We are very grateful to regularly receive testimonials from our incredible volunteer coordinators around the world, because they have the opportunity to see first-hand the amazing impact that our sponsors and donors are having on the lives of impoverished children all over the globe. We would like to share a beautiful letter with you from Neil, one of our volunteer coordinators in North Carolina, in which he expresses his gratitude and appreciation for our programs — and more importantly, for our sponsors.

A letter from Neil

Your donations mean so much to our sponsored kids — and our volunteer coordinators.

“Dear Children Incorporated Staff and Sponsors,

“Words seem inadequate as I think about the smiles and heartfelt appreciation my students demonstrate for the gifts and letters they receive from their sponsors. How do I describe the pride a student exhibits as he walks down the hall in a new pair of sneakers? Or the twinkle in our students’ eyes and the voracious manner in which they read letters from their sponsors as they try to imagine far-off places? I do not believe it is possible to describe the gratitude the students, or I, feel for the sponsors. Words are not enough.

“Let me tell you a story about sneakers. There are two boys who come immediately to mind. Life has dealt them a very difficult hand. Both have absentee parents and are being raised by either a grandparent or great-grandparents. While having many excuses to be mad at the world that create waves of pain and anger, both of these young men work diligently to learn as much as they can, follow the rules, and interact with their classmates in a cooperative manner. They come to school and do their very best every day.

“At Christmas, I asked each of them what they would like from their sponsors. Both wanted a pair of Stephen Curry high-top sneakers. I told them I would see what I could do. Because of their sponsors’ monthly funds and additional holiday gifts, I was able to get both boys exactly what they requested. Each of these young men are used to being disappointed, to having promises made to them that are ultimately broken; and to wish for brand-name products, and to get discount brands instead. That is their experience in life.”

‘Thank you’ doesn’t express how much the assistance from Children Incorporated and the sponsors mean to the students and me. Know that it is heartfelt and truly meant.

– Neil

“When they sat down in my office, opened their bags of gifts, and there in their hands were the coolest shoes a kid could get, they were in disbelief; and then they smiled. Tenderly, they pulled their new shoes from the boxes, as if they were plated in gold — and the bright colors dazzled their eyes. One young man looked up to as if to ask if they were really his, and he had to be encouraged to try them on. One asked to wash his hands before he tried them on so he wouldn’t get them dirty.

“The other day, I greeted one of the young men as he was dropped off at school.  The shoes looked almost as good as they did the day he got them. I asked his grandmother about this, and she stated that every day when he comes home from school, he takes off his shoes, washes them, and puts them away. He told her that he has to take care of them because they are the nicest shoes he has ever received in his life. This from a rough-and-tumble boy is an example of the worth he places in those shoes.”

Another special story

“It is unfair that I get to see the smiles from these children when you, their sponsors, might not. There have been times, like those described above, which bring tears to my eyes. One small girl, upon receiving her new, sparkling shoes, had to show me how well she could spin like a ballerina – the entire time, watching how her new shoes sparkled in the light. Another couldn’t stop tapping her feet to make the lights in her shoes come on and go off. Another young lady ran up to me and gave me a very unexpected hug (she is a child who seldom expresses her emotions), and spun around, showing me her new outfit, stating ‘I feel like a millionaire in these clothes.’ Things that I would take for granted meant the world to these students.

We are so grateful for your support of children in need.

“There is one last story I would like to share. One of the Children Incorporated sponsored children at my school is intellectually and physically disabled. Non-verbal and unable to provide for his own care, I have to depend on his caregivers to find out what to get him. They told me he loves blocks, and loves to put them away after playing with them. For Christmas, thanks to his sponsor, he received several different types of blocks and a container to put them in. While he wasn’t able to open them, as the caregivers opened his gifts and showed them to him, I could tell he was quite happy and excited.

“After Christmas break, the caregivers reported that he played incessantly with the blocks, arranging them and stacking them. When finally tired, he would use as much care as he could to put each block in his new container. One day shortly after the end of Christmas break, I was in his classroom giving a guidance lesson for him and his classmates. The boy, typically remote and aloof, began to smack his hands together, beat on his desk, and attempted to ‘talk’ to me. I walked over to him and offered him my hand. This student had never attempted to interact with me before that day. He began patting my hand – and in an ultimate display of affection, took my hand and rubbed it back and forth over his head.

“He chattered away at me and repeatedly patted my hand and had me rub his head during the rest of the guidance lesson. Never would I have believed that the boy understood that the blocks came from me. But he did. And he displayed the tremendous depths of his gratitude in the only manner his unique mind and body could. I left his classroom that day with a profound sense of humility. I had received a blessing his sponsor should have received. And what a humbling blessing it was for me.

“’Thank you’ doesn’t express how much the assistance from Children Incorporated and the sponsors mean to the students and me. Know that it is heartfelt and truly meant.”



You can sponsor a child in North Carolina in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.


written by Shelley Callahan

Shelley is the Director of Development for Children Incorporated. She is also the lead social correspondent, regularly contributing insights through the Stories of Hope blog series. Sign up for Stories of Hope to receive weekly email updates about how your donations are changing the lives of children in need.

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