April, a World Vision child ambassador, presents World Vision as a featured charity at Venice Farmer's Market. (Photo courtesy of April Wright)
Traveling to the Dominican Republic is quite a big deal for someone who's never been out of the country. At least that's what April Wright told us when we informed her that her essay won her a trip to the DR to witness World Vision's work first hand.
Last fall we asked World Vision volunteers - a combination of Child Ambassadors, Hope Sunday hosts, child sponsors, and others - to host a "My World Vision" House Party, like a tupperware party but replace the bright plastic containers with child sponsorship folders, a message from our senior vice president and your personal sponsorship testimony. We asked party hosts to write "why it is important to find sponsors for children" or "the difference sponsorship can make in a child's life" for the chance to win a trip to see World Vision's work in another country through an essay contest.
The essays were judge based on creativity, testimonial story and change that takes place in the sponsor or sponsored child's life. April's essay was the winning essay and as she visits the DR this week with our Child Ambassadors team, we share part of her winning essay with you:
My experience with child sponsorship began in 2006 when I sponsored a little boy from Uganda named Dan. Dan was too young to write letters at first but he always drew the cutest pictures for me. His letters included information about his family and where he lived, and his drawings gave me a glimpse into his world.
April in the Dominican Republic with World Vision March 20-27. (Photo courtesy of April Wright/2011)
Once he drew a picture and I wrote back telling him how much I liked his picture of the monkey. I know that Uganda is one of the last habitats of a certain species of gorilla so I assumed that’s what it was. He wrote back to tell me it was a cat! Dan and I both thought my mix-up was pretty funny.
I received annual updates that told me about all of the wonderful classes his parents participated in to make life for Dan better. He wrote about the seeds and farming equipment that World Vision provided. He said his father was taught how to grow crops differently so the family could have surplus to sell at the local market. This additional income enabled them to afford things for the family that they would not otherwise be able to buy.
World Vision also provided medical care for Dan when he suffered from intestinal worms. I can’t even imagine how difficult it was for him to endure that but I am so grateful that World Vision was there to take care of him. It was important to me to know that he could get necessary medications when he needed them and that he could keep up-to-date on immunizations to prevent illness.
I also learned how my sponsorship enabled Dan to go to school by paying for his tuition, books and uniform. We would write to each other about how we were doing in school and we would encourage each other to work hard and get good grades. Some of my favorite pictures are of Dan in his school uniform.
One day I received a letter from Dan that really touched my heart and made me truly realize how important we had become to one another. Dan wrote in his letter, “I want you to know how much I love you. You are always in my thoughts and in my heart. Every time you look at me and see me smiling, just know that I am thinking of you… Let me end by saying that I thank God every night since I found you. You came into my life when everything seemed so dark, but you provided the light to find my way.” It makes me cry just reading those words again! For me the same is true - I love him so much and thank God everyday for bringing him into my life!
April Wright is a child ambassador who lives in Nokomis, FL.
Learn more about how you can apply to be a child ambassador.
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