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Get to know Kris Allen

Last Friday, we revealed that this year's True Spirit of Christmas tour would be hosted by American Idol winner Kris Allen.

As Kris and the World Vision team get ready for the journey to Kenya, we had a chance to ask Kris some questions. Read on to learn more about Kris -- and be sure to follow the tour, starting November 25, to hear stories of how the lives of children, families, and communities in need are being transformed by gifts donated through the World Vision Gift Catalog!

True Spirit of Christmas Tour

The True Spirit of Christmas tour is right around the corner. We are excited to announce this year's celebrity host-- American Idol Winner Kris Allen!

Kris will be traveling to Kenya with a team from World Vision to see how the gifts you give like goats, chickens, and ducks are changing lives for the better. You will get a first hand look into how these gifts bring help and hope to families in need.

Faster, higher, stronger

LEFT: Lopez Lomong shares with students at Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma, Washington. (Photo: Lindsey Minerva/World Vision)

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Steve Haas speaks on behalf of World Vision about the important issues that affect communities and churches, offering ways for his audiences to make a difference in the global arena.

This past summer, Steve had the unique opportunity to work closely with Olympic runner and World Vision partner Lopez Lomong. Today, Steve reflects on how his relationship with the Olympic athlete helped him to see God at work.

Survive to thrive

Each day, thousands of children are robbed of the chance to live a healthy, productive life -- all because of preventable, treatable diseases.

World Vision is partnering with national radio network K-LOVE -- which includes more than 400 contemporary Christian radio stations across the country -- to help children around the world Survive to 5.

A doll named Alma

Today's guest post comes from Alexis Dionne, a World Vision sponsor who shares what she does to let her sponsored children know they're loved and cared for during the holiday season.

If you're a World Vision sponsor as well, you can log in to My World Vision for ideas on how to connect with your sponsored child as the holidays approach.

A bicycle, and the change it brought

Pushpa is a shy 15-year-old sponsored girl in the tenth grade. In her small village in India, she's known for great achievements.

Looking back on the uncertainty she's experienced recently, Pushpa is glad to be back in school -- with a bicycle to take her there.

Sandy survivor: "At night, we are so cold"

As parts of the East Coast continue recovery efforts in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, a nor'easter threatens to add to the misery of hard-hit areas.

World Vision's Laura Reinhardt shares the story of a family whose apartment flooded, leaving them to face bone-chilling nights without power or heat ever since.

The net effect of deadly malaria

Marita Adelino is not your average 10-year-old.

In a world where children typically want so much, she wants only two things -- a best friend and a mosquito net. Yearning for a friend is sketched across her face, a portrait of loneliness.

And the desire for a mosquito net? Marita is terrified of the tiny, sinister creatures that spread malaria, the disease that killed her best friend, Marta João, last year.

JD the DJ reaches out

World Vision is partnering with national radio network K-LOVE -- which includes more than 400 contemporary Christian radio stations -- to help children around the world Survive to 5.

Today, Andrea Peer profiles JD Chandler, a DJ at K-LOVE who will host a radiothon on November 20 to help find sponsors for children in need.

A place to learn and call home

It’s been nearly three years since the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and many people there are still living in squalid conditions in camps. Families who had the means to leave the camps have now gone, and those remaining are among Port-au-Prince’s most vulnerable.

Knowing that even one child living in an unsafe and unsanitary camp is too many, World Vision is working on a project to help families move out of camps and into more durable accommodations. With World Vision helping to shoulder the burden of housing, families are able to invest their resources into their children's educations -- and most importantly, their futures.

The world through the eyes of a child

Violence. Hunger. Lack of education. Abuse.

Children are the most vulnerable to the consequences of global poverty -- but often, they don't have a platform by which to voice how these issues affect them.

When children do speak out, they often aren't taken seriously. Sometimes, they're dismissed by the adults who are charged with caring for them.

To address this problem, World Vision created a child journalist summit in India to give children the opportunity to have their voices heard.

Who's that girl?

"Who’s that girl?" I wondered while watching Carter’s Chord, a sister band who recently traveled to the Dominican Republic to create a video of their song, "Love a Little Bigger."

I love the song and its message: how blessed we are and how a luxury, like drinking a $4 cup of coffee, can make us feel guilty, especially when we are confronted by pictures of the poor.

Being from Seattle, the coffee center of the universe, I can relate.

The video is beautiful. The Carter’s Chord sisters are lovely. Their voices are wonderful. The Dominican Republic is an astonishing country, dripping with tropical delight.

But the prettiest thing in the video is its little star -- a girl whose life they captured from her early-morning routine, waking up and rubbing the sleep from her eyes, through the moment where she seemed to take flight -- dancing with the Carter’s Chord sisters as they sang.

[Infographic] Is humanitarian aid really making a difference?

Is humanitarian aid really making a difference? The answer is yes! Child deaths have decreased by 41 percent over the past five years.

The following infographic explains major developments in global child health over the past 10 years.

Caring for two lives: Q & A with a midwife

“It is not an easy task to perform. I have [responsibility for] two lives at a time -- the mother and the baby,” says Aklima Begum, 48. Aklima lives in Bangladesh and is highly respected in her community. 

Thanks to World Vision, Aklima was able to be educated and certified as a midwife. Midwifery is an extremely important skill for her community, since many families can't afford to see a doctor or stay in a hospital. The lives of mothers and infants are put at risk when they don't have access to proper prenatal care or a safe birthing environment.

Through her education in midwifery, Aklima is able to provide skilled care to mothers who would otherwise have to go without it.

Biker mom makes the dough

Poverty affects almost every element of a family’s life. It often robs children of their childhoods and can hinder strong, sustainable communities from being built.

But as shown by the story of Sam Mai and her family in Cambodia, a microloan can provide hope for something more -- an independent, self-sufficient future.