By Kate Andrews
Who knew we had such musical (and comic) talent here at ChildFund’s international office? See for yourself with our 12 Days of Christmas Remix video that highlights selections from this year’s Gifts of Love & Hope catalog. A fruit tree sapling, a team of oxen, 12 head of cattle and other gifts are featured in song, all performed by ChildFund staff.
Instead of “five golden rings,” we have “five garden tools,” sung by Matthew Straw and Jetta Washington from our sponsor care department.
That’s a traditionally memorable line in the original song (can anyone forget Miss Piggy in the Muppets’ version?), and Matt and Jetta make the most of it. Matt says they drew some attention the day before the shoot while practicing in the parking lot with props. “We wanted to have the most impact,” he says of their decision to sing number five.
Melissa Wade of the marketing department is part of the team of “biker girls” and also sings the line about “11 wellness checkups.” She’s the only one pretending to ride a bicycle, in case you have trouble identifying her. Now “everybody walks past me doing that,” she jokes. “Typical Melissa, being silly.”
The video, which was filmed in ChildFund’s library after work hours, was a lot of fun to make, and everyone came up with their own performance ideas, the participants say. They hope the video will encourage people to donate gifts from the catalog, which are requested by children in the 31 countries ChildFund serves. Celeste Pounds, the senior marketing specialist who impersonates an ox in the video, was involved in creating the catalog from day one.
As for the video, it’s worth looking a little ridiculous if we can help children, she jokes, although she did put on her sunglasses “in hopes of not being identifiable.” She adds that it was fun to spend time with colleagues in a setting away from the typical work environment, and the “milk mustache” and garden tool lines are among her favorite parts of the video.
Ruth Iswariah, a global human resources generalist, took on two roles: narrating the beginning and end of the video and singing the “two sturdy shoes” line, which she does in Hindi, the national language of India. Many children in developing countries lack sturdy shoes, and Ruth takes that situation seriously, so she asked a friend to let her daughter be in the video to represent the children who need shoes.
“Even though the video is funny, it’s moving,” Ruth says. We encourage you to watch the 12 Days of Christmas Remix, share it with your friends and family, and consider giving a gift to a child in need.
Reporting by ChildFund Bolivia
Of Maria Elena’s nine children, she and her husband still have six growing under their care on the outskirts of a big city in Bolivia. All girls, their names are Angelica, Eva, Margot, Gabriela, Rosmary and Nazareth.
And then there is Regina. She belongs to them all, thanks to a contribution through ChildFund.
A few years ago, Maria Elena’s family received a cow through ChildFund’s Gifts of Love & Hope catalog. The girls named her Regina. Maria Elena says Regina was the “greatest surprise and blessing” of their lives.
The cow provided a steady supply of fresh milk for the girls during their growing years, with enough extra that Maria Elena was able to share milk with the community center each week. This helped ChildFund’s local partner organization, Lucerito, in its programs to reduce malnutrition, which is one of the main causes of child mortality in the area. Lucerito also offers after-school support activities, access to health care and skills development workshops. Several of Maria Elena’s girls participate in the programs.
When Regina has baby calves, Maria Elena and her family give them to other families, creating a chain of benefits that has extended and multiplied — literally — within the community.
This gift of love continues to yield more gifts of love, making a difference in the lives of many growing children who live in extreme poverty in Bolivia.
Please visit our online catalog and choose a special gift for a child in ChildFund’s programs.
Reporting by ChildFund Uganda
Jesca ate better this year. The eight-year-old, who lives in Uganda’s Busia, Buyengo community, had suffered from malnutrition. But she began to flourish after her family received maize seeds from ChildFund’s Gifts of Love & Hope catalog.
The family of nine – Jesca has four brothers and two sisters – had been scraping by. The father and mother struggled as subsistence farmers, barely growing enough to eat.
Jesca’s mother couldn’t stop smiling as she looked at the maize she had been given to plant. “This is the beginning of my new life,” she remarked. Jesca was also happy since her mother kept telling her that the maize had been given to the family because of her enrollment in ChildFund’s programs.
In addition to providing the seed, ChildFund also trained the family in modern farming techniques to increase crop yield. So not only is this gift improving the children’s nutrition, the additional outputs are also boosting the family’s income, as they now have surplus maize to sell.
With the initial proceeds Jesca’s parents have bought other seeds, including ground nuts (peanuts) and eggplant. And, for the first time, they’re been able to acquire other basic necessities like salt, sugar and soap as well as books and school uniforms for Jesca and her siblings.
“I would like to wear good clothes and shoes, eat good food and sleep on a soft bed like the children of the rich men in our village,” Jesca confided, pointing to her bed made of reeds. “I would also like to speak good English like teacher.” She dreams of one day working in the medical field.
