In March, David and Judy Dames stepped aboard a plane on their way to Costa Rica.
CFCA sponsors since 2003, the Dames were taking their first CFCA awareness trip.
One of the most memorable moments of their trip was the visit to the Guanacaste province northwest of San Jose.
“We were on Highway 1, the Pan American Highway, which was under construction,” David said.
“As the bus slowed and pulled off the side of the road, dust flew everywhere.
“But as we came to a stop, the rocky and rutted dirt lane leading back to the community we were to visit was filled with people.
“Adults and children carried balloons and homemade signs.
“As we stepped off the bus they were clapping and cheering!”
David and Judy met Adrian, 15, whom they have sponsored since 2010.
It was a letter from him that spurred them to visit Costa Rica.
In the letter, Adrian wrote that he prayed his sponsors would one day come to visit him.
They also met 5-year-old Richany on the trip and sponsored her.
“Stepping off that bus, children who had never met us took our hands to escort us during our brief visit there — and never once let go,” David said.
“Aged men came up to us, looked us right in our eyes, and said humbly, ‘Gracias, senor.’”
“We were received as honored guests with a pure and humble gratitude.
“The staff explained to us that the people were expressing their thankfulness to us even as stand-ins for their own sponsors who couldn’t be there.”
David and Judy experienced firsthand the living situations of the sponsored friends and were in awe of the welcome they received, despite the families’ lack of economic means.
They had gone to Costa Rica with a desire to finally meet Adrian and returned with a mission.
“As you can guess,” David said, “Judy and I came home with a passion to encourage others to hear and see what we have seen.”
They contacted CFCA headquarters after the trip to discuss how they could help more.
They wanted to give a presentation to their friends and family to try to find sponsors for children and aging friends on CFCA’s waiting list.
David and Judy decided to hold a wine and cheese party, and Judy put together a PowerPoint presentation with the photos they took on the trip.
Along with the PowerPoint, they also shared some of the videos from CFCA’s YouTube channel.
Their event had a great turnout with 25 attendees.
They even found new sponsors for six of the 10 children whose information they had displayed at the event.
Most importantly David and Judy’s presentation started a serious discussion.
They were able to share their life-changing experience with others and get them talking about what they can do to make changes in the world.
David and Judy don’t plan to stop there.
They shared that they plan to hold a garage sale and donate the proceeds to CFCA.
They are also working with their local parish and others in their area to try to share their experiences with as many people as possible.
With their passion and enthusiasm, they are helping find sponsors for children, youth and aging friends who need encouragement and support to reach their dreams.
Have your own stories about volunteering? Share your experiences in the comments below!