Feb 13 2013

Trip to the Philippines brings learning and love

Bob and sponsored friend

Our sponsored child Shaima, second from right, her brother, far right, mother Jean, left, and a friend from Zamboanga, second from left, offer us their welcome to the “Pearl of the Orient Seas.”

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“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page.

Photo credits go to our devoted staff in our Quezon and Antipolo projects.

The reception for the sponsors was very dynamic and very musical.

The Filipino people mean it when they say “Mabuhay,” meaning “welcome.”

What a joy to travel with such a fine group of CFCA sponsors. It was a large group and big on inspiration. We are truly companions in learning and action. Read more

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Feb 6 2013

Indigenous group obtains recognition of ancestral lands

Dumagats

Chieftain Rogelio plays a tune for his grandson, Erick, right-center, and two other children, Myrna, left, and Joshua, far right.

Deep in the lush mountains of the northern Philippines, an indigenous tribe lives respectfully with nature.

Meet the Dumagats.

The Dumagat indigenous community has lived in the mountains and lowlands of the Philippines for a thousand years.

They have slowly been pushed out of their home by logging, overfishing and encroaching landowners.

They could do nothing to address these problems because they never officially held a title to their lands.

And without guidance and assistance, they were hesitant to begin the painstaking documentation needed to obtain a title.

Until they partnered with CFCA.

Read the amazing story of the Dumagat indigenous community and how they worked with local CFCA staffers to gain the recognition of their ancestral domain.

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Dec 13 2012

‘A blessing in my life:’ Kasey’s sponsorship experience

By Kasey, who sponsors Amelia through CFCA

Amelia, left, and Kasey, right.

Amelia, left, and Kasey, right.

I heard about CFCA through an online search.

I knew I wanted to sponsor through a reputable program, and after extensive research and finding that CFCA’s values lined up with my own beliefs, I knew I had found the right place.

I searched the profiles and determined that a woman named Fabiana needed my help most.

Her story resonated with me. For $30 a month, I could help this elderly widow off of her straw bed on the ground and change her whole life.

When I got her first letter, I cried. I read it over and over and then wrote back saying that, although she thought I was a blessing to her life, she was also a blessing in mine.

The gratitude I felt through her handwritten words spoke to my heart.

I carried them close until about a year later when she passed away. I mourned her passing but rejoiced in knowing that I brought her great comfort in that past year.

CFCA then found me Amelia, and although from a different continent and telling a different tale, I was written into her story. Read more

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Nov 26 2012

‘Rise and Dream’ family movie night: One sponsor’s experience

Rise and Dream movie night with Newpower family

CFCA sponsor Christine Newpower with her son, Paul, 13, and her daughters, Sarah, 9, and Grace, 7. Along with the film DVD and a music CD, the “Rise and Dream” movie night kit contains a planning guide, invitations and other materials to help make your movie night a fun and successful experience.

Great learning opportunities can sometimes occur right in your living room!

Christine Newpower, a sponsor from California, read about the special “Rise and Dream” movie night kit offer extended to CFCA sponsors and volunteers in one of our newsletters.

Christine, who grew up abroad and remembers her Southeast Asian roots, saw the film as an opportunity to teach her children about global poverty.

“We wanted our children to understand how blessed they are in comparison to children growing up in poverty overseas,” she said. “We also wanted to provide that extra connection, knowing that a large part of our extended family still lives there.”

Christine ordered and received a “Rise and Dream” DVD and movie night kit in July and organized a family movie night for her husband and their three children.

“After dinner, we set up our family room with sodas, popcorn, pretzels and chips,” Christine said. “We turned off the lights and drew the blinds for the full theater experience.”

In more ways than one, the film’s setting hit home for the Newpowers. The family sponsors Jasmine, a 9-year-old in the Philippines. Christine’s children have expressed interest in meeting Jasmine someday on a CFCA trip. Read more

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Nov 16 2012

Philippines: Natural wonders, challenges abound

Join us as we celebrate Geography Awareness Week with National Geographic and friends. This year’s theme is “Geography: Declare Your Interdependence.”

