December 12th 2012
I could hear them long before they actually entered our office. Loud, full of life, and bursting with energy, Faith and Nai-Nai are regulars at UPI, always coming down after class to visit and chat about school and their latest adventures. They are always welcome distractions from work, making me laugh and infusing my day with light-hearted banter and jokes. Last week, Kelly and I were working on UPI’s child sponsorship program, so our desks were covered with photographs of youths from Malawi. The girls began to ask questions about the kids, and they were surprised to learn of the many challenges facing youth in Malawi, with 75% of them unable to attend secondary school.
Sure, the conversation was great. We could feel good about promoting the program and increasing awareness, even if it was only 2 high schoolers.
But then it got interesting.
Faith picked up the photo of a young boy named Orrisen and asked Kelly how much it would cost to sponsor him. They left with the photo in hand, and we moved on to other tasks, not giving too much thought to the encounter.
Fast forward to one week later, when I was visiting UrbanPromise’s high school. Nai-Nai hefts a piggy bank onto the desk, stuffed with dollars and change. After their visit to our office weeks ago, they approached their classmates, explained Orrisen’s situation and how their support could provide him with meals, Bible lessons, and academic tutoring. In just a week, they raised more than enough to meet their first month’s responsibility as sponsors.
Sometimes, in the midst of our desires to do big things, we forget about the power that lies in small acts. In our fervor to draw in large donations, we overlook those with smaller pockets. But, when we come together, sharing that which we can offer as individuals, that’s when we can effect change.
Loose change doesn’t look like much, but when it’s combined with passion and enthusiasm, those pennies and dimes multiply.
A child in Malawi will go to program because of it.
A group of high schoolers, undaunted by age or finances, gave what they had and changed a life.