Hitting 30 years old they say is a gift — as society no longer considers you a kid, neither do they treat you as an “adult” adult. The gift is in finding yourself partially “in between”: growing up and coming into terms with maturity.
While most of my friends are getting married and/or are having babies, at this age, I feel I have to do something that is more appropriate, or if I must say — more satisfying, fulfilling and worthwhile.
I consider myself different in many ways, which loosely translates to the fact that I won’t have a kid of my own. I choose not to. It’s true and I’m not sad about it. They always say I can adopt, but I have personally decided to not be obliged. As Jennifer Lopez puts it in American Idol, “It’s a no for me.”
It’s not that I hate kids — in fact, I am in love with them. I love being surrounded by children. And it’s always good to feel and act like a nurturing kuya (big brother).
I’ll be turning 30 in September and have been mentally jotting down my new adult goals/bucket list which includes: traveling to an off-the-beaten path like Istanbul and Cappadocia, learning a new sport, speaking a new language, reading 30 books in a year, and organizing a charity event for children.
I just wanted to do something out-of-the-box as I turn another year older.
And then this happened…
I woke up one day with a sudden great urge to help a kid. And so I did a quick web search how I can possibly join local organizations, how to volunteer for a weekend or how to come up with a mini-event/party to give gifts or feed children in a province of some sort.
While Googling, my eyes stumbled upon World Vision, the world largest institutional children’s charity, and got struck by their catchphrase — “Sponsor a Child Now.” Like winning the jackpot in a lottery, I excitedly mumbled to myself: this is what I’m looking for.
I’ve heard about this program and their Philippine arm before but paid little attention. Maybe I wasn’t ready then yet.
With the objective of helping children (and consequently his/her family and community) through education scholarships, World Vision’s child sponsorships have been around for many years now. Their list of child sponsors even include celebrities and famous personalities which is a testament that — 1) World Vision is a reliable institution; 2) your “investments” really go to the children and their communities; 3) there are still thousands of people with generous hearts.
What’s interesting is that you only get to spend PHP600.00 (SGD18.00) per month. That’s like skipping just a single restaurant brunch on a weekend while your “investments” on the child’s future on the other hand go a long, long way!
In their website, you have the option to choose a specific town you can help. Every page refresh, you’ll see different profiles of kids you can potentially sponsor.
I knew I wanted to help a little girl.
As a daughter, sister, mother and a leader, I see the big potential girls can contribute to the society (not that I’m undermining the capabilities of boys as they have their own strengths too).
Meet six-year-old Jillian Karylle
I adore her smile and innocent, sweet-looking face. When I saw Jillian’s photo, I jumped from my chair and exclaimed, I want to help this kid — she looks like someone I can be proud of one day!
I immediately clicked the “Sponsor Now” button and keyed in the payment for the sponsorship fees. It was great that I also had the option whether to pay via bank transfers or credit cards.
What Happens After
I immediately received a confirmation email from World Vision right after I made the first payment. The payments will continue until you personally decide to stop your sponsorship and may also take a halt due to other reasons concerning the child.
Within a week, I also received the profile of my sponsored child, a sponsorship handbook which details the path I will take until my kid graduates from high school or college. I was also given a chance to write my first letter to her. As I’m overseas, I wasn’t able to write a handwritten one and relied on email instead. I wrote my letter in very casual Filipino so that she can easily understand it and won’t feel intimidated. I also attached a smiling photo of myself so she can picture who I was.
Praises for the World Vision staff as well (special mention to Berna Sotero – Online Marketing Associate) as they were very proactive in replying back and emailing me regarding the status of my sponsorship.
Life Journey with Jillian
As I write this blog post, I still haven’t yet received any feedback from Jillian’s family. They say it takes about a month or so before I’ll be able to receive a reply letter from them. I hope she’s happy with her new Kuya.
I’ve read in the sponsorship handbook that I can also personally visit Jillian and her family if I want to. I might actually do that in December in time for Christmas.
Like an excited parent, I also look forward to receiving her annual school reports to see where she is at with her studies.
It’s scary to think that somewhere in Batangas, a kid’s life is partially dependent on you.
What will happen if I suddenly quit my ties from her? And if I stop my monthly sponsorship? I may not care at all.
But just thinking that, maybe, a kid and her family already looks up to you as their main source of inspiration for a sense of future. This shakes me back to my senses. I have already started this — and anything I started, I should finish.
As I turn older, maybe it’s just wise to own up to another responsibility in life — with the promise of creating a beautiful vision and future for a little child.