Sep 14 2012

What it means to sponsor an aging friend

CFCA is the only major U.S.-based sponsorship organization to sponsor the elderly.

Michelle Dawson, CFCA-Kansas staff.

Michelle Dawson, CFCA-Kansas staff.

Through our Hope for a Family sponsorship program, aging friends receive benefits that focus on providing better nutrition, access to health care, adequate housing and social activities.

Some sponsored aging friends also participate in skills training or income-generating workshops. Most importantly, they are welcomed into a caring community and feel less alone.

For some sponsored aging friends, CFCA meetings and events may be the only human socialization time they experience all week, or sometimes, all month.

Michelle Dawson works in sponsorship operations at our office in Kansas City. Michelle sponsors five aging friends in the Hope for a Family program. She shares with us some of the reasons why she decided to sponsor an aging friend and why she loves it.

How did you decide between sponsoring a child or an aging person?

I heard a priest speak at my parish many years ago, but instead of sponsoring that day, I took a brochure home with me and called CFCA not too long after that.

When I spoke with the CFCA representative on the phone, I asked her who had the most need, and she said that more people sponsor children and fewer people sponsor the aging. I started my first aging sponsorship of the aging with Candelaria from Guatemala that day, and I’ve been sponsoring aging friends ever since.

What has your sponsorship experience with an aging friend meant to you?

I must admit, I haven’t been very good over the years about writing to my sponsored friends, but I have read their letters and I’ve learned a lot from them.

Many of them have relatives who write the letters for them, and they tell me about their health, how they are doing, and what types of things they like to do every day. I appreciate learning from their letters how the sponsorship has helped them in their day-to-day lives and what it means to them.

I received a letter from one sponsored friend several years ago, and I learned that my sponsored friend was able to participate in a local community center because of her CFCA sponsorship and that it kept her very active.

I know that we all benefit greatly from staying active, especially when we get older, so I was very happy to learn this about my sponsored friend.

Michelle's sponsored aging friend, Myrna, from the Philippines.

Michelle’s sponsored aging friend, Myrna, from the Philippines.

I recently started sponsoring Myrna from the Philippines, and we have written to each other a few times. I like hearing from her and learning about her life and her family, and I’ve sent a picture to her of my family and me.

What do you enjoy most about sponsoring an aging friend?

I like knowing that my aging friends have community support in their later years thanks to CFCA. I think this allows them to live their lives in dignity and with greater peace of mind.

Aging persons can sometimes lose their independence as they become less physically able to work and do the things they’ve always done in their day-to-day lives.

Some can also lose their community as they begin to lose family and friends. I think the support of our aging friends as valuable members of our communities is so important for their overall well-being. One of my sponsored friends is 99 years old and going strong!

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2 thoughts on “What it means to sponsor an aging friend”

  1. I love this story! I’ve only been with CFCA as a sponsor since June 2012, and the first person that I chose to sponsor was an aging friend. That’s yet ANOTHER thing that I love about this organization-they’re the only US-based organization to sponsor the elderly.

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