Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We've Moved!

This blog has moved! Click here to access the new ChildFund International blog.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Remembering Our Past

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

As we look forward to the next chapter in our history, today marks the last day that we are known as Christian Children’s Fund. At our International Office in Richmond, Va., we are celebrating CCF Day today. Employees are wearing CCF shirts, showing off CCF memorabilia and sharing their memories. Here’s a look at some of the CCF items on display:

We believe the work we have done is just the beginning of the work we have yet to do. Our mission has always been about benefiting the children, and we believe this change will allow us to positively impact more children and youth throughout the world.

Please join us as our mission to help the world’s children continues as ChildFund International.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Surprises at CCF

By Mona Lin,
Communications Intern

As an international student from Shanghai, China, I have attended Virginia Commonwealth University for my dual degree program since the end of August 2008. My graduate studies are in mass communications and strategic public relations. For me, however, working and applying what I have learned is what I most enjoy.

In Shanghai, I interned at an international public relations agency and participated in a student exchange program in Taiwan, working for the Public Service Television Group as a practice reporter. Now, as I embark on another adventure here in the United States, I really wanted to see how American organizations employ public relations.

Recently, nonprofit organizations have become my main interest. In fact, with China’s economy booming, and the transformation of Chinese government functions, nonprofit organizations, which are considered to be a product of Western civilization, are now becoming a reality in a country with a 5,000-year history.

For example, in China, there is the Hope Project for children living in remote areas. The Hope Project helps children who have dropped out of school return to school. We also have the China Red Cross, which operates nationwide and plays a tremendous role in various crises and natural disasters, including floods, snowstorms and the earthquake in the Sichuan province last year. Nonprofit organizations are growing fast in China and are vitally needed.

I had never imagined the connection between Christian Children’s Fund and China before I applied for my internship. I was really surprised to learn that CCF was actually founded in Northern China. I had explored the CCF Web site and found video clips of formerly sponsored children who grew up in Hong Kong.

I even met someone who could speak Chinese very well here at CCF, Ben Cohen. Ben, who is an undergraduate public relations student from the School of Mass Communications at VCU, had studied Chinese for a year at Fudan University, which happens to be my university in Shanghai, China.

Although we did not know each other, we both attended Fudan University in 2007, VCU in 2008, and now, we are both here, serving as interns at CCF! Frankly, nothing can be more thrilling than meeting someone in a foreign country who speaks your language and knows so much about your own culture.

Instead of focusing on the challenges that result from cultural differences, I am more impressed by the cultural identity that I witness here. Interning at CCF is a perfect fit for me. As well as gaining actual working experience and learning through the organizational culture, I am glad to see myself growing and transitioning from a full-time student to a part-time worker.

By accomplishing different jobs, I am discovering my real interests, which is very helpful for my future career development when I return to China. It is no wonder, therefore, that my internship here at CCF will become the most unforgettable experience during my stay in this country.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Name, New Sites

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

As Christian Children’s Fund nears the name change to ChildFund International on July 1, some changes are taking place in the way you can connect with us.

Beginning July 1, we will move this blog, our Twitter page and our Facebook page to new URLs. While many of these sites are still “under construction,” we’d like to let you know about these changes now so you don’t miss anything.

Our Twitter page will move to where we will continue to post regular links to Web page changes, links to our blog and engage in conversations with our Followers.

Click here to become a Fan on Facebook. We will be uploading photos, videos and much more to our Facebook page starting July 1. We’ll also continue to link to our blog posts and our Web site when those areas change. And we have much more planned for Facebook in the next several months – become a Fan and don’t miss out!

Lastly this blog will move July 1. Click here to access the new blog. We’ll continue to post regular entries in addition to adding new features such as photos, videos, polls and much more. As always, we welcome any comments.

For our regular readers, we’d like to say thanks for following along – we hope you’ve enjoyed our blogs so far and we hope to have you along as our changes near completion in the next week.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another Sneak Peek

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

If you were traveling along Interstate 64 in Richmond this morning, you might have noticed something going on outside our International Office near Glenside Drive. As we showed on our last blog entry, “Signs of Change,” we’re preparing for our name change to ChildFund International on July 1. And these new signs are only a small portion of changes to come in the near future. Here’s a look at today’s scenes:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Signs of Change

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

If you drive along Interstate 64 through Richmond, you’ve probably seen our building and a big sign with our name on the side. But now it’s starting to look a little different …

… check back soon for more details to find out what’s going on!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Forget the Same Old, Same Old for Dad

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

To honor your dad this Father’s Day weekend, why spend money on a tie that he’ll never wear or a bottle of cologne that nobody really likes? Instead of a $20 tie, how about buying two baby chicks in The Gambia?

Through the Christian Children’s Fund Gifts of Hope & Love catalog, gifts can be purchased to help 15.2 million children and families in the 31 countries we work. When you buy a gift in his honor, we’ll send him a personalized gift card to let him know of your thoughtfulness.

We know that times are tough for many families due to the current economy, but there are lots of items you can buy for less than $20 including picture books for a child care center in the Caribbean, a drawing kit for a child in India, a mosquito net for a family in Uganda, a pair of reading glasses for a parent in Sri Lanka, a duck for a family in Timor-Leste and cough medicine for a child in Honduras. (And don’t forget about those baby chicks.)

And these are just a few of the items! Click here to check out the entire gift catalog. And from our worldwide family to yours, have a Happy Father’s Day!

We’d also love to hear from you about the worst Father’s Day gift you’ve either received or given. Leave your comments below!

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Worldwide Community

By Cynthia Price,
Director of Communications

Liz Strauss, who I met earlier in the morning at Blog Potomac, noted that social media isn’t new. It’s the platform that is new. In the “old days” we engaged by phone or email. The new ways to engage, such as Twitter, are still about connecting.