QUESTION: Approximately 8,600 CFCA sponsored friends live near this active volcano in the Bicol region of the Philippines. What is the name of this beautiful, symmetrical mountain?

ANSWER: Mayon Volcano

Mayon Volcano in the Philippines

Mayon Volcano in the Philippines.

The Mayon Volcano is the most active volcano in the Philippines.

It is located about 8 miles from Legazpi City. This distinctive landmark is the symbol of the province and region. It is surrounded by verdant rice paddies and fields.

Rey, CFCA sponsored child in the PhilippinesRey, 12, and his family have a clear view of Mayon from their home. Rey, who has been sponsored through CFCAís Hope for a Family program since he was 8 years old, rides a bike to school each day and dreams of becoming a doctor.

CFCA’s Hope for a Family sponsorship program serves more than 43,000 children, youth and aging members through five project locations in the Philippines, which are Antipolo, Legazpi, Manila, Quezon City and Zamboanga.

Families in the sponsorship program face challenges such as natural disasters and high unemployment. Flooding, landslides and tsunamis triggered by typhoons are common, as are earthquakes and active volcanoes like Mayon.

Through sponsorship, families receive access to education, nutrition assistance, dental and health care, and more.

Watch Rey share his story in the video below:

Learn more about Geography Awareness Week here.

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Nov 9 2012

‘Rise and Dream’: A night of insight and gratitude

Steve Taylor, CFCA sponsor, recently hosted a “Rise and Dream” movie night with others at his parish, St. Jerome Catholic Church, in Virginia.

There was an amazing turnout for the event, and Steve shared his reflection on the evening with us.

Thank you, Steve and St. Jerome parish, for your “Rise and Dream” movie night!

St. Jerome Catholic Church, Newport News, Va., hosted a successful showing of CFCA’s documentary film, “Rise and Dream” to a crowd of approximately 180 parishioners.

The evening’s success was the result of numerous factors centered on St. Jerome’s connection to the Philippines, including Father Henry Diesta, a large spirit-filled Filipino community, a significant number of CFCA sponsored friends in the Philippines and the “Rise and Dream” movie, which was filmed in the Philippines.

The local Filipino community, led by Medy Gameng, supported the evening through delicious Filipino dishes, a folk-dance demonstration by four parish children (video below) and a heartfelt thank you to the parish and the individual sponsors of Filipino children and aging.

CFCA sponsors Gabe Franco and Lisa Garner provided insight into their sponsored friends and the importance of their sponsoring experience. They both requested that attendees consider sponsoring a child or aging person through CFCA.

Although the movie takes place in the Philippines, it represents the 22 countries in which CFCA operates. In all these countries, the children’s needs and conditions are similar and so is their spirit and effort to succeed in school, to help themselves and their families financially.

Steve Taylor, Va.

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Oct 2 2012

New sponsor’s experience with CFCA: Missy

We’d like to introduce Missy, a new sponsor, who lives in Chicago. Missy discovered CFCA through our website, www.cfcausa.org, and has been sponsoring since June. She started by sponsoring an aging friend, then added a child and youth to her sponsorships.

Missy, CFCA sponsorHow did you hear about CFCA, and what inspired you to sponsor?

I actually just came across this site while browsing around online. It may have been an “accident,” or perhaps, I was gently brought to it.

My philosophy is no one should ever have to suffer, and that includes people everywhere all over the planet, which basically goes hand in hand with CFCA’s mission: “Our mission is to walk with the poor and marginalized of the world so they may live with dignity and participate fully in society.”

Whatever I can do to help alleviate the suffering of others, I will do so.

So far, has the experience of sponsorship matched up with any expectations you had when you started? Have there been any surprises or new things you’ve learned along the way?

It has really exceeded my expectations. It’s not just a handout each month and that’s the end of it.

What I love is that you help provide essential benefits to help people climb out of poverty.

You also get the chance to be encouraging and to develop a special friendship, which to me is absolutely priceless. Plus, I am inspired by my sponsored friends.

You have sponsored friends across all ages! What have been some of the similarities and differences in getting to know each of them? See Missy’s answer

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