Recent Posts By Lindsey Talerico-Hedren

What you've taught us in the first year

One year ago this week, the World Vision Blog was officially launched -- and with it came a new way to share stories and reflections of our global work, while creating a forum for conversations with you, the supporters who make it all possible.

Ask an aid worker about Haiti

There are few disaster response efforts that have received the level of public scrutiny that has been focused on the international response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake. As a result of the earthquake relief response in Haiti, it's likely that most Americans have formed their own opinions about humanitarian aid. Questions like these and their answers (or lack of answers) influence our understanding and opinion of aid work:

Did my donation really help? Why hasn't anything been accomplished there? I watched one news channel that looks like everything is progressing quite well, and another that shows everything is in complete disarray. What's the truth? What's really happening? Two years seems like enough time to make some progress. Is the aid effort failing? Are dollars being wasted? Or is everything much better off than the news is telling us?

Most of us don't get to meet real humanitarian workers in the course of our everyday lives, so we don't have the opportunity to ask questions like this to front-line professionals. Therefore, consider this post your "open mic" chance.

Continuing with our expert interview series, in which you have the opportunity to ask your questions to aid professionals, I'd like to introduce you to Jeff Wright and Elizabeth (Liz) Ranade-Janis, aid workers on World Vision's humanitarian and emergency affairs team. Ask an aid worker about Haiti | World Vision blogJeff and Liz were both deployed to Haiti following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck on January 12, 2010 -- two years ago next week -- to work alongside World Vision field staff to help implement the initial stages of our relief programs, including shelter, economic recovery, child protection, healthcare, cholera prevention, water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Holiday gift guide: 30 meaningful gifts under $50

Does your holiday shopping list look anything like this?

iPad 2: $499. Kindle Fire: $199. UGG boots: $150. Long lines. Busy parking lots. Good finds for $30 are now good finds for $50 -- and it's really a bargain if your $300 gift is reduced to $200 in a Black Friday sale.

If this sounds familiar, you can save your anxiety and checkbook this year by giving a gift whose impact will last much longer than the latest version of that electronic device. Celebrate the true spirit of Christmas this year with a gift that can change lives. Use this as your guide to some meaningful (and inexpensive) holiday gifts from World Vision's partners, our Gift Catalog, our U.S. programs team, and our Maximum Impact items!

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$35 per month: Sponsoring a child is the best Christmas gift you can give. World Vision sponsors help provide children with the basic building blocks for a better life: clean water, nutritious food, healthcare, education, economic development, and more. And child sponsorship provides such benefits not just for the sponsored child, but his or her family and community as well.

$25: Help fund a small loan for a hardworking entrepreneur who lives in poverty. One in every five people in the world lives on less than $1.25 a day. But through World Vision Micro, you can give a small business owner the help he or she needs to escape this cycle of despair. And when the loan is repaid, it's recycled to help even more entrepreneurs in need!

Starting at $24: Shop GIVEN, the new apparel line for men and women, inspired by World Vision. And today through Sunday, get FREE shipping on all orders! (Use code "THANKSGIVING" at checkout.)

GIVEAWAY: Win a new t-shirt from GIVEN, inspired by World Vision!

Our Bolivia bloggers team is having a little fun this week. We're giving our readers the chance to win a brand-new t-shirt from GIVEN, the new clothing line inspired by World Vision.

The GIVEN apparel line was founded on this belief: Our capacity to GIVE is directly related to our acceptance of what Jesus has first GIVEN us. When we fully embrace this concept and fully realize that all we have has first been GIVEN to us, our passion for GIVING to others grows. No matter what your job is, no matter what your talent is, there is a place for you to serve and to GIVE to others.

Here's what you need to do to win:

How does what's been GIVEN to you inspire you to GIVE to others?

1. Write out your short answer and leave it in our comments section.

2. Then, "like" this post on Facebook.

3. Tweet it out, too.

4. Ask your friends the same question we've asked you. The more people you get to participate (make sure they include your name in their comment), the greater chance you have to win!

Giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. PST on Sunday, November 20, 2011. One lucky winner will be chosen at random and will receive a gift code good for one t-shirt of the winner's choice from GIVEN. The winner will be notified by email, so please include your email address when you submit your comment. Good luck!

For more chances to win GIVEN t-shirts from our Bolivia bloggers team, check out blogs from Joy, Matthew, Jana and Deb.

