As a Compassion sponsor, you play a crucial role in releasing a child from poverty in Jesus’ name. You help ensure a child has the tools they need to thrive, as part of Compassion’s child sponsorship program.

But as you might guess, there are so many people involved in a child’s development. As they say, it takes a village! The role of the sponsor is just one of many in a child’s life. As a sponsor, you join a multitude of people who surround each child in our programs to ensure they can develop in every aspect of life.

Today, we want to highlight 8 key people who play a role in a child’s development.

1. Parent or caregiver

An Ethiopian boy embraces his grandmother. They are sitting in a church sanctuary.

Yonas with his grandmother, Abebech, in Ethiopia.

Child development starts at home. Children in Compassion’s programs live with a parent or caregiver such as a grandparent or other relative.

Compassion’s program is never meant to replace the vital role of a parent or caregiver. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! Our child development model recognizes the importance of parents and caregivers, supporting and investing in families through programs like income generation initiatives.

2. Neighbours and community members

A boy in El Salvador hands a bag of groceries to an elderly neighbour.

Compassion-sponsored youth Alfredo delivers groceries to an elderly woman in his neighbourhood in El Salvador.

In many communities where Compassion kids live, leaning on your next-door neighbours is a beautiful norm that those from more individualized contexts might find unfamiliar.

In rural towns and city slums around the world, kids are raised by trusted neighbours—people who keep an eye out when a parent or caregiver needs to work their second job, have kids over for meals, and help keep kids safe.

The really awesome thing is that because of Compassion’s local church-driven model, those same neighbours are often the staff and volunteers at the local Compassion centre, such as volunteer cooks and even the Compassion centre director…

3. Compassion centre director

A Mexican woman wearing a white blouse sits by a body of water.

Belen is a Compassion centre director in Mexico.

The Compassion centre director is chosen by the local community to oversee the Compassion program at a local church partner. This includes managing the staff and volunteers who know, love and connect with each child in the Compassion program.

“Being centre director demands a lot of work that feels like a huge responsibility, but it is something I really like and enjoy doing,” says Belen, a Compassion centre director in Mexico. “I love being at the centre. The laughter, faces, hugs and prayers of the children and my co-workers fill my heart with energy and joy. I constantly learn from the children and their parents and being able to see their faces when they receive a letter, a gift, or food they like is priceless.”

While sharing his story with us, Compassion alumnus Martin, from Uganda, said this about his centre director: “There was an interesting individual at the centre. She was our centre director and she was talented in such a way that you would feel safe when you were around her. … I wanted to be like [her] when I grew up.”

4. Compassion centre tutor

A woman in Togo sits in a classroom where children are working on a chalkboard in the background.

Justine is a tutor at a Compassion centre in Togo.

Another key staff member at the Compassion centre is a child’s tutor. At the Compassion centre, children and youth are put into groups based on age. Each age group is assigned a tutor who completes weekly lessons during Compassion centre programming and acts as a mentor to each child.

Justine is a tutor for the 3- to 5-year-olds at a Compassion centre in Togo. “The most important thing to being a good teacher is to have patience,” she says.

5. Pastor or church leader

A Filipino pastor sits in his church's sanctuary.

Pastor Ganiban is the pastor at one of Compassion’s local church partners in the Philippines.

Every Compassion centre is run by a local church partner. This ensures our programs are locally-led and keeps spiritual development a central part of Compassion’s child development program. Every child and family is connected to a local church and has the opportunity to learn about Jesus.

This model requires key leadership and investment from local pastors. The pastors at Compassion’s local church partners are dedicated individuals committed to seeing kids in their community thrive.

Pastor Ganiban is the pastor of Promised Land Baptist Church in the Philippines. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he doubled down on his commitment to serving children living in poverty in his community.

“We are motivated by the word of God to help the needy, and my family supports me in this,” he says. “We always look for the best interest of others. It is in times like this when it is most important that we help the neediest.”

6. Healthcare professionals

A doctor smiles with a child sitting on his lap.

Dr. Luis serves the children at DR0521, a Compassion centre in the Dominican Republic.

A key aspect of Compassion’s program is ensuring a child’s healthy physical development. That’s where doctors and other healthcare professionals come in.

As part of our Survival program, moms and babies receive comprehensive pre- and post-natal care. As part of our sponsorship programs, kids receive annual check-ups and major medical interventions when needed. Compassion’s programs also include workshops on health-related topics like disease prevention.

“It is difficult to see a child in poor health, to see their parents desperate to help them, but without resources. That’s why I love to work here, because God uses me to be part of the integral treatment in the lives of these children and help them move towards a path of development, health, wellness, and much more hopeful life,” says Dr. Luis, who serves at Compassion centre DR0521.

7. Educators

A teacher in a classroom in Haiti.

A teacher in a classroom in Haiti.

Of course, education is a vital part of child development, setting children up to take hold of a future free from poverty. No one is more vital in this aspect of a child’s life than their teacher. Teachers play a critical role in child development!

“Teaching drew me for several reasons: the long-term impact on kids, the highly relational aspect of the job, plus the fact that I enjoy books, elementary Math, Science, and Gym class! I know children are significant and worth the investment,” says Canadian teacher and Compassion volunteer Halina.

Across the world, teachers make a significant impact on kids!

8. Compassion sponsor

A girl in Colombia holds up a photo of her sponsors

Sara, in Colombia, holds up a photo of her sponsor Pamela’s family.

Rounding out this list: Compassion sponsors! Sponsors play a significant role in child development. Compassion child sponsorship provides the resources for kids to thrive. Through letters, prayers and sometimes even a visit, sponsors provide life-changing encouragement, inspiration and motivation to Compassion kids.

Compassion alumna Ria, from the Philippines, says this: “Knowing that someone cares for you, it changes you. I thought, if this stranger is caring for me, then the Lord is, too. That’s how I felt the love of Jesus—it was through my sponsor and the people at my Compassion centre.”

A crucial role in a child’s development is waiting for you—become a Compassion sponsor today.

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Alyssa Esparaz

Alyssa Esparaz

Alyssa is Compassion Canada's Manager of Content and Public Relations, telling stories that inspire and equip compassionate people to take action on behalf of children in poverty. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto, where she studied International Development, and a current Master of Communications Management student at McMaster University.