My 4-year-old sponsors a child in Zambia

My 4-year-old sponsors a child in Zambia | World Vision Blog

Arik Korman with his son AJ. (Photo: Arik Korman)

For World Radio Day today, Arik Korman – Executive Director of The Bob Rivers Show on 95.7 KJR-FM in Seattle – writes about how his son AJ has grown up with sponsored children in his family, which has inspired AJ to want to help! The Bob Rivers Show is a long-time partner of World Vision, and has helped to connect more than 4,700 children around the world with sponsors.

Messages of love

Messages of love | World Vision Blog

Violet visiting her sponsored child Cedric and his family in Uganda, whom she sponsored at a Casting Crowns concert. (Photo: Violet Galaviz)

Looking ahead to Valentine's Day on Friday, we want to give thanks for the love you have shown us, our work, and the children and communities we serve around the world. We can't do this work without you! Thank you for your love … we love you, too!

In today's photoblog, five teams here at World Vision each highlight one of their supporters that has been influential and inspirational to them.

Sports dreams come true

Sports dreams come true | World Vision Blog

Olympian Se Jim Kim delivers the cup to the best volleyball club of the 2012 tournament between 28 Librazhd school clubs. (©2012 Bardha Prendi/World Vision)

The Winter Olympics opening ceremonies are today! As we look forward to the Sochi games, we bring you the story of Enkelejda in Albania, who competed in volleyball tournaments through World Vision's Librazhd community ... and had the life-changing opportunity to meet an Olympian!

Olympians for hope

Olympians for hope | World Vision Blog

U.S. Olympian Lopez Lomong gives Travis Blanton a pep talk during an exchange point at the Hood to Coast Relay. (Photo: Wes Kriesel)

As we approach the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia on Friday, we take a look back at the summer games of 2012 in London, and our friend and supporter Lopez Lomong who competed in the Men’s 5,000 Meter.

This photo series and video show Lomong running this past summer with Team World Vision in the Hood to Coast relay event in Oregon.

Protecting the poor from the plague of violence

Protecting the Poor from the Plague of Violence | World Vision Blog

"I do not want any one of us to be victims of human trafficking." –Cang, Vietnam. (Photo: 2013 Nguyen Thai Minh Minh/World Vision)

Today, our friends at International Justice Mission write about the everyday violence that is plaguing the developing world … and the new book they're launching today!

Protection through education

Protection through education | World Vision Blog

Before Ankit, 6, started attending World Vision's drop-in center last year, he used to roam the streets. (Photo: 2013 Annila Harris/World Vision)

One of the best ways to protect children from dangers like trafficking, child labor, and early marriage is to educate them, keeping them in school rather than on the streets. In India, World Vision's drop-in centers are designed to do just that: opening the door to mainstream schools.

Here are the stories of two children – Naina, 7, and Ankit, 6 – who found their way into formal education through these drop-in centers.

Under the big tree

Under the big tree | World Vision Blog

A World Vision savings group meets in Tanzania. (©2014 Jon Warren/World Vision)

This past Friday, our wonderful writer/photographer team (Kari Costanza and Jon Warren) was in Tanzania, where they heard an amazing story of a community standing up to protect a little girl…from a very early marriage. This is what happened!

Su Su is finding her own dream

Su Su is finding her own dream | World Vision Blog

18-year-old Su Su is learning skills as a hairdresser. Now she has hope for her dream of being a hair salon owner.

As a child, Su Su* worked a variety of jobs in Cambodia to help provide for her family, a road that led her into prostitution at the age of 14.

Through a World Vision recovery center, Su Su has learned the skills she needs to follow her dream. Now, she has real plans for her future.

This is her story in her own words.**

Health and happiness through clean water

Health and happiness through clean water | World Vision Blog

A new World Vision deep well brings health and happiness to the children of this village in Afghanistan. (©2013 Narges Ghafary/World Vision)

Unsafe water is one of the leading causes of child mortality in Afghanistan, with more than 40 percent of child deaths caused by diarrhea and acute respiratory infection. Clean water can prevent these illnesses. See how a World Vision deep well is changing life in young mother Maryam's village.

An extraordinary Sunday

An extraordinary Sunday | World Vision Blog

Child Ambassador Jim Gross with his Granddaughter Kennady. (Photo: 2013 Jim Gross)

While fans in Seattle and Denver were celebrating their football victories on Sunday, a different wave of excitement was sweeping through a small church community in Houston, Texas. Jim Gross is a World Vision Child Ambassador … this is his story.

South Sudan conflict: Left in danger

South Sudan conflict: The poor are left in danger | World Vision Blog

Margaret and her children at a Catholic church where they’ve taken shelter in Juba. (©2014 Nhial Wei/World Vision)

Medina and Margret are just two among hundreds of thousands in South Sudan who have been driven from their homes by the fighting that escalated last month. Left with little in a disrupted economy, they want to take their families away from the conflict but can’t afford to, leaving them to seek sanctuary wherever they can. Read the story of these two families, and learn what World Vision is doing to help.