Where should American Christians stand on foreign aid?

As an American Christian, I like to think I do a fair job caring for the world's poor -- those in my own neighborhood and those around the world who have greater financial need than I do. After all, Americans pride themselves on generosity. And Christians desire to be known for their service to others.

However, recent news (polls, studies, and political campaigns) suggest otherwise. How do we reconcile this?

FWD the facts: Day of Action for the Horn of Africa

There are many goals we have for the future that help define our work as an organization: reducing global poverty, ending preventable child deaths, eradicating malaria, and so on.

But just for today, we have another goal: to inspire 13.3 million Americans to FWD the facts about the drought and food crisis in the Horn of Africa, spreading awareness to ensure that the tragedy no longer goes overlooked.

In partnership with USAID and the FWD (Famine, War, Drought Relief) campaign, World Vision is asking supporters to participate in today's FWD>Day of Action for the Horn of Africa.

How? It's as simple as this: FWD the facts.

What our nation’s top leaders have to say – My notes from the FWD campaign live stream

Yesterday I tuned in to the official launch of the FWD (Famine. War. Drought.) campaign following the White House live streamed video web chat. As a representative of World Vision but also as a private citizen, I was interested in what some of our nation’s top officials had to say about the U.S. response to some of the greatest crises yet in the 21st century.

I captured some highlights from the discussion to share with you, and have noted the minute mark for many of the questions asked. This is not an exact transcription, but a paraphrased overview.

The state of play in the Horn of Africa: -- Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the National Security Council

The people in the region are experiencing the worst drought in 60 years. That means that farmers have very little to fall back on. People are literally dying as we speak. Without assistance, they will in fact die.

The importance of acting now:, Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator

There are 13 million people who are in need of humanitarian assistance in the Horn of Africa. Already more than 30,000 children have lost their lives from starvation or the consequences of severe malnutrition and the disease that accompanies it. The UN estimates that number could grow to 750,000 over the course of the next six months.

Now is the time to act. This is also a moment to acknowledge that when we do these actions, it is an expression of American values. The more Americans that can engage in the response, the better off we will all be in saving lives today and putting in place the systems that can help prevent these tragedies in the future.

French first baby already a winner in the geographic lottery

Maybe you're like me: You have a sudden feeling of joy every time you hear of a baby being born, or a newly announced pregnant mother-to-be. Two months ago, I sat in the hospital, awaiting the birth of my new nephew, ready to hear the sweet melody of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" that's played each time a baby is born.

It's the same feeling of joy I had earlier this week, hearing the announcement of the birth of the daughter of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. I recall when we heard the wonderful news in May that the Sarkozys were expecting -- around the same time G8 leaders gathered in France to discuss issues of economic and global development.

At the time, my colleague, Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz, was in France, representing World Vision at the G8 Summit. While there, she hand-delivered a baby gift basket intended for the French first lady. The basket included everyday items readily available to women in Western European or North American pharmacies and grocery stores -- such as hygiene supplies, safe birthing kits, and nutritious foods -- that are often inaccessible to pregnant women living in poverty in developing countries.

In a press release yesterday from my colleagues, World Vision congratulates the Sarkozys on the newest addition to their family.

Ask an expert about food aid

When I was a little kid, my sister (who never ate her vegetables) used to wish aloud at the dinner table that she could send her broccoli to Africa, where the kids really need it.

At the time, I liked to think of myself as not quite so naive -- I knew we couldn't literally send our vegetables to Africa. It would taste really bad by the time it got there.

Yes, shipping leftovers probably isn't a best practice in terms of humanitarian food aid. But what about food security? And malnutrition prevention and mitigation? And ready-to-use therapeutic food?

Asking questions like these is absolutely essential in better understanding the complexities of humanitarian work. It's also why we're continuing with our expert interview series -- in which you have the opportunity to ask your questions to aid professionals. Our first post on this topic was "Ask an aid worker about the Horn of Africa" with World Vision's Betsy Baldwin. In this second installment, I'd like to introduce you to Paul Macek.

Train. Pray. Run. (6 questions with a 100-mile runner)

Superman can defy gravity. Captain America has superhuman speed and endurance. Spider-Man can scale walls. For practically every law of nature, there is a superhero who can break that natural law.