At CCF we connect using both traditional (ChildWorld and Annual Report publications) and new (Facebook, Twitter) so we don’t leave anyone out of the conversation. The new ways simply make it easy to connect in real time and globally.

Telling Our Story

By Cynthia Price,
Director of Communications

Mid-morning at Blog Potomac we heard from Scott Monty, who is responsible for social media with Ford Motor Co. He shared some of their ideas around the social media platform. They are similar to ours – “I will tell the truth.” “I will write deliberately and accurately.”

His goal is to humanize Ford. At Christian Children’s Fund one of our goals is to connect with our supporters and more directly tell them how they help deprived, excluded and vulnerable children around the world. We want them to know how we believe that when you change a childhood, you change the world.

Technology Woes Aside, We're at Blog Potomac

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

In this age of social networking where everybody is constantly in touch through blogs, Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy to take technology for granted. And with the best laid plans in place our Director of Communications Cynthia Price was going to e-mail me a couple of blog entries from Blog Potomac today. (Click here for the details on Blog Potomac.)

However, she hit a snafu with her Blackberry in which she couldn’t send or receive e-mails and we were forced to take a step back in time – she dictated blog entries to me over the phone. It’s like we were in 1999 instead of 2009. Joking aside, here are her initial thoughts on Blog Potomac:

Walking into the State Theatre in Falls Church I found the room of small tables set up like a café. A sea of computer screens were already aglow as participants linked up, tweeted and blogged.

I was here to learn how to better engage with Christian Children’s Fund supporters. We’ve got our Fans on Facebook and Followers on Twitter, but we would like a stronger dialog. How do we get there? What conversations should we have on this blog?

Almost immediately I ran into Geoff Livingston, with CRT/tanaka, who is working with CCF on a social media strategy. He introduces me to Liz Strauss, of, and we discuss how to better share the connection donors make with the children they sponsor.

Like everyone here, I’m clicking away taking notes and sharing ideas (including through this blog).

We are looking for better ways to connect and this conference will help with ideas, but it’s ultimately about what you want.

Child Labor … Leave Us Alone

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

Child labor oh child labor
You steal our time to play. You make us carry heavy things. Every day we wake up in the cold to carry heavy loads of water, heavy bags of charcoal and wood.

Today is World Day Against Child Labor – a day launched in 2002 by the International Labor Organization (ILO) to raise awareness of child labor issues around the world. This year’s theme is “Give Girls a Chance: End Child Labor.”

At Christian Children’s Fund, we tackle child labor problems head on by supporting the basic needs of children in these situations. Children are missing out on their childhood as educational opportunities are sacrificed when they’re forced into work.

Child labor oh child labor
You steal our time to go to school. You make us so tired that even when we go to school, we are tired and just sleep.

The ILO estimates that 218 million children ages 5 to 17 are engaged in child labor – 100 million of those are girls, such as 15-year-old Monica in Zambia who wrote “Child labor oh child labor.”

Child labor oh child labor
Leave us alone, we want to play and go to school, we don’t want to carry heavy things. Our bodies are not strong, we cry out to you oh child labor … Leave us alone.

For more information about CCF and World Day Against Child Labor, click here to check out our latest news release.

(Note: The drawings in this entry are from children and youth in the Philippines and Zambia who were asked last year to depict what child labor means to them.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What do CCF and Rock 'n' Roll have in common?

By Bill Cavender,
Assistant Director Interactive Communications

I had the opportunity to catch up recently with Nuno Bettencourt after a performance at the M3 Festival in Columbia, Md. Back on the road with Extreme with a date on the East Coast provided a chance for us to get together and continue our discussion about Christian Children’s Fund, music, collaboration and the future.

Nuno has been connected with CCF since he was 11 years old. His parents were sponsors for many years and through this experience Nuno became aware of the work that was being done to assist deprived, excluded and vulnerable children.

Now a successful artist and parent himself, he continues the connection by sponsoring a child in Sierra Leone and one in India. He hopes these sponsorships will develop a similar awareness with his own children.

“It gives … me and my kids a sense of hope by helping someone in need; the hope that if we were ever in trouble that we would not be alone; the hope that we belong to a sympathetic community.”

The relationship doesn’t stop there. While financial support and expanding his children’s understanding of the world are important, Nuno also hopes to help broaden awareness and develop commitments from others. As a respected artist with a large audience, he is eager to lend his voice in support of our work as CCF and building a connection with the new brand, ChildFund International.

Over the past several years Nuno and I have had conversations about engaging new supporters and new demographics. While traveling around the United States and the world a couple of things have stood out to him: His audience is aware of issues surrounding poverty and the impact on children, and many are committed to helping make a change. His experience has strengthened his conviction that CCF is an effective organization for making these changes.

As an artist strongly committed to his craft, he works hard and takes pride in his accomplishments. Understanding that CCF is also committed to its work and accountable to our supporters has helped forge a strong connection.

“There are many charities that do great work with kids fighting cancer or other terrible illnesses. But I choose CCF because if we don’t help the most vulnerable they may never reach their teens and live long enough to experience those sometime trying moments of adulthood. This planet is way too rich not to provide for basic needs of all people and to give them a chance to live and carve their own path.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We’re in Africa … Already?!?!

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

We’re walking so fast that my fingers can’t keep up! As part of our Walk Across the World initiative, we’ve already “visited” our program areas in Mexico and Brazil. From Brazil, we crossed the Atlantic Ocean to visit Senegal.

We have worked with children and families in the western African nation for more than 20 years. Program initiatives tackle health issues such as malaria and HIV. CCF Senegal offers activities including education, health and sanitation and nutrition to address the overall wellbeing of children and their families.

For more about Senegal, click here to check out our Web site. You can also click here to check out our “In the Field” blog and read about our director of Communications’ trip to the country last summer.