That dream doesn’t seem as far away as it did last year. Jesca’s parents have attended additional ChildFund training sessions to learn how to improve their family savings and to plan better for the future. It’s been a remarkable year of improvements in health, education and livelihood prospects. And it all began with a simple gift of seeds.
Will you help change another child’s life?
by Cynthia Price, ChildFund Communications Director
My book club was gathered together eagerly looking through a catalog trying to find the perfect gift.
Should we get a bicycle? Or a dictionary? The new mom in the group liked blankets. And what about toys? Such a clatter arose as this literary group tried to decide how best to spend its pooled funds.
It reminded me of my childhood when the Sears Wish Book would arrive. I always enjoyed thumbing through all the pages and dog-earing some of them in hopes that my parents would share my wishes with Santa.
The catalog my book club was so animatedly studying was ChildFund’s Gifts of Love & Hope. In year’s past, we’d always done a gift exchange but this year we decided we’d buy a gift for someone else. One member suggested giving through ChildFund’s catalog. Of course, since I work for ChildFund, I thought it was a wonderful suggestion. As did the others.
But what to give? Alicia, an avid kite boarder who loves the water, was in favor of a gift of clean water. Gloria loved the image of the goat on the catalog cover and was in favor of giving a farm animal. I liked the bicycles because I knew it meant girls who travel long distances to school would be able to get to school more easily. If they weren’t so tired from walking, they could concentrate better.
It was so hard to decide. We debated. We counted our money. We increased our limit. In the end, we remained true to our literary side. We chose a classroom map and dictionary. As Rowena said, “We’re a book club. We have to buy a book!”
But that wasn’t enough for us. Tena, the new mom, made a good point about toys helping children develop. So we added in toys for an early childhood development center caring for sick children in Ethiopia.
We left book club without packages, boxes or bags. But like the Grinch, our hearts “grew three sizes that day!” And we left with a merry feeling.
Have you thought about giving a gift that will change a child’s life?
by LaTasha Chambers, Communications Associate
It’s that time of year when you make your holiday gift list and check it twice. Before you head out to fight the crowds at the mall, may I suggest adding a chicken or a cow to your gift list?
True, neither will fit into a stocking hanging over your fabulously decorated mantle, but both will fit right in with a family in one of the countries where ChildFund works.
And you don’t have to make a trip to the mall! You’ll find these gifts and more in ChildFund’s 2011 Gifts of Hope & Love catalog. Each item is chosen specifically for the families who live in the regions where ChildFund works. These are the gifts they desire and need most. The catalog features unique presents like chickens, cows, goats, water pumps and weaving supplies – something special for everyone on your list.
Your loved ones will be honored to know that you selected a gift in their honor that enhances the quality of life for children and families. Chickens provide nutritious eggs; cows provide milk and also manure for improved farming soil; and water pumps provide entire communities with reliable water source. Purchasing a goat enables a family not only to receive nourishment from milk, cheese and yogurt, but also income from selling these resources.
A gift from ChildFund’s catalog is a perfect way to honor a relative, co-worker or friend. In addition to purchasing a special gift, you have the convenient option of shopping online or by phone (800-610-9013). So on Black Friday, feel free to lounge in your favorite pair of holiday pajamas while you peruse the Gifts of Love & Hope.
Here’s to a meaningful, stress-free holiday season!
by Cynthia Price, ChildFund Director of Communications
Janine Infurnari interned at ChildFund last summer. For one of her classes at Virginia Commonwealth University this year, she and fellow students were asked to pick a charitable organization around Richmond, identify the nonprofit’s target audience and come up with an ad campaign to attract volunteers or donations.
Not surprisingly, Janine picked ChildFund. “I thought of ChildFund immediately since I had interned and was very familiar with the work you do and the brand itself. It was a positive experience and I felt a connection with the brand, so I enjoyed thinking about it further,” she says.
“I wanted to focus on a lesser known way to give donations, so I chose gifting,” she explains. ChildFund’s Gifts of Love & Hope catalog became her focal point for the project. “The option to give a gift might appeal to a college student or single parent who might not have reliable funds to sponsor a child but still wants to help,” she notes.
Janine created these three great ads.
What do you think of the ads? And what ideas do you have to promote ChildFund’s work?
If you’re down to the wire finishing your shopping, ChildFund’s Gifts of Love and Hope catalog has got you covered.
Each tax-deductible item will help vulnerable children in practical and tangible ways — and will be used exactly as described in the catalog. As you choose unique gifts and check off that shopping list, you’re helping ensure a brighter future for children and families in the 31 countries where ChildFund works.
A special card will be sent in your name to the gift recipients on your list. Think how pleased they’ll be to discover your special gift to them is also
You’ll find these gifts and many more in our catalog. Place your order online , or call ChildFund toll-free at 800-776-6767, 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.
Thank you for making a difference with a gift of love and hope!
