I want you to join me and think back to your teenage years—hopefully this is not a painful exercise—and think about how you’ve changed since then.
A quick poll of my coworkers revealed that most of us now consider ourselves “very different” than when we were teenagers. This probably isn’t a huge revelation—developing in maturity, character, and understanding is a normal part of becoming an adult.
I think we can all agree that those years between childhood and adulthood were important. During those awkward years, we were laying groundwork for our future lives . . . whether we realized it or not.
For a child in poverty, it’s no different.
Why Sponsor an Older Child?
We can all agree that being a teenager is hard.
But can you imagine navigating adolescence without positive voices saying “You matter” or “It’s going to be okay” or “I believe in you”?
During these formative years, it’s easy for an older child in poverty to feel overlooked, unheard, or alone. They desperately need someone to pour positive encouragement, reinforcement, and support into their life.
Others just need a listening ear . . . a person who will walk alongside them.
When you support an older child through sponsorship, prayers, and positive correspondence, you are telling them, “You’re not alone. You matter to me, I believe in you, and want the best for your future.”
Why are Older Children in the Program?
Maybe you’ve always thought of child sponsorship as a program geared toward younger children.
But really, sponsorship is about providing children of all ages with the resources they need and the opportunity to experience God’s love.
Sponsorship also means giving teenagers and young adults the support they need until they are equipped to successfully navigate adulthood.
We never push children out of their sponsorship program—as much as possible, we encourage sponsors to continue investing until their child completes their education.
Some programs are able to continue discipling children well into their college years—from 16-25 years old. Through local government, church, or merit-based scholarships, many sponsored children successfully graduate from college or a vocational school.
For other children, their educational journey hasn’t been easy.
Many of the children in our Northern Uganda programs went years without schooling during the rise of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army and the international conflict that ensued.
Lack of resources prior to joining a sponsorship program could mean that a child has missed several years of schooling during elementary school. Others struggle with learning disabilities and may have to repeat several grades. It’s not uncommon to find children who are 8 or 9 years old who are just beginning first grade.
An Older Child Needs YOU
Every child needs to feel noticed, loved, and supported.
And teenagers especially need to have their voice heard, their opinions validated, and their dreams vocalized. An older child needs YOU.
The person they are today probably isn’t the person they’re going to be down the road. Will you help lay the groundwork for their future today? Will you help them grow in their character and trust in God?
Why not be the one to invest in the future of a teenager in need of a sponsor?