In about six weeks of our Walk Across the World, nearly 100 of our International Office employees have walked more than 8,200 miles. We’re currently walking across Africa to another program area. I’m not telling you which one just yet … but at this rate we’re probably almost there. Check back soon for updates!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Finding Your Passion

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

“Once you find your passion, you will be taking a huge step toward achieving the kind of happy life everyone dreams of.”

This is what CCF President and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard will tell graduating students at Assumption College this Saturday. Anne graduated from the Worcester, Mass., college in 1977. She’ll receive an honorary Ph.D. this weekend as well.

She admits that more than 30 years ago she never imagined returning to the college to deliver a commencement address.

“If you had asked me when I arrived here in 1973 who among my classmates was the least likely to be chosen to be a future commencement speaker, I would have chosen … myself without a doubt,” she says.

Anne’s career has always been about helping children. In 1977, she began her career as a social worker. Two years later she joined the Peace Corps. Since that time she has always been involved with international organizations that help children. At CCF for the past two years, she has led the development of CCF’s new strategy, and a new globally unified name and brand, which includes a name change to ChildFund International effective July 1.

For more information about CCF, click here to check out our Web site.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Helping Mothers Around the World

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

Mothers are the cornerstone of families around the world – a healthy mother means a healthy infant, which leads to healthy families.

At Christian Children’s Fund, our programs give mothers the knowledge and tools they need to care for their children. For example, birthing centers in the Philippines that opened last year allow women easier access to receive medical care.

The centers are designed to provide comprehensive primary health care to cater to not only pregnant women, but also to women and children in general. And the facilities offer patients access to trained health care workers.

In Honduras, trained community staff, known as Guide Mothers, perform home visits and teach new mothers exercises for early stimulation to develop their child’s skills. Guide Mothers also provide follow-up health visits and cover the topics of immunizations, sanitation and safe water.

If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for your mother this Mother’s Day, consider a donation from our Gifts of Love & Hope catalog. When buying from the catalog, you can select an item in honor of your mother. When you do that, we’ll send her a personalized gift card to let them know of your thoughtfulness.

There are several items that can be bought to help mothers around the world – mosquito bed nets prevent women from contracting malaria; a head flashlight helps midwives assist mothers for safe, healthy births; and a water filter stops water-borne diseases from spreading.

For more information, visit and click on “Gifts of Love & Hope.”

Monday, May 4, 2009

Making a Stop in South America

By David Hylton,
Public Relations Specialist

From Richmond to Mexico to Brazil to … we’re not telling! In our “Walk Across the World” initiative, our employees have now “visited” two program areas and walked more than 6,200 miles in less than a month.

Most recently, we made a stop in Brazil, where CCF has worked since 1966. CCF Brazil’s National Director Gerson Pacheco gave us a warm welcome.

“Our country, our children, families and communities, welcome you with our arms open and our hearts filled with joy and gratitude for everything you do for us,” Gerson said. “Come and enjoy our hospitality, our culture, our customs, our music, our Carnival, our food and drinks (such as ‘Feijoada’ and ‘Caipirinha’), our beaches, our historical towns, our forests, our champion football, all the amazing collection of organized diversity that makes Brazil one of the most significant and important countries on the face of the planet.”

One highlight of our programs in Brazil is education. CCF Brazil provides after-school centers where children receive a balanced meal and homework supervision. CCF Brazil also offers “dream corners” – small libraries – for children and “toy libraries” in rural communities where children have a chance to play and experiment with educational toys. The libraries bring educational toys like blocks and puzzles to children who have few or no toys at home.

For more on our programs in Brazil, click here. Continue to check back here to see where we’re making our next stop!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Protection for All Children

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

“Some children in our community have to get married. We know that they are not ready to get married.”

These are the thoughts of children and youth in the developing world who live in environments that do not protect them from abuse, exploitation or neglect. The children and youth are often prevented from healthy development.

We tackle these issues head on with child protection workshops for our staff to recognize the problems.

Child protection risks include: an alcoholic parent; a community with traditions that do not value girls’ participation; parents encouraging their children to engage in prostitution or to migrate to urban areas for work; and a child with a disability who is hidden indoors by his mother.

Our programs will remove these obstacles by promoting protective environments, says child protection specialist Martin Hayes. Our child protection workshops are designed to have children speak up about the issues that affect them the most.

For more information on our workshops, including what we found in our U.S. programs, click here to check out our latest news release.

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's All About the Children

Children in today’s world need help more than ever. The World Bank estimates that 53 million people around the world will fall into poverty this year – that’s the total population of California and Florida combined. And that’s on top of the 1.5 billion people already living in poverty.

To address the problems, this is a critical time for Christian Children’s Fund to meet the growing needs of children. To help meet these needs, we are making a few changes. To learn about these changes, visit our Web site at

Friday, April 17, 2009

Benvenido a México!

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

With nearly 20 teams of five people each, our Walk Across the World initiative has gotten off to a quick start – we’ve already made it to Mexico! As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, collectively as a staff we are walking across the world to “visit” some of the 31 countries where we work. We started at our International Office in Richmond,Va., and ventured more than 1,800 miles to our first stop in Mexico.

Team Fabulous Five collected the most miles on the first portion of the trek, logging more than 220 miles in one week. Two other teams also passed the 200-mile mark. To put this mileage figure in perspective, 1,800 miles is also about the same driving distance from San Diego, Calif., to Memphis, Tenn., and from Key West, Fla., to Portland, Maine.

Team Fabulous Five received special recognition from Mexico’s National Director Virginia Vargas for collecting the most miles so far: “I am sure you all enjoyed the journey and had a lot of fun, but more than that, this team effort proves your love for CCF. During your ‘stay’ in Mexico you will find 45,000 children that recognize the hard work all of you do every day in order to have better opportunities in life. Also you will enjoy tacos and enchiladas with the company of Mariachis!”

