Bethel Child Sponsorships

Education Sponsorships are an incredible way to get involved with ending the orphan crisis. Today we are bringing you Bethel China – a foster home for visually impaired orphaned and vulnerable children. It is only $35 to sponsor a child through Bethel and it dramatically changes their lives!  

 
thearchibald project
 

I can't believe it’s July. Where have the first 6 months of 2017 gone? As I force my mind to be detailed, I remember – we’ve been in 11 countries and told dozens of orphan care stories. We’ve covered Birth Family Care, Orphanage Alternatives, Foster Care and Aging Out of the System and today we are starting a new theme that will carry us through the end of August.

The theme we will be advocating for over the next two months is…drum roll please…Education and Child Sponsorships!

You see, we believe that everyone can play a part in ending the orphan crisis. Not everyone is called to adopt or foster, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a role for you. So we’ve come up with 6 topics that we are covering this year to help educate and inspire everyone in our community about the different ways you can get involved in ending the orphan crisis. 

Perhaps you care about investing in our world and the lives around it to ensure that your children live in a better place; or perhaps you have a heart for helping but you just don’t know where your help would make a true impact; or maybe you want to donate somewhere but you’re skeptical that your donation might end up funding someone’s luxurious lifestyle… 

That’s one of the main reasons we are here for you! We want you all to rest assured that if you see an organization on our website or social media, you can know that we have vetted and done our due diligence to ensure that everything you see is ethical and trustworthy. That is why we are so excited to share some of our favorite Education and Child Sponsorship organizations with you over the next 2 months. 

The first organization that we would like to introduce you to, or I guess re-introduce you to (seeing as how we’ve been

Instagramming about them for a few weeks already), is Bethel China. We are not being paid to say that we absolutely love Bethel! 

Bethel’s mission is to see children with visual impairments live life to the fullest. They work with visually impaired orphaned and vulnerable children throughout China and have outreach programs to help educate families whose children are born with visual impairments as well. 

Every time we’ve been to Bethel or spent time with their some of their staff, we are impressed by how passionate they are to see their children succeed. Bethel might hire their employees, but each one becomes family to the children they serve. Without Bethel’s dedication to improving life for visually impaired children in China, hundreds of children would never learn to walk, never learn to read, never find forever families and end up in retirement homes at the age of 18. 

What do I mean by this? Well, you see, Bethel is a foster home and one of their programs receives and cares for abandoned children in China. Orphanages from all over the country send their visually impaired children to Bethel to help them learn how to develop and survive. Because of Bethel, children are able to develop, function and live life to the fullest! 

For the next week and a half we will be introducing you to some of Bethel’s children and their sponsors so that you might be inspired to get involved in their amazing work! 

To kick off Bethel’s Sponsorship introduction we’d like for you to hear a few words from Bethel’s Child Advocacy Manager, Tabitha Terlunen. Below, you will find our most recent podcast interview with Bethel and a video we made for Bethel a few years ago!

-Whitney Runyon, co-founder of The Archibald Project

 

Here’s Tabitha:
“When I first started working at Bethel, no one had been solely in charge of sponsorship for a few years. I got a handful of names, some financial reports, and a few excel spreadsheets with email addresses. My boss said, "Come up with some ideas--give it a try, see what works." So I rolled up my sleeves and got busy.

If you had told me six or seven years ago that I'd be working in fundraising, I would have laughed myself silly. I HATE talking about money, and I hate asking people for things. But this was different. A person I had just met would ask me what I did for work, and I would start gushing about the kids at Bethel. If someone inquired about sponsorship, unsure of who to sponsor, I had so much fun helping them choose a child. "You have a ten year old who likes to read? You should sponsor Joy, she just started learning Braille and loves to hear stories..." I wasn't just promoting an organization, I was introducing people to children that I loved, that I had played with, some that I had even taught. 

One thing that was apparent from the beginning was that we wanted an ethical sponsorship program that honored our children. When writing updates, I would ask myself, "How will this child feel if they read this newsletter as an adult?" As a parent, I guard what I put on social media about my son, so our Child Sponsorship Program is no different. As advocates of vulnerable children, we are the guardians of their stories. Stories are sacred, and it's a privilege to share and hear them. 

If a child is in a family, it's more than likely that they have not just a mom and dad, but uncles and aunts and grandparents who are
 

cheering for them as they grow up. The kids at Bethel aren't just missing out on parents, they are missing out on all the extended family who bring so much richness, encouragement, and love to our childhoods. Sponsorship helps to bridge that gap. Every child deserves to have their school picture proudly displayed on someone's fridge. Every kid deserves a team of adults cheering them on for each and every hard won skill or accomplishment. Whether it be celebrating them as they take their first steps, graduate preschool, learn their first word in Braille, get an award in school, or matched to a forever family, sponsors are there, cheering from the sidelines. 

Sponsorship costs $35 a month (less than a cup of coffee a day), and at Bethel, with all of our education and therapy for visual impairments, it takes around 15 sponsors for a child to be fully sponsored. Bethel is a large foster home in China, so this means that we are financially responsible for 24/7 care and education for each of our kids. As a sponsor, you will receive a newsletter every two months about your sponsored child and their peer group, and we will send you a Child Profile PDF with pictures and more information about your child. We update the profiles every year, so if you sponsor long term, you can really see how much your kiddo has changed as they receive love, therapy, and attention at Bethel. If you want more updates than our newsletter, you can always send us an email and we'd be happy to snap an extra photo for you! You can also follow us on social media (FacebookInstagram, or Youtube) for a daily dose of what our wonderful kids are up to. "

For more information on sponsorship, contact Tabitha Terlunen at tabitha@bethelchina.org