Honduras to Washington: A Sponsorship Story

By Kate Andrews, ChildFund Staff Writer

Bob and Margaret Erickson

Bob and Margaret Erickson, ChildFund sponsors.

In a small Honduran village in the mountains, 12-year-old Yunior writes letters regularly to Margaret and Bob Erickson, who live in Washington state, a continent away. They’ve sponsored him through ChildFund since 2005, when Yunior was only 3 years old. A lot has changed in that time, particularly his communication skills.

“He’s taking English classes now. He’s writing to us in English,” Margaret says with excitement. “We have no children, and we are going to try to set up something so he can go further in school. He’s a very important part of our lives.”

Ten years ago, the Ericksons decided to sponsor a younger child so they could follow him through his childhood, helping where they could. He’s the first child they’ve sponsored. Yunior’s mother had died, and his father’s family took him in, although his grandfather and uncle were only earning about $42 a month. Because Yunior was too young to write, his aunts and grandmother wrote letters to the Ericksons on his behalf.

photo of Yunior

Yunior’s smiling picture from Christmas 2014.

“I didn’t know what to call ourselves, but his aunt called us godparents,” Margaret recalls. In the passing years, Yunior has had happy and sad experiences; his grandmother passed away, but he also has succeeded in school. He’s now in seventh grade, and his favorite classes are math and English, Margaret says. She and her husband have sent money for Christmas, which Yunior often uses for practical purposes like clothes and shoes, and they also paid for a floor for the family’s house and a bed for Yunior, who had been sleeping on the ground.

“I’ve totally encouraged him to stay in school and do well,” Margaret says. “I’ve told him if he needs anything for school that he can’t afford, to let me know.”

Bob Erickson is a retired civil engineer, and Margaret was an internationally certified ophthalmology technician, setting up doctors’ practices remotely and often dealing with new eye diseases that immigrants carried to western Washington as they begin new lives in the United States. The couple has long had an interest in international travel and has visited the Panama Canal, the Falkland Islands and glaciers in a South American inlet.

Aside from receiving letters from Yunior, the Ericksons sometimes get photos from him. For years, he has posed for pictures with a grim look on his face, so Margaret asked him to smile in a picture this year.

“This Christmas, he gave us an awesome, big smile,” she reports. “He is a delight, and we truly love him.”

3 Responses to Honduras to Washington: A Sponsorship Story

  • I truly say whenever I read such story I feel happy. This is just because I have the interest to help specially primary school children in my locality . But I am totally poor even though I am a retired expert Nurse Instructor. Therefore, I have submitted papers ” Requesting for supporting Fund” to some of the NGOs in my country Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, so that I organize to help some of the school children who are unable/able to learn primary school because of family, food and nutrition, and Health problems. Thus I usually read Child Fund International documents on internet and I was impressed to the story you wrote.
    I appreciate ;
    Thank you !

  • I am glad to hear such experiences with sponsor children. I consider my sponsor children as grandchildren. Yes, it is wonderful seeing the change in the childrens’ attitude toward life when they learn they are being sponsored. It is as though they are born again into a new life.

  • I am so happy to read a story like this. I am one of the former sponsored child of ChildFund. Mr. Edward and Delight Wilson were may sponsored parent for almost 13 years. ChildFund and my sponsored parents have a great contributions on my life. They supported me on my studies until I have graduated and now, i’m working as community organizer. Being a one of the sponsored child, I’ve learned a lot and they taught us to be a good person, to love the others and to care the community. They developed me a better person and now I was able to applied everything I’ve learned in my ChildFund days used it in my work today. BIG THANKS to ChildFund and to my Sponsored parent MR. EDWARD and MRS. DELIGHT WILSON! 🙂

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