Christian Children’s Fund has worked in Mexico since 1955. One program highlight there is our Early Childhood Development program to provide education to children age 5 and under. More than 7,000 children are enrolled in this program. More than 180 educators monitor the child's development, train mothers on how to help their child overcome learning delays, make home visits, discuss early child development strategies with parents and coordinate with local governmental ECD programs. Other community volunteers, known as Guide Mothers, also play an important role in helping children’s cognitive learning.

For the next stop in our Walk Across the World journey we continue to head south to Brazil, which is more than 3,500 miles away. How quick will we get there?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

One Death Every 30 Seconds

By David Shanklin, Senior Program Health Specialist

About 1 million children under the age of 5 die each year from a disease that is entirely preventable. An African child dies every 30 seconds from this same disease; nearly a half billion people become ill because of this disease.

What is this disease? Malaria. The cause? The parasitic disease is transmitted to people through infected mosquitoes.

About 40 percent of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, with the most serious area of impact being sub-Saharan Africa. About 90 percent of deaths due to malaria occur in Africa, mostly among young children.

Education is the foundation for prevention, but many vulnerable families do not know how malaria is transmitted or how to prevent or treat it. With World Malaria Day approaching April 25, it’s staggering to know that less than 25 percent of people who need prevention and treatment services actually receive them.

In countries where CCF works and there is a problem with malaria, our staff works with public health services to mobilize families to use insecticide-treated mosquito nets to sleep under, seek prompt treatment of suspicious cases, encourage pregnant women to take anti-malarial medicines and encourage indoor spraying for mosquitoes.

CCF also works with public health officials to ensure that services are available and that there are trained community health workers nearby with medicines to address the problem. While the process can be slow at times, there are signs of great progress in recent years.

For example, in Zambia from 2002 to 2007, two-thirds of all households in that country have benefitted from indoor spraying, about 70 percent of children under the age of 5 sleep under bed nets and more than 66 percent of pregnant women receive one or more doses to prevent the disease.

As World Malaria Day approaches, what can you do to help? Through CCF, mosquito bed nets and other medicines can be purchased on our Web site through our Gifts of Love & Hope catalog at One mosquito bed net can protect a family for up to four years.

Remember, this disease is preventable. A child does not have to die every 30 seconds from malaria.

For more on malaria, click here to view a video of David Shanklin discussing the disease.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

CCF Receives Coveted Four Star Rating

Charity Navigator, America’s premier charity evaluator, recently awarded Christian Children’s Fund its coveted four-star rating for its ability to efficiently manage and grow its finances.

According to Charity Navigator only one-fourth of the charities it reviews receive its highest rating of four stars. In receiving this rating CCF has proven that it executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way.

The unprecedented growth of the non-profit sector is a clear indicator that organizations like CCF must prove they operate under the highest of standards from both a management and fiscal standpoint.

Accountability and transparency are also core indicators to donors and sponsors in determining what non-profit organizations they want to support with their hard earned dollars.

For more information, click here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Give a Chick, Help Children and Families for Years

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

For the price of a few bags of Easter candy, you can change the life of a child in a developing country.

$9 buys a live baby chick for a family in The Gambia. That chick provides eggs to feed the family and the extra eggs are a source of income. For $10, you can purchase a duck for a family in Timor-Leste.

When children grow up in a family that is economically secure they are able to eat nutritious meals that help them grow. They can attend school and develop life skills.

You can buy chicks and ducks and many other animals through Christian Children’s Fund’s Gifts of Love & Hope catalog. The gifts are delivered straight to families in need in the areas we work. Dozens of other items are available, including $6 cough medicine for a child in Honduras and a $5,357 motorcycle for medical emergencies in Bolivia.

When buying a gift, you can select the items in honor of your friends and family. When you do that, we’ll send them personalized gift cards to let them know of your thoughtfulness. It may be a perfect conversation starter for you and your family this weekend.

To purchase a gift from the Gifts of Love & Hope catalog, visit and click on “Gifts of Love & Hope.”

Friday, April 3, 2009

Walk Across the World With Us

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

In many countries around the world, children have to walk miles and miles each day to go to school or to find clean drinking water for their household or to receive adequate health care. They’re not walking for their health – they’re walking because they have no other choice.

At Christian Children’s Fund’s headquarters in Richmond, we often take walking for granted. We ride the elevator down a couple of floors for a meeting instead of taking the steps; we park at the closest spot possible at the office or at the mall; we go home, sit on the couch and watch TV throughout the evening. Well, enough is enough.

Beginning today, we are launching a program called Walk Across the World in which we are walking to several countries where we work. We aren’t literally going out the door and walking there, but we are using pedometers to track the numbers of steps we take each day.

The Walk Across the World initiative involves about a dozen teams with five people each. Walking across the world will be an overall CCF effort, with some friendly competition along the way. Every 2,000 steps will be counted as a mile.

While this is an effort of our newly formed Wellness Committee – Power Up – we also are doing this to stop and visit our program areas around the globe. The first stop is Mexico, which is 1,808 miles from Richmond (according to most crows). How fast will we get there? Check back with us often to find out and to learn more about our work there.

In addition to following our progress here, you can keep tabs on us on Twitter at where we will tag our walking entries with #WorldWalk. Please join us!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ready to Pound the Monument Avenue Pavement

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

We’re ready! Christian Children’s Fund’s 10k team gathered together today for a pasta lunch in preparation for Saturday’s Monument Avenue 10k. We’re all looking forward to representing CCF tomorrow! About two dozen staff members, plus more than a dozen family members, will be taking part in the 10k.

As I have mentioned before, when you see us out there in our CCF T-shirts, don’t think of us as individuals – think of what CCF does for the rest of the world, helping more than 15 million children and family members in 31 countries. We’re all helping deprived, excluded and vulnerable children have the capacity to become young adults, parents and leaders of the next generation who bring lasting and positive change in their communities.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Take the CCF World Water Day Challenge

In the world today, approximately 1.3 billion people (18 percent of the world’s population) lack access to safe drinking water. Others don’t have enough water to bathe or even wash their hands.

