Dads making a difference

At Compassion Canada, we are so blessed by our volunteers who give of their time and energy to help one child at a time get the care and support they need. And since Father’s Day is coming up, we wanted to celebrate just a few of the amazing dads who volunteer for Compassion. We have asked each of them to share just a little of what they’ve learned, especially as dads, from their experiences.

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Stephen Crewson is a dad of four in Waterdown, Ontario, who has been volunteering with Compassion since 2011.

My wife and I adopted our youngest daughter from Ethiopia in 2009. After returning home from Ethiopia, we wrestled with how to process the poverty we had seen.  We asked ourselves, “What do we do with this”? This was the catalyst for my wife to begin volunteering with Compassion. We love to minister and volunteer together, so I began volunteering with her.  We enjoyed going to concerts, and it provided an excuse to get out of the house and share something together.

There was a transition when the concert became a bonus. It was so exciting to see kids sponsored. Now we have ownership of the ministry. I want to be purposeful in my life, and I know I’m not wasting my time volunteering for Compassion.

My oldest daughter and wife went to Guatemala with Compassion in 2012. It was a powerful experience for both of them, and it definitely changed our daughter. She’s always been a compassionate person, and it just gave her that much more of a world view through Christ. Volunteering has also allowed me time with my son as he enjoys going to concerts with me. He has an ability to connect with people, and it’s absolutely fabulous to see him engaged in something so valuable. Volunteering allows us to model to our kids that Christ is the most important person in our lives – and that Jesus changes lives!

Volunteering as a dad means shared experiences and learning together. Any time we volunteer, it begins to chip away at the selfishness in our lives. That’s my dream for my kids.

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André Harris is a dad of three in Calgary, Alberta, who has been volunteering with Compassion since 2008.

In 2008, I changed jobs and was looking for ways to volunteer and use my gifts. I received a pamphlet about becoming a Compassion advocate, and after thinking and praying about it, I became an advocate.

Sometimes it feels overwhelming to know that millions of children around the world live in poverty, but I remind myself of the one-child-at-a-time difference that I am helping to make through Compassion. As pastor and author Andy Stanley frequently says, “Do for one what you wish you could do for all.” That mindset helps me look for ways to get one more child sponsored, or to encourage existing sponsors to write one more letter or even plan a trip to see their child.

Volunteering and sponsoring with Compassion has helped me to educate my kids at a young age about what the world looks like beyond our little piece that they see on a daily basis. I have had a couple of chances to take my oldest son with me to a presentation so he can help me at the table. This has been a reinforcement for him to understand why dad volunteers with Compassion. We have also selected Compassion children who match our children’s birthdays. We are able to remind each of our kids on their birthdays that it’s not all about presents.

Every time I am able to contribute in some way to Compassion through volunteering, it helps to keep me grounded. It keeps the important things, the things God really cares about, in the forefront of my mind. It’s so easy to get busy with our North American life, and sometimes it’s hard to keep the proper perspective. Volunteering with Compassion not only helps to keep that proper perspective, but it also makes an eternal difference.

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Steve Metcalfe is a father of two in Sarnia, Ontario, who has been volunteering with Compassion since 2007.

Two things motivate me to volunteer for Compassion: I love Jesus and I love children. I live an easy life, full of incredible blessing. His will for all of us is to come alongside the broken and the poor and do as He did. We are called to show mercy and love and to give to the point of sacrifice.

Volunteering provides an example to my children that even though we are busy with our fun-filled lives, we need to step out of our comfort zone and work—not just for us, but for those who struggle. Seeing Compassion’s work has led me into a life of stronger reflection. I consistently evaluate my purpose in this world, who I am and what my role is in my tiny little daily life.

I had the opportunity to race a motorcycle with Compassion’s logo on it for one series to promote Compassion. I sometimes had the motorcycle at Compassion Sunday events. It was a good way to draw people in and get them talking. But whenever I speak, one thing I always say is I never feel like I’m a good advocate. I don’t feel like I’m very good at it. But I always feel God saying, “No, you’re not good at this; I’m good at this. You lean on me, and I will get the glory.” As a father, it’s very challenging to be an advocate. But that’s God’s victory in our weakness. Sometimes men feel like we have to do things in our own power. But I really feel that my volunteer work is a story about God, His power and His will.

If you’re interested in learning more about volunteering with Compassion, learn more about our awesome Volunteer Advocate Network!  

Written by: Amber Van Schooneveld

Amber Van Schooneveld is the Managing Editor for Compassion Canada. She is the author of Hope Lives and loves to help people learn more about Compassion's programs.