Children now have the power to choose their sponsor
For the first time in its seven-decade history, World Vision is launching a new invitation into child sponsorship. The Christian humanitarian organization is enabling children to choose their sponsors through an innovative experience called ChosenTM.
“Chosen puts the power to choose their sponsor in the hands of the child,” says Edgar Sandoval Sr., president of World Vision U.S.
It’s a simple, yet powerful switch at the beginning of the sponsorship relationship that recognizes the dignity and value of children living in extreme poverty—and expresses World Vison’s belief that these children have the power to change their own lives and their communities; and even to touch the lives of their sponsors.
|Jeanne and Jarrett Stevens, co-pastors at Soul City Church, had their photo taken with their daughter, Gigi, while holding a family photo to represent their son, Elijah. Their photo was then sent to Kenya where a child would get to choose them. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)
ChosenTM starts with people here in the U.S. signing up to be chosen and getting their picture taken. That photo is sent to a community where World Vision works, to be displayed with the pictures of other potential sponsors. The community gathers for a celebration where the kids choose their sponsors. Soon thereafter, sponsors will receive a picture of the child holding their photo and a note letting them know about the child and what made the child choose them.
“Chosen introduces children to the first of many empowering choices they will now have through child sponsorship, so they can become agents of lasting change,” Sandoval says, “We are already seeing God move in miraculous ways through Chosen.”
This summer, Guatemalan children from a village facing extreme poverty and violence arrived at a sponsorship event early, dressed in their best clothes hoping it would increase their chances of being sponsored. But as the party started and the children were informed that they would get to choose a sponsor, Tucson’s Rev. Mat Grover who was in Guatemala for this occasion saw something he will never forget: “Tears filled their eyes and their expressions changed from ‘pick me’ to genuine smiles,” he said. “These kids (…) suddenly found themselves at a place where their voices mattered; they had a choice.”
Across the Atlantic in Mwala, Kenya, the response was similarly powerful as 431 children chose sponsors from a church in downtown Chicago.
|Mwongeli chose the Stevens family to be her sponsor and proudly walked around holding her new sponsor's photo. When Pastor Jeanne recognized the photo, their meeting was electric. (Photo courtesy of Jeanne Stevens)
“Our congregation has been transformed by the process of being chosen,” said Pastor Jeanne Stevens, who traveled to Mwala when her Chicago church partnered with World Vision in the ChosenTM experience. Even from right here in Chicago, we know our lives are intersecting the lives of children across the world who are learning that they are loved and valued by God.”
Empowering people out of poverty has been at the heart of World Vision’s work around the world since the organization started in 1950. Through its efforts, World Vision has impacted the lives of more than 200 million vulnerable children by tackling the root causes of poverty.
Starting in September, ChosenTM is taking place across the nation at Churches, Artist concerts, and even online. Chosen is also launching globally and will expand over time to various countries World Vision works. Individuals who would like to learn more and be Chosen™ online can do so by visiting WorldVision.org/Chosen.