And every day, almost 10,000 children under the age of five die as a result of water-related illnesses.

Every day, an American family uses an average of 80 gallons of water. To put that number in perspective, one load of laundry uses almost 35 gallons of water.

In Africa, the average family only uses 5 gallons of water a day. That one load of laundry cycled by the American family is more than that same family in Africa consumes in one week.

CCF recognizes that clean, safe water is essential to the health and development of children, and to every family’s ability to be self-sustaining.

A few of our programs include:

  • Water wells in Zambia, Sierra Leone, the Gambia, Sri Lanka and Angola
  • Latrines for schools in Sri Lanka
  • Crop irrigation systems in India
  • Water reservoirs in Brazil and Ecuador
  • Training and education on water sanitation and hygiene in Honduras, India, Ecuador and the Philippines

But on March 22, in honor of World Water Day 2009, we at CCF want to see how well you can complete our World Water Day Challenge. That means for one day, Sunday, March 22, we’re asking you to reduce your water usage from the average 80 gallons to only 5 gallons for the entire day.

To help you along, here are a few statistics on water usage for every day tasks that most of us may take for granted.*

  • Flush a Toilet: Between 1.5 and 3 gallons for each flush.
  • Take a Shower: 3.5 gallons every minute.
  • Use a Dishwasher: Between 6 and 11 gallons.
  • Brush Your Teeth: 2 gallons.
  • Cook a Quarter Pound of Hamburger: 1 gallon.

    *All statistics are according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Try it out and tell us how you did. What was the hardest challenge you faced in keeping your water usage to 5 gallons of water for one day? What have you learned in trying the CCF World Water Day Challenge?

Leave your comments below!

We’re all communicators

As a follow-up to our previous post on our Global Communications Workshop, we had one more participant offer her thoughts on the workshop … and this crazy Richmond weather.

Tenagne Mekonnen, Africa Region
Being from perfect climate in Ethiopia I am not used to extreme temperatures. So I was like a fish out of water when it snowed on my second day I was in the USA. I had the privilege of playing in the snow for the first time in my life!

As always, I enjoy working in CCF believing that I make a contribution to the children we serve in the organization. Communication helps us to belong to a society and benefit by such relationships. When our works and efforts are communicated very well with the quality, focus and detail, the happenings taking place in the organization will be cherished and create ownership.

Our communication focuses on healthy and secure infants, educated and confident children and skilled and involved youth. This will for sure indicate our direction and will enhance confidence of our stakeholders whose support has been consistent and life changing. The workshop strengthened my belief in how much communication will mean internally and externally.

The workshop through the week helped to learn, share and suggest in how to streamline the common mission and vision at all levels of the organization. We are all communicators! What shall we do then? Let us share what we have so that voices of our children and youth will be expressed.

Focusing on increasing the quality of programs, we then will educate and inform how we can bring change on deprived, excluded and vulnerable children. The workshop highlighted how as an organization we can share our self to the right persons at the right time and through the right channels to stakeholders, staff, communities and children.

Not only did the USA receive me in snow, but it also is sending me back home with rain and chilly weather!

For more information on where CCF works, click here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The World Comes to Richmond

While most Americans were adjusting to an hour’s time difference this week due to daylight saving time, six of Christian Children’s Fund’s employees were hard at work adjusting to time differences of up to 12 hours.

This week our International Communications department held a Global Communications Workshop to help align our plans and strategies. Our discussions included social networking (and this particular blog). The group also had a chance to visit the VCU Brandcenter and the newsroom of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

As part of the work this week we asked for volunteers to blog about their week in the United States. Here’s what two of them had to say.

Adriana Villarreal Bernal, Mexico
"All men by nature desire to know." – Aristotle

The eternal need of knowing, or learning, of being informed is a constant of mankind. Information is power. Power that can help others … especially for children by enabling them to take control of their lives and to command their future.

We are taught that the process of communicating has components a receptor, a transmitter and a message, but a visit to a newsroom of a newspaper opened my eyes and I perfectly understood the stressful part of communicating – the urgency of the best story, with the best picture to transmit the message, and let it flow and satisfy the need of both the receptor and the transmitter.

But when you are communicating with the final purpose of helping deprived, excluded and vulnerable children to have the capacity to improve their lives and the opportunity to become young adults who bring lasting and positive change to their communities, then communication acquires new dimensions.

We have the responsibility of finding the best communications tools and contents in order to let others know how they may help.

Some messages may be that important and others may just have importance for the transmitter; for example today I want to share with you that this morning I saw snow for the first time in my life.

Tobias Chomba, Zambia
Visiting CCF's International Headquarters in Richmond is one thing that I have looked forward to. I always thought the visit would give me an opportunity to meet several International Office staff that I have interacted with in my work at Christian Children’s Fund Zambia. And, of course, enable me step foot in the USA for the first time. My dreams came true when I was invited to be part of the Global Communications Workshop that included other international participants from Asia, the Americas and African regions of CCF.

Working for CCF Zambia as a sponsor relations and communications manager has enabled me to interact and engage with various CCF stakeholders such as children, communities, sponsors, donors and staff at different levels across CCF worldwide. My eight years of work with CCF has been focused on supporting children and sponsors to achieve mutually rewarding relationships and that the achievements are demonstrated on how CCF sponsorship supports vital program activities to make a difference in the lives of deprived, excluded and vulnerable children.

The Global Communications Workshop started with introductions among participants. The group of participants was reasonably small, but representative of CCF’s worldwide communication experts. The objectives of the workshop were to have a communication strategic reflection on our role and how we can build and strengthen quality information dissemination of our work to sponsors and donors. A thorough review of our global strategy was done and various discussions were held on the role communication will play in achieving the three core outcomes. The core outcomes are healthy and secure infants; educated and confident children; and skilled and involved youth.

