth, filling up the bathtub and washing their hands. Another mother read her daughters, Kaitelyn and Rian, a short story from the World Water Day pamphlet while the girls decorated their jug.

Each child's water jug was unique -- some used paint, others used glue, fabric, markers and assorted materials donated to the museum. One child made sure his mother put his name on his water jug; it was easy to tell that they enjoyed this project and wanted ownership of their masterpieces.

CCF President and CEO, Anne Lynam Goddard, was present at the event. She interacted with the children in the Art Studio and answered media questions from the local NBC news crew that aired the story on the evening news.

About 450 children and parents came to the museum during the exhibit which lasted four hours. CCF’s message was heard loud and clear: clean water is important, not only for us here in the United States, but for people all over the world and we need to work together to find ways to ensure that clean, safe water is available for everyone, no matter where they live.

Friday, March 14, 2008

From Danielle, Tiger Den Leader, Auburn, Alabama

Our Cub Scout pack in Auburn, Alabama discussed World Water Day tonight. The boys were ages 6 to 9, and we also had two younger siblings present, both age 5. We started the activity by looking at the gallon jugs we pre-decorated with some basic facts about clean water. Then, we looked at info from the World Water Day (WWD) resource booklet and pictures from the resource. One boy read the Zambia story out loud for everyone to hear the story in a child's voice. Seeing the muddy water being used was really eye opening for the boys. We read the water facts from CCF's World Water Day resource for children, and discussed each point and how we'd feel if it affected us this way. The older boys explained the harder words to the younger ones, particularly sanitation and hygiene. (We also emphasized why it's important to properly wash hands after bathroom breaks, which is always important to remind our kids.)

The boys were really surprised at how little clean water there is on the planet (1 tablespoon out of a gallon) with the rest being saltwater or muddy water. One fact that really stuck out for the boys is that someone dies every 15 seconds from water borne illnesses. One boy counted to 15 and was surprised at how many people were dying while we were talking. The boys were also really concerned about how long it would take to get water in African countries, and how far the people have to go to get it. The boys discussed missing out on school, learning new things, playing sports, having fun with friends and being too tired to do anything else. The boys asked why there wasn't clean water close to them, and how people could clean their water. The leaders and parents explained how chlorine and filters can clean the water making it safer to drink. We also emphasized how we can conserve our own water, by not filling up the bath tub as if it were a swimming pool, and turning the water off when we brush our teeth.

Next, we allowed the boys to take turns walking around the large meeting room with the gallon of water propped on their heads. While two boys were walking around at a time, the others talked about how tiring it was. They noticed their heads hurt from the weight of the bottle, some water was dripping on them, and their arms were tired. This was only a room the size of 1/2 a basketball court, and took under 5 minutes to walk around. They couldn't believe kids their age do this for 3 to 4 hours at a time!

We focused on some of our discussions and created a poster about ways we use water in our daily lives, and how people in Africa use water the same way we do. We imagined how hard it would be to get enough water to do all the things we normally do, from bathing and cooking to toilets and brushing our teeth. The boys were really imaginative, thinking of some great ways we use water. Some of these were more obvious, like washing clothes and cooking, while a few were truly out of my mind, like using water to make cement and bricks for construction. The boys were very proud of their poster, and each one added some drawings and helped make the list of water uses. We will certainly use this program in the future, as it directly relates to the Cub Scout focus on water conservation.

Taking laps around the large fellowship hall with a gallon of water on their heads. (No racing, since boys would go wild and crash!)
Discussing dirty water and how gross it is to drink.
Discussing how many miles and hours it takes to get water in Africa and other countries, and the things we'd miss out on (school, playtime, games).
Counting to 15 seconds to signify how often someone dies from water borne illnesses.
Drawing a poster about ways we use water.
Talking about how we can conserve water.
Discussing what is being done in other countries to get clean water. (new wells, filtration, chlorine)

What our Poster Says:
Ways We Use Water
Drinking, showering, toilet, brush teeth, bath, cooking, cleaning, washing hands after bathroom, water for our animals, water for our plants, make baby formula
(The boys also included several drawings, including a toilet overflowing onto the hand (poor sanitation) and needing to use soap and clean water to prevent illnesses.)