Michael Chitwood is one of those guys. Where no single person in their human physical condition should be able to do what he is about to do, Chitwood and three others are going to do just that. They're going to run 100 miles in 21 straight hours -- 74 miles through the night starting this afternoon, October 8, and then they will join 1,000 Team World Vision teammates for the final 26.2 miles of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

When Michael first told me he was running 100 miles, I, of course, didn't believe him. One hundred miles in and of itself sounds humanly impossible. And doing any sort of physical activity for 21 straight hours -- well, I don't think most of us could even sleep for that amount of time. So you can understand my fascination with understanding why this team is going to such great lengths (literally). I recently chatted with Michael to get the 411 on his longest race yet.

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Lindsey (L): Okay, I have to ask…are you crazy for running 100 miles?!!

Michael (M): You know, I've been getting asked that question a lot lately. Really, I've been asked that question a lot since I ran my first marathon in 2003. Some people thought I was crazy to run a marathon, because I had never run and was pretty overweight at the time -- 265 pounds. Then, when I did my first Ironman Triathlon, some of my friends thought I was crazy. Then, last year, I did my first ultramarathon, a 56-mile run in South Africa…my friends said I was crazy. But for the first time in eight years, and after running all of these events, I have to admit…this one, running 100 miles, it's maybe just a little crazy.

Ask an aid worker about the Horn of Africa

Ask an aid worker | World Vision blogUpdate: read the follow-up post: An aid worker’s answers about the Horn of Africa

Want to know more about managing household finance? Talk to Suze Ormann. Health advice? Watch Dr. Oz. General wisdom? Google, of course.

But what about those disasters all over the news? It looks like a lot is going on.... or not? Who should you ask to find out about the issues in a big disaster response, like the current drought and famine in the Horn of Africa?

You ask an aid worker. Why? Because they're out in the disaster zone talking to survivors and assessing needs, determining the scale and involvement of response, identifying funding sources for assistance plans, writing proposals communicating with donors about needs and planned projects, and getting the projects started.

In an effort for all of us to better understand the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, we're gleaning from the inspiration of Rachel Held Evans interview series, "Ask a ____" and starting our own "ask" series. In this post, I'd like to introduce you to Betsy Baldwin -- disaster response expert.

Bolivia in 100 words

Before you read this, let me just say that 100 words does not do this post justice. Just 100 words will barely begin to describe the beauty of Bolivia and the warmth of its people. Just 100 words isn't enough.

But please, please take these 100 words to heart. Understand they represent a fraction of a deeper story we're desperate to tell -- a story about survival and faith, sacrifice and family, difference and commonality. I hope these 100 words paint for you a picture as vivid as the memories in our minds, and as resilient as the love in our hearts.

This list was created out of the words from and expressions of the families and individuals we met, those who translated for us all week, and our own feelings. It is a combination of words that describe Bolivia -- the country, the people, the experience, the food, the faces, and the moments we'll never forget.

Love,

The Bolivia bloggers team


100. Breath-taking

99. Colorful

98. Rich (in love and family). I asked one of our translators before we left if Bolivians considered their country poor or in poverty. She said to me, "Well, that depends on what you mean by the word poverty. Bolivia is rich in culture, love and family. By those measures, we are not poor at all." Amen.

[Bolivia bloggers] A dozen unforgettable moments

I saw this tweet from Rachel Held Evans yesterday morning: “Been back from Bolivia for a week now, and I'm just now unpacking. Anyone else out there an unpacker-slacker?" I'm the worst kind of unpacker... I let the task of unpacking intimidate me in a really silly way.

I also think there's something sort of nostalgic about an unpacked suitcase -- it brings back memories of where you've just returned from. In this case, it brings back bittersweet memories of the seven days I spent in Bolivia with some of the most insightful and endearing people I'll ever know -- Elizabeth, Andrea, Joy, Nish, Matthew, Carla, Rachel, Amy, Michael, Jana and Deb -- and all of the moments we experienced together. Moments that have changed our hearts forever.

Now, each time I look at the photos, read the blog posts, or trip over my unpacked suitcase in the morning, every moment and every child’s face floods back into my memory and fills my heart with more love and joy than I sometimes know how to process. Those are the moments I never, ever want to forget.

Home for one week and still unpacking our bags, these are our unforgettable moments from our time in Bolivia. We hope pieces of our experiences bless you as they've blessed us.