The coming together tightened the loose nuts between the international, regional and national offices. Being part of this process is a big milestone in my CCF work history. It really has afforded me a chance to put forth the National Office’s perspective that will engender our active participation in our context while contributing to the global goal. I can see space for creativity and innovation development. This is a great achievement in my lifetime work in communication in CCF.

We restated our commitment to being authentic, empowering children through innovative leadership to become leaders of enduring change. From the field perspective, we learned a lot on targeted communications, social media and opportunities for innovations. We, at the same time, gave feedback to strengthen our work.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Little Bit Can Go a Long Way

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

$10 … should I buy 10 songs from iTunes or a duck that can provide food to a family in Timor-Leste? As more and more Americans receive their tax refunds in the next several weeks, this is a legitimate question we should ask ourselves.

In writing a recent news release about tax refunds and breaking it down by the numbers, I realized that it doesn’t take much to make a big difference in the life of a child where Christian Children’s Fund works. In these tight economic times, more and more people are watching every penny spent, but we should not forget about the children less fortunate than us around the world.

The average American will receive more than a $2,000 tax refund this year. While this can certainly help pay off some bills or even catch up on some debt, did you know that it costs just $288 to sponsor one child for one year through CCF? Besides sponsorship, there also are several other ways to help deprived, excluded and vulnerable children in the 31 countries CCF works. $6 can buy cough medicine for a child in Honduras; $10 can buy a duck for a family in Timor-Leste; $14 can provide an art kit for a child in Angola; and $36 can purchase a goat for a family in Zambia. Hundreds of gifts are available up to $5,300 apiece.

The statement of a little bit goes a long way certainly applies when talking about children living in poverty.

For more on this subject, click here to check out our latest news release. For more information on CCF, visit (We’re on Twitter too at

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monument Avenue 10k is a team effort

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

As we’ve mentioned a couple of times on this blog, about 20 percent of Christian Children’s Fund’s Richmond-based staff is participating in the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k on March 28. As the organizer of this team, it has been great to see the enthusiasm around this race. As a runner of many races, I often look at running as an individual thing, but in the past couple of months I have once again been reminded that running and walking in an event such as this is very much a team sport.

That being said, I’d like to share a couple of personal stories from CCF staff who are participating in the 10k.

Michelle Bray, accountant
Though I had heard of and have had co-workers who participated in the 10k in previous years, I was never motivated to participate myself. However, in 2009 I pledged that I would challenge myself to do new and greater things. To try things I’ve never done before and accomplish goals that I had previously thought was unattainable. The 10k is the perfect opportunity for me, as I have never participated in anything in this capacity.

Personally, weight has been a constant struggle in my life, once weighing 252 pounds. I lost more than 100 pounds some years ago, but I must admit it is still hard to maintain; obesity is a disease in its own. So not only do I have weight to contend with, but cancer runs in my family. The training has been keeping me on task and making me feel my best.

Lastly, while making it to the finish line will be a new accomplishment for me, making it to the finish line with my CCF family will be an even greater joy, as we are all aspiring to make a difference, as well as have a healthier future for years to come.

Stephanie Brummell, web content specialist
I wouldn’t call myself a gym rat. I wouldn’t call myself a couch potato. Sure, I enjoy spinning, body pump and yoga. But I also indulge in lazy Sundays, greasy Chinese food and ice cream.

Back in December, I began talking with a co-worker at CCF about how to overcome my frustration with how much time I was putting in at the gym and how I was not seeing a decrease in numbers on the scale.

Perhaps it had something to do with the Chinese food?

That’s when he brought up the Monument Avenue 10k. He talked about the camaraderie; the adrenaline rush of finishing your first race; the pride you feel after running a distance you never thought possible. I decided then and there to hop back on the weight loss saddle, but this time I would make my journey about something other than the scale. On Dec. 26, the first day registration opened, I signed up to run as a novice in the 10k.

I told friends and family about my training. I watched with excitement as others at CCF signed up to run or walk the race. In February, I started taking the stairs up to my cubical on the fifth floor of CCF’s building.

I’ll never forget the first Saturday morning I ran a mile with my Richmond SportsBackers YMCA 10k training team. That one mile was the hardest I’ve ever done in my life. But now, and to my surprise, I’m running 4 miles multiple times a week. I’ve lost 8 pounds in the process and with about a month left to train, I’m feeling confident and motivated; excited, but anxious – especially for this weather to perk up!

Training for the Monument Avenue 10k has changed my life. I make time for workouts no matter what and I’m more focused than ever before. And being part of CCF’s 10k team has helped me get to know my co-workers a little bit better too. And the best part is, thanks to my training schedule, I’ve been able to hold tight to my beloved lazy Sundays.

And lastly, a little about myself and this 10k.

I began running five years ago to lose weight for my wedding. Well, 40 pounds later and several races later, I’m still running and couldn’t be happier. I’ve had some ups and downs with race times, weight and injuries, but I have no plans to stop. Last year in my first Monument Avenue 10k, I raised hundreds of dollars for the VCU Massey Cancer center; this year I’m planning the same.

Helping bring together a CCF team has been rewarding in many ways. From fighting cancer to being a part of the Richmond community to having speed goals, everyone has their reasons for taking part in this event. It’s great to get know my co-workers on another level and I’m looking forward to representing CCF that day. While some people are walking and some are running, be on the lookout for us in our CCF T-shirts that day. When you see one of those T-shirts, don’t think of us as individuals – think of us as a team and what CCF does for the rest of the world, helping more than 15 million children and family members in 31 countries.

For more information on the 10k, visit; for more information on CCF visit

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Closer Look at India

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

With the recent box office success and Oscar winnings of the movie “Slumdog Millionaire,” there’s a lot of attention on India these days.