P.S. And for the ultimate stocking stuffer — how about a see-saw for children in Sri Lanka? (#49487, $143).
by Monica Planas, Regional Communications Manager, ChildFund Americas
Because living conditions in Bolivia are challenging, many families struggle to feed and support their loved ones.
ChildFund Bolivia and its Estrella del Sur Project strategically analyze and plan to help families survive hard times and become more self-sufficient. Each community has different needs, problems and scenarios, so ChildFund works with and for the communities, seeking ways to guide, contribute and facilitate processes that will allow them to eventually make it on their own.
ChildFund’s Gifts of Love & Hope catalog is one direct means for Bolivian families to acquire necessities that help alleviate hardships.
A few years ago, the Estrella del Sur project requested two ovens to equip a kitchen for training community members in pastry and baking techniques. Thanks to these trainings, many community members now have a place to prepare baked goods, which they sell to earn a living.
ChildFund organizes periodic trainings to keep community members involved in constant learning and up to speed on the latest baking and decorating techniques. With these skills, they can compete in the market and offer their products at a higher price.
The Estrella del Sur project community kitchen also has a batter mixer, (another Gifts of Love & Hope request) and several other bakery equipment items and tools purchased specifically to help train the community.
Last year, the project used funds to purchase cake displays and hot dog carts for a group of families interested in working hard to improve their economic conditions. Many families are gaining economic value from the cake displays that were purchased with the support of committed child sponsors. The displays, which provide a pleasing exhibit of the cakes baked by community members, boost sales at Mother’s Day, Fathers Day and national holidays. And 10 families benefit from the hot dog carts used on a daily basis on the streets of Bolivia.
The training and support from ChildFund doesn’t end there, the Estrella del Sur project also delivers entrepreneur and small business workshops for those who wish to take that extra step.
Children, youth and parents are able to take advantage of these workshops, led by consultants who guide them through the process of setting up a small business. Community members gain marketing, sales and financial tools, empowering them to make a better living.
“It’s amazing how members of the community gain self-confidence with our workshops,” says Alvaro Vargas, ChildFund Bolivia coordinator for the Estrella del Sur Project. “Many of the mothers, youth and children who attend our workshops never thought they would be able to approach people and make a sale; they lacked the self-confidence to do so,” she says. “At ChildFund, we not only develop communities, but also the individual.”
by Virginia Sowers, ChildFund Community Manager
Spending Black Friday at the big-box store or local mall has become a post-Thanksgiving tradition for many Americans eager to get a jump-start on holiday shopping.
But it can also be a bit harried…getting up at o-dark-thirty for that special bargain in limited quantities, navigating a crowded parking lot, hurrying to be first in line.
Just think how pleased they will be to know you took time to honor them with a gift that helps children in practical and lasting ways.
The gifts are unique, and each comes with a guarantee that the item you select will be used exactly as described in the catalog—whether that’s to improve the nutrition of young children and income for their families or to provide learning and development toys for a school.
A few samples to help get your shopping started:
Please visit our online catalog to view our full selection of special gifts. It’s a shopping experience sure to brighten your Friday, and that light will spread across the world.
by Jennifer Harter, Public Relations Specialist, St. Catherine’s School
Each Monday morning for the past school year, students in St. Catherine’s lower school in Richmond, Va., proudly brought in their pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and even some paper money. They carried it in sandwich bags, brown paper bags, canvas totes and nearly every container imaginable.
The collective goal of “Make a Change Mondays” was to make a difference in the lives of other children around the world who are in need. Proceeds from the project along with another school fundraiser during the year are being donated to ChildFund International.
The students’ efforts remain true to the spirit of the school’s sacred motto: “What we keep we lose; only what we give remains our own.”
“We made a positive difference in the lives of others by putting our concerns into action and taking on a number of special projects in the area of community service,” says Margaret Bloor, lower school director.
The students raised more than $800.
“It took a long time to count,” says third-grade teacher Ashley Miller, who coordinated the project. “The kids had helped with some, but, wow, there was still a lot to count. It took me hours and I could hardly carry it over to the business office it was so heavy!”
Beyond just raising money for ChildFund, Miller wanted to tie classroom lessons for each grade level to the project. So she turned to the Gifts of Love and Hope catalog for some teaching ideas.
“I tried to choose things that were relevant to each grade,” Miller explains. “For example, the kindergarten hatches chicken eggs in incubators in their classrooms, so I made giving chicks to families for food and income a [fundraising] choice for those girls.
“The second graders study Jamestown, where hundreds of people died of malaria, so I included mosquito nets as one of their choices.”
At the end of the year when the spare change was tallied, each grade level voted on which items to give from the Gifts of Love and Hope:
St. Catherine’s School is the only all-girls school in the Richmond area for junior kindergarten through 12th grade. An Episcopal school, St. Catherine’s offers a rigorous college preparatory education through a community of teachers and staff committed to fostering the development of the mind, body and spirit.