Elizabeth Esther, ElizabethEsther.com

Meeting the special needs kids in Colomi ADP touched my heart in such a deep way. The parents’ unflagging dedication in spite of insurmountable odds truly inspired me to be a better parent myself. It was amazing to see the value World Vision places on each individual child—especially those with special needs. It was a great honor to join this trip. Thank you, World Vision.

Andrea Rodriguez, trip host, communications officer at the World Vision Bolivia National Office

The moment Arturo, a child at the Colomi special needs center, got his hearing device, his eyes became like the Sora Sora lake with the sunset – bright and beautiful – a moment I’ll never forget.

International Youth Day: 6 youth changing our world

Change our world -- that's this year's International Youth Day theme. It seems more than appropriate in a year of ongoing economic struggle, debt ceilings, radiation leaks and famines. And there are issues of injustice that fail to make headlines but distress so many people -- child abuse, abduction and trafficking, school drop-outs because of forced labor or need for income, neglect of children and youth, and an apparent lack of youth voice.

But there are youth out there advocating against such injustices, making real differences in their communities, and changing our world for good. This post is a reminder, on International Youth Day, that youth are to believed in because through them, great things are possible.

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. -1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

[Bolivia bloggers] A picture is worth a thousand words. A smile is worth a million.

If a picture is worth a thousand words... then a smile like this is worth a million. We met this sweet little girl in Viloma ADP at the grand opening of a new school built by World Vision. It is smiles like this from the children we have laughed with and cried with this week that are permanently printed on our hearts forever. Read more posts from the Bolivia bloggers team.

Thank you, Lisa Leonard [photo album]

So you know we’re in Bolivia. You know we’re blogging. You know we’re meeting sponsored children. You know we’re hoping you also make the decision to sponsor a child in Bolivia.

Here’s something you should also know: The first 150 people who sponsor a child in Bolivia through our blogs this week will also get a special “Bolivia bloggers” edition necklace thanks to our sweet and talented friend Lisa Leonard. Lisa’s handmade jewelry design company donated these to our trip to support our team and child sponsorship in Bolivia. (Of course, we wish you were here with us, Lisa!)

And when you sponsor a child in Bolivia and get this necklace, know that someone special in a World Vision community in Bolivia is wearing the necklace, too -- maybe a necklace is around the neck of one of these beautiful people we've met on our trip.

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Sponsor a child in Bolivia

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[Bolivia bloggers] Day 3: Meeting sponsored children + vlog

Ever wondered whether or not the child in the photo you received in your sponsorship welcome packet is really a real child? No need to be curious anymore, we've got proof!

Yesterday was one of the sweetest days I've ever experienced. Our first day in a World Vision area development program (ADP), we knew we would be exposed to so much of the work World Vision is doing there. And at the top of that list? Meeting sponsored children.

More posts from Elizabeth, Matthew, Deb, Nish, and I on "meeting our sponsored children" soon... And don't miss our vlog from Erika and Andrea at the bottom of this post!

[caption id="attachment_6948" align="aligncenter" width="375" caption="Elizabeth Esther meets her sponsored child Jhoel for the first time. ©2011 Amy Conner for World Vision""]Day 3: meeting sponsored children | World Vision Blog[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_6949" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Elizabeth with her sponsored children Jhoel and Adalid. ©2011 Amy Conner for World Vision""]Day 3 | Bolivia Bloggers[/caption]

[Bolivia bloggers] Day 1: 3 airports down, 2 to go...

My morning started at 3:50 am, that's the time my first alarm went off. Three alarms later, I rushed to get up, panicking, thinking I was already late for my first flight. I quickly showered, finished throwing in last minute items into the suitcase, grabbed a bottle of water, then I was out the door.

By 6:30 am, I was through the long, dreaded security line, took my trek to the gate, and boarded my first of two flights for the day -- this one at Sea-Tac airport, the next in about four more hours at Dallas Fort Worth international airport.

Dallas welcomed me with 92 degree heat. I was certainly not in Seattle anymore. And Miami must have known I was coming, too, because it's still 90 degrees outside here, even at 7:45 in the evening. Now I'm just waiting for Ms. Elizabeth Esther and Ms. Nish Weiseth to arrive in the next hour or two. We lucky west coasters are staying the night here before everyone else arrives in the morning.