The movie focuses on a Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums and becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is suspected of cheating, however. While being interrogated, events from his life are shown that explain why he knows the answers.

The story of “Slumdog Millionaire” reveals only a small portion of how poverty impacts that country. At least 300 million people in India live below the poverty line, with children accounting for nearly one-third of this group.

Christian Children’s Fund has been working in India for more than five decades, currently assisting more than 600,000 children and family members. CCF’s programs in India include education, early childhood development, sustainable livelihoods and health and nutrition.

In recent years, CCF, with support from the government, launched a Reading Skills Improvement program to enhance the reading abilities of students in rural areas. CCF India has assisted more than 18,000 children from 900 government schools in India through this program.

CCF also had a major role in India’s recovery following the 2004 tsunami. CCF India constructed 12 new schools in Balwadis in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts for the government following the devastation. In some cases the new buildings were constructed on higher ground to avoid being damaged by future disasters.

For more information on our programs in India, click here to visit India’s page on our Web site.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Read All About Our CEO in Boomer Life

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

“When she gets around the children, the light comes on.” This is what Christian Children’s Fund Board Chairman Charles Caravati says about CCF President and CEO Anne Goddard in the latest edition of Richmond’s Boomer Life magazine.

Goddard is featured in the February/March 2009 edition, along with three other Richmond women who hold top positions in their fields. The article details her career path to Richmond and CCF.

“If you could do anything for an hour, you can do it for a day. And if you can do if for a day, you can do it for a week, for a month, for a year,” Goddard tells the magazine about her work with non-government organizations.

Boomer Life is available free throughout Richmond, including at Ukrop’s, Kroger, CVS, Wawa, Blockbuster and various shopping centers.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Our 10k Goals

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

From supporting cancer research to being a part of the community to simply being healthy, about 20 percent of Christian Children’s Fund staff has signed up to run or walk the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k in Richmond on March 28.

The Monument Avenue 10k is one of the largest road races in the country and we’re eager to hit the pavement for those 6.2 miles. Last year the 10k had more than 35,000 entries and according to the Richmond Sports Backers, signups are at record pace this year with maximum entries once again at 35,000. Here’s a look at what some of our staff has to say about taking part in this event.

Betty Baatz, marketing administrative assistant
“I’m not a runner or sports type, but have been involved in dance and fitness since I was young. I had participated in a four-mile walk/run in St. Louis in the past, but this will be my first participation in a 10k. I’m looking forward to being part of a team in supporting our organization, CCF! Even though I’m fairly fit for my age, I’m sure I’ll be a little sore after the 10k.”

Jeanette Duncan, data administrator
“The purpose of the 10k is to raise money for the VCU Massey Cancer Center, and I have a grandmother with three types of cancer. I have also lost several close friends due to cancer. I would like to honor them by walking in this. Also, I have lost a total of 87 pounds, and I would like to lose 13 more. Walking every day will help me achieve my goals and keep me motivated.”

Dawn Durrett, staff accountant
“For me it is nice to know that not only are you doing something to benefit yourself you are benefiting an unlimited amount of others as they work on cancer research. Every year as I get to the sixth mile and see all of the others who have finished before me sticking around to cheer for me makes me emotional. It is nice to see that in this hectic world that we live in others can come together on one day for a cause we all need to fight.”

Jessi Hanson, education associate
“I like running as a hobby, not only because it is a great way to stay in shape but also because it offers 30 minutes to an hour a day of just ‘me’ time: time to reflect, breath, and get re-centered. I used to be a middle school long distance coach, and I loved getting kids to develop a passion for running for fun. It is my first time doing a 10k on the East Coast, so I am very excited to get to run in Richmond and represent CCF!”

Melissa P. Joseph, Grants Compliance coordinator
“This is my first time to do the 10k and I will be walking. My New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and be healthier so I figure this was a perfect opportunity to do just that. My goal is to get through the walk in an hour and half and feel good doing it. I am walking now to prepare so that I won’t be exhausted half way through.”

Shakita Macklin, Financial Systems analyst
“This is my first year participating in the 10k. Even though I have never walked nor ran a race of this magnitude, I did not hesitate to sign up. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions but instead take the time to think of ways to better myself in the upcoming year. During this self-evaluation, I decided to become more active and pay closer attention to the foods I consume. The 10k was a perfect way for me to stay focused on this personal goal as well as walk for a good cause. Several members of my family have battled cancer, so I’m walking in honor of them.”

Sean Mullins, Child Sponsorhip
“This will be my fifth year taking part in the 10k. Five years ago, a friend of mine came to me at the last minute since the guitar player in his band had gotten ill and asked me to fill in the next morning at the 10k. I went out there and played the same seven songs over and over as people ran by. While I had a great time playing, I had an even better time people watching and my wife loved all the people that were dressed up. We have done it every year since then as a way to kick off spring time and to start getting in better shape for summer.”

Diane Willis, vice president of Global Human Resource
“I'm planning to walk because it's a community activity that brings people together, and because I find walking very relaxing. Not to mention the health benefits. My goal is to spend time enjoying the (hopefully) spring sunshine and to reach the end without aches, pains or blisters.”

For more information on the 10k, visit the Richmond Sports Backers Web site here. For more information CCF, click here to visit our Web site, here to follow us on Twitter and here to become a fan on Facebook.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Children's Champion Comes to CCF

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist
(updated Feb. 11 with video link)

You may know him for his wrestling fame, but Mick Foley wants everyone to know his story as a Champion for Children. Mick – now an executive shareholder in the newly formed Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling on Spike TV – has been involved with Christian Children's Fund since 1992, donating more than $290,000 for early childhood development centers and health clinics in the Philippines and Mexico, and for new schools in war-torn Sierra Leone. He also sponsors seven children through CCF.

