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Sponsoring a Child has a Positive Influence on Family

Sponsoring a Child has a Positive Influence on Family

When Mark, Jenny and their children came up the stairs at St. Eugene Parish thirteen years ago, Jenny noticed a picture of Christine from Uganda. Christine became their sponsored child through CARITAS For Children's child sponsorship programs. Mark and Jenny hoped that sponsoring a child in need would show their own two children the importance of caring about another person.

Christine.jpg Christine in the early days of sponsorship

Being sponsored meant that Christine would be able to attend Stella Maris Boarding School in Nkokonjeru and her mother wouldn't have to worry about school fees. Christine's father had passed away when she was only seven years old. Her mom was struggling just to feed her family, so school fees were unattainable.

Participating in CARITAS' child sponsorship programs not only meant Christine would receive a quality education, she would also have daily nutritious meals and the support of her teachers, the Little Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi as well as Mark and Jenny and their kids.

When the family first started communications with Christine, Jenny noticed how eager Christine was to learn.  As time went along, Christine expressed her interests and many stories were shared. Christine became accomplished at theater, writing and singing. Jenny's family would read their letters out loud to one another and together they prayed for Christine and her family.

Jenny remembered when the family was able to visit with Christine via Skype at a CARITAS For Children community event and the children were so excited to see her. "They saw each other for the first time, jumping up and down, having fun with the love they share. Maybe they spoke only for a few minutes," Jenny continued, "But these are the little blessings that have become a series of joy throughout the years."

Along with the people of St. Eugene's church, Jenny and her family had the opportunity to visit Uganda and were able to spend time with Christine. "There was Christine at her school and she was standing in line, we noticed her right away. This was an immediate bonding, we hugged, laughed and shared stories in joyful tears."

Jenny_Christine_Claire.jpgJenny, Christine, and Claire, Jenny's daughter, in Uganda in 2012.

Spending time person to person with Christine helped change Jenny and Mark's family in a more awakened and thoughtful way. After the visit to Uganda, Jenny recognized a change in her family for the better.

Christine_Claire.jpg Christine and Claire

"We must recognize our blessings," Jenny commented, "Christine did more for us, allowing us to get to know her. Our family looks at life and the world differently. Our knowledge of people in need, our environment that needs improvement, things we take for granted here, like having running water on a daily basis."

Jenny remembered the scripture passage, "Much is required from those to whom much is given." (Luke 12: 48) She said sponsoring Christine has allowed them "To look outside ourselves. It's opened our eyes to how others live."

"We have a love of community and I'm more aware of the plight of the poor in Greater Milwaukee. I'm giving locally to places that are important to me. And I find my life personally enriched through faith and sponsoring - calmness, where once there would be thoughts of worrying about personal needs. I feel the here and now in daily life. Sponsoring Christine these past eleven years, our family faith has been enriched - building a relationship that is so positive and it's helped us as a family."