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 http://twitter.com/ChildFund 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 successful-blog.com, 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.”