Please keep in mind when writing your letters:
- In your first letter, we recommend you take the time to introduce yourself to your sponsored child. Your sponsored child will want to learn more about you, your life, your school and even of your family. Sharing photos is encouraged. You are the child's only sponsor and probably the only friend outside his or her country. Utilize this chance to leave a great first impression on your sponsored child. Your sponsored child intends to do the same in his or her first letter to you.
- Feel free to share information about your family, friends, and interests.
- You should write with complete positivity to motivate and encourage the child to pursue his/her dreams.
- Refrain from using religious reference or sending any religious item if you are sponsoring a child from a non-Christian majority country. Otherwise, you can express some of your beliefs but make sure that you are not influencing the child’s faith.
- Avoid discussions about politics.
- Although your patriotism is OK, don't display nationalistic behavior ("my country or country's team is better than yours" attitude). Your sponsored child is patriotic and loves his/her country and sports team. It’s better to talk about what is good about his/her country in terms of sports and dance arts.
- Be careful with your wording. "My dear" and "Love" are too intimate for some cultures.
- Ask open-ended questions! Examples: When did you start dancing? How long each day do you train? What are your activities outside the school? What holidays do you celebrate? Do you have siblings? Have you competed internationally? What is your favorite subject in school? But only ask a few questions at a time! Asking too many questions in one letter may overwhelm the child.
- Photos of you, your family, friends, and even your pets are acceptable.
- Photos of you in your gym, school, training are valued.
- Please be sensitive when choosing photos, as standards of clothing and modesty vary in other countries.
Considering they are the children of a digital age, many children in our program love to share and receive video messages:
- You may send a video by using YouTube. These are very popular with sponsored children. Your sponsored child will be able to send video messages to you as well. You can share your video by sending the link to your video through our correspondence system. Remember to set the video as private!
- If you want to increase the chances your sponsored child will send you a video message, it is best to take the initiative and create a video message first. You can include a video in a letter to the child. Try creating a video introducing yourself and showing your home, gym, city or school. Ask some questions in English that the child can answer. This may spur a video from the child in return. Creating a video of yourself first will make the child more comfortable creating a video in return for you. It's best to include a letter with the video in case the child has a hard time understanding you in the video. We only translate letters. Children in some poor countries may not be able to create a video due to a lack of mobile devices, so there is no guarantee you will receive a video response.
- Most children in our program start learning English in the 1'st grade (6 to 7 years old). If the child is younger, please don't expect the child to understand English in your video. However, your written letters will be translated for the child. We, unfortunately, can not translate videos.
- Popular videos with Sponsored Children: Gymnastics Challenges, Videos showing tour of home and child's room, School tour, trips (such as to the mall), Gymnastics/Cheerleading Clubs, drawings in journals, showing child's gym supplies, clips from training or competition, and practicing the English language.
If I mail out my letter via post, what can I include with my letter to my sponsored child?
Here are a few ideas for inexpensive, fun items that fit in a small envelope: Stickers, bandanas, pencils, postcards, hair ribbons, bookmarks, coloring books, small puzzles, paper airplanes, balloons, small notebooks, colored pencils, small and flat handmade items like paintings or drawings.
Please don’t send money of any currency (it could be confiscated), jewelry, crayons (they could melt), toys or items that look expensive, keepsakes or items of great sentimental value, and food or candy.
The number of letters you receive from your sponsored child depends on the number of letters you send.
Your sponsored child will respond to your letters; however, because of remote locations and inadequate postal services, a reply could take up to 2 months. (You can avoid the long delays by sending the letter electronically.) In most cases, a staff member will need to translate the letter from the local language. (You should receive the original letter along with the translation.) When a child responds to your letter, you will get a copy of the letter digitally through the Online Portal. When the letter arrives, you will get an email. If you wish to have the original letter sent to you by regular mail, you can reply to ask us to send the original letter.