Sponsoring a Child Is a Great Learning Experience

Guest post by Jack Siegel

Last spring 10-year-old Jack Siegel traveled to Kenya on a ChildFund study tour, accompanied by his father John and grandmother Alice. For Jack, the highlight of the trip was meeting 10-year-old Willis, whom Alice began sponsoring right after her grandson’s birth so that the two boys, though worlds apart, could write and become long-distance friends throughout their childhoods. Jack, who has since turned 11, shares his memories of the trip.

Willis and Jack in Kenya.

The trip to Africa was great. We planted trees that will help the environment and we saw how a well helped a community. But, definitely, the best part of the trip was meeting my sponsored child Willis. That was amazing!

Willis is really nice, and he’s really smart. We took him a shirt and a soccer ball. I noticed that he was very thankful for the things we gave him. I think many Americans, especially if they’re wealthy, might not be that excited about a shirt, but he was happy and excited about it.

We took pictures of our family and we found out more about Willis’s family. His brother had died, and his family has had a lot of hardships.

But Willis is a kid like me. He enjoys playing soccer. I enjoy playing basketball. He enjoys playing with his goat. I like playing with my dog.

We had almost a full day together, and I got to find out what he likes to do — play soccer — and who is favorite soccer team is — Chelsea.

The match is on.

I got to play soccer with him. And I found out he was much better at soccer than most Americans.

Now that I’ve met Willis, it’s going to be easier to write. We can talk about what we did that afternoon for a long while.

It’s very crazy how it is that Willis and other children in Africa have so little. We have so much in this country and we spend money so shamelessly. I think my grandmother began sponsoring a child in Africa for each of her grandchildren because it’s a great learning experience for us. It’s amazing what less then $400 a year can do for a child living in Africa and other places in the world.

Sponsorship is fun. You get a friend. I have learned so much from writing letters to Willis. I plan to be his pen pal for at least 20 more years!

Right now, I just want to graduate high school and see what my options are. I might be an athlete and play basketball or football or baseball. I might not. I don’t know yet.

I just want Willis to be able to stay in school so that he can have options like I have when he grows up.

Definitely, I think more people should sponsor children. I mean, it can change a life! Without this support, children may not be able to stay in school. What if one of these children turns out to be a president of a country? Maybe a child will grow up to invent a new kind of gas or energy source — there are endless possibilities.

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