Thursday, December 21, 2006

Love in Action

"Christmas, my child, is love in action... every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas." -- Dale Evans Rogers, 1912-2001, American Movie Star, Singer and Songwriter

The spirit of holidays is sharing and giving. There are a lot of people who are less fortunate than us. Why not find a worthy charity to send your donations or volunteer for a good cause during the holidays?

One of the charities I've supported for more than 10 years is Plan (formerly ChildReach). Plan was founded in 1937 and its mission is to achieve lasting improvements in the quality of life of deprived children in developing countries. Plan began as a child sponsorship organization. Today, they are one of the oldest and largest organizations of its kind— their grassroots, self-help programs assist more than 10 million children and their families in poor communities around the world (63 countries). The money received from a child's sponsor not only goes to the child & his/her family, but also goes to improve the overall quality of life for the entire village the child lives. They have programs to help the families become financially self-sufficient, and provide better health care, education, water quality, etc. for the entire community.

The girl in the picture is my "sponsored child" Tran Ly who lives in Vietnam with her parents and little brother. Isn't she beautiful? I've sponsored her since she was less than 1 year old, and now she is almost 12. Since I started sponsoring her, her family had built a new house (they were so proud of it) and their village had also made much progress in many areas, with the help of Plan's programs and resources. Plan mailed me progress reports, letters from her parents, Ly's drawings, and Ly's pictures several times a year. Their volunteers translate our correspondences to each other, so we can stay in touch. It's been a very rewarding experience for me. Ly is only 5 months older than my own daughter. I hope someday we can visit her & her family in Vietnam and she can meet my daughter too.

What's your favorite charity and/or volunteer work? This holiday season, find something worthy of your support, and invite your family and community to get involved too.

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