A lucky orphan gets a goat

A Lucky Orphan Gets a Goat | World Vision Blog

Abdul, 15, and his uncle with one of the goats the received through World Vision's Gift Catalog. (Photo: 2013 Abby Stalsbroten/World Vision)

Orphaned at the age of 3, Abdul in Sierra Leone has grown up with his uncle's family. When World Vision came to his community, his family grew when he was sponsored. Read how Abdul's life – and the lives of his whole family and community – has been improved through sponsorship and World Vision's Gift Catalog!

Ambassadors of hope for the Congo

Ambassadors of hope for the Congo | World Vision Blog

Martine, recently treated for malnutrition, with her nurse Chiquette in the Ledia community, DRC, December 2012. (Photo: Alice Bafiala Mutombo/World Vision)

World Vision's Child Ambassadors are a network of volunteers and sponsors who go out into their communities as advocates for child sponsorship. This year, they're aiming to maximize their impact by focusing their efforts on a new sponsorship community in the Democratic Republic of the Congo called Ledia. Read why!

Gautam's sweet dreams

Gautam's sweet dreams | World Vision Blog

Gautam and his mother, Joyanti. (Photo: 2013 Md. Golam Ehsanul Habib/World Vision)

Saturday was Human Trafficking Awareness Day! How did you spread the word about this important issue?

Today's story comes from Bangladesh, where millions of children are caught up in child labor when their families can't afford to provide. Two years ago, Gautam's family couldn't afford more than two meals a day, to repair their home, or to send Gautam to school; now, Gautam sleeps well with a new roof and full belly, and goes to school. See how sponsorship helped keep him out of child labor!

Five things you need to know about Syria's refugee crisis

Five things you need to know about Syria's refugee crisis | World Vision Blog

Jordan continues to face one of the harshest winters on record and many refugees do not have winter clothing. World Vision is now distributing over 30,000 winter coats to children aged 2-12 living in Za'atari Refugee Camp. (Photo: 2014 World Vision)

Now in its third winter, the toll of the Syrian refugee crisis continues to rise. Here are five facts you should know about this crisis, and what World Vision is doing to help.

The Apple of my eye

The apple of my eye | World Vision Blog

Sponsored child Apple takes care of her baby sister, Roalyn. Apple's family is one of many affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Their home was damaged by the typhoon. (©2013 Annila Harris/World Vision)

Today marks two months since Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines. After the storm, World Vision communicator Annila Harris visited survivors and met sponsored child Apple, whose family is benefiting from World Vision relief supplies. The way this little girl cared for her baby sister, Roalyn, taught Annila that even when a disaster takes away almost everything, the most important thing in life is still family.

Aid worker’s blog: Each other’s miracle

Aid worker's blog: Each other's miracle | World Vision Blog

Even after Typhoon Haiyan totally destroyed their house, the family of sponsored child Juliana remains grateful that they are alive. (©2013 Florence Joy Maluyo/World Vision)

Wednesday marks two months since Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines, causing immense devastation and loss of life. World Vision quickly mobilized more than 200 local staff members to help reach almost 400,000 survivors with relief operations.

Today, Florence, one of our team members on the ground, reflects on the past two months and the amazing love and hope she has felt from around the world as we all became each other’s miracle.

Roots and wings

Roots and wings | World Vision Blog

Zebra is a former child soldier who benefited from World Vision’s Rebound project. Today, he has his own carpentry business and is able to lead a normal life. (©2012 Gilbertine Julie Uwimana/World Vision)

A few months ago, World Vision communicator Jeremie Olivier traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and met children benefiting from World Vision’s Rebound project, which helps rehabilitate former child soldiers and prostitutes. Read about his encounter with Zawadi and how this teenager is finding her wings through mechanics.

Top 13 blog posts of 2013

Top 13 blog posts of 2013 | World Vision Blog

A girl in Sri Lanka at a World Vision program's closing ceremony, featured in our photoblog "A beginning and an end" in May. (Photo: Matthew Paul Turner)

2013 was a very busy year! The social media team ran and supported a wide variety of programs and work, sharing joy, answering the question Why World Vision?, promoting books and films, and responding to disasters. Out of the hundreds of blog posts published this year, here’s a list of my – and your! –  favorites.

Vote for your favorite! Whichever post gets the most comments below, I’ll look into doing a follow-up post later in 2014!

Year-end giving: How to choose a charity

Year-end giving: How to choose a charity | World Vision Blog

A dead tree adorned with food colors sealed in plastic becomes a symbol of the holiday season in the Philippines. (Photo: 2013 World Vision)

Within these last few days of the year, many people take this opportunity to squeeze in one more charitable donation as an extra write-off for their taxes. Your tax forms don’t care where that money goes, as long as it’s a charity, but you probably do. You’ll want to make sure that your money is going to a good organization.

But what does that mean? And how can you know?