by Athena Boulgarides, ChildFund Development Officer
When ChildFund supporter Dee Barbash and her daughter Brooke Siem organized a festive gathering of friends and fellow ChildFund sponsors in Reno, Nevada, Dec. 28, 2010, they kept one little detail up their sleeves — the honored guest.
The group gathered to ring in the New Year and celebrate the joy of sponsorship. They enjoyed a presentation about ChildFund programs around the world with special emphasis on Zambia since several members of the group currently sponsor children there.
Anne Stilwill flew in from McCall, Idaho, and Sandra Ray Morgan made the trip from Travelers Rest, S.C., to join Joyce Patterson, Allan and Kathy Fox, and Brent and Eleanor Begley from Reno. Eleanor celebrated her 94th birthday with us! And guests were delighted to see their sponsored child’s photo on their dinner place cards, thanks to a thoughtful touch by Dee.
But the biggest surprise of the night came when Dee and Brooke introduced their friends to their former sponsored child Magdalena Krasicka, who was visiting from Poland. Hearts were overflowing as Magdalena shared the compelling story of her challenging childhood in post-communist Poland and the impact that ChildFund programs and Dee’s sponsorship had on her young life. [Note: ChildFund no longer works in Poland.]
“Dee’s letters introduced me to a different world, a better world,” she told the group. “I could not believe that there was a place like America and that there were people like Dee who cared enough to invest in my life.”
As the evening continued, it was my honor to share a special update from ChildFund board member Thomas Weisner, professor of cultural anthropology at UCLA, about his visit to ChildFund programs in Zambia last summer. This helped set the stage for an energetic dialogue about current needs in Zambia and ways the group can work together to do more. The consensus: “Let’s go to Zambia!”