Mick dropped by CCF today on his way to a TNA wrestling event in Charlottesville where he is scheduled to make an appearance. He had a chance to catch up with CCF staff and had an exclusive interview with CBS 6. (Click here to view the story. Thanks to CBS 6 for the clip.)

“I want people to stop me because they know I’m a Christian Children’s Fund sponsor,” Mick says.

Mick recently visited Sierra Leone, where his name adorns a newly built school.

“It’s about letting children with very little in their lives, through no fault of their own, know that someone out there cares,” he says of his involvement with CCF.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Richmonder Takes the Reigns as Board Chairman

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

Charles Caravati Jr., a Richmond resident and graduate of the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine, became Christian Children’s Fund’s Board of Directors chairman this week. He has been on CCF’s board since 2002.

CCF’s Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting at Richmond’s Henrico County headquarters on Emerywood Parkway off Broad Street.

For more on this and details on a new CCF board member, check out our latest news release here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

We Just Feel Like Running (and walking)

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

Every year when spring rolls around, thousands upon thousands of runners and walkers hit Monument Avenue in Richmond with the same goal – to complete 6.2 miles on one of the city’s most famous streets.

This year, Christian Children’s Fund staff in Richmond will be well represented at the 10th Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k. To date, we have more than 10 percent of our staff registered, with more signing up every day.

Our newly formed wellness committee – POWER UP! – will have a special recognition for those taking part – but SHHH! It’s a secret right now what they’re doing.

Continue to check this blog as we have various training updates leading up to the race, which is March 28. For details on the 10k, click here to visit the Richmond Sports Backers Web site. If you have any training advice for us, please leave a comment below!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This Little Piggy …

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

Some pigs go to market, some pigs stay home … but in Uganda, some pigs are changing the life of one woman and her family.

Thanks to Christian Children’s Fund livelihood programs, Milly’s life has changed for the better following the death of her husband in 2003. When he died she was unemployed and left with eight children to raise.

A year after her husband’s death, a meeting was held in her Ugandan village to tell residents that CCF was looking for people to train in farming. CCF Uganda staff visited the village soon after the meeting to register people in the program.

“We were immediately enrolled for a one-week course on gardening and farming,” Milly said. “Before the training, I used to rear a few pigs at home. I would tied them on a rope and take them to the garden to feed. Now I have given them shelter because I am equipped with knowledge on how to look after them in the right way.”

At the end of the training, CCF gave Milly a pair of piglets – male and female – to help her start a piggery business. Today she is an accomplished community piggery farmer, and she has started other income-generating activities such as poultry and banana farming. And because of this business, she is able to afford to send her children to school. Her children also participate in the family business.

“My first born is now studying at a university,” Milly says.

To read more about Milly’s story, click here to read CCF’s latest news release.

Monday, January 12, 2009

CCF Among Groups Stressing Gender Integration

By David Hylton, Public Relations Specialist

Over the past several months, Christian Children’s Fund has been engaged in increasing U.S. foreign aid. Earlier this month, CCF Washington Office Director Laura Henderson joined a group of 25 nonprofit organizations that met with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team to discuss the importance of gender integration in U.S. foreign assistance.

Laura was one of several people who spoke at the meeting Jan. 8. She discussed the difficulties in carrying out gender integration in projects in the field without the full commitment from USAID and other development agencies from the level of the USAID administrator to the level of technical officers.

The meeting took place in response to a Dec. 16 letter on the importance of gender integration in U.S. foreign assistance that Women Thrive Worldwide drafted and CCF and 40 other organizations signed.

To read more about the meeting with Obama’s transition team, click here.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Henrico Doctor’s and CCF Maintain the Spirit of Giving

By Stephanie Brummell, Interactive Content Specialist for CCF

The holidays may be over with the start of the New Year, but that didn’t stop Henrico Doctor’s Hospital from making one last drop off at Christian Children’s Fund.

The mitten tree, which began only 7 years ago, has turned into an annual event for both patients and staff at Henrico Doctor’s.

“We started doing it because we had so many patients who would bring us holiday gifts and food,”said Bonita Jones, registered nurse in cardiopulmonary rehab. “So instead, we wanted to encourage them to give back to their community through a mitten tree.”

Each holiday season, beginning as early as the day after Thanksgiving, patients at Henrico Doctor’s begin inquiring about the tree. And every year, dozens of mittens, scarves, hats and even a few blankets are brought to the rehab facility in hopes of helping others less fortunate warm up during the winter months.

After the mittens were hung on the tree with care, the staff at Henrico Doctor’s counted a total of 197 warm items for donation. A portion of these items went to the Girl Scouts and the rest, about 150 items, came to CCF.

“We love working with CCF because we know that our donation will go to children in need,” said Jones.

“One year CCF sent them to the Afghanistan and one of your employees went there to help establish a school and came back with pictures of all the children with their hands up in the air covered with our gloves. Those pictures were worth a million words.”

This year, CCF will be sending the donation to the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

The CCF and Henrico Doctor’s connection came in the form of patient care when a former CCF employee had Jones as a nurse.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What Can You Do to Help?

By Anne Goddard, CCF president and CEO

The news that each of us hears each day is not good – the world’s economy is struggling like never before. Although it might be easy to focus our thoughts on any ramifications for us personally, it might help to think of our personal story within the larger one, which is something that we at Christian Children’s Fund do regularly.

Childhood is a one-time opportunity. Many of the world’s deprived, excluded and vulnerable children don’t have televisions to watch or the literacy skills to read a newspaper. To them, the world’s recession is not a new story – they have heard about and lived tough times their whole lives. And if we let their lives get tougher in any way, their one-time opportunity for a healthy childhood is gone forever.

As you think about your own personal resolutions for this year, please add the world’s children on your list. Think about anything you can do within your own world to help others in need around the world.