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How To Give Children Hope

11 July 2013

I get happy when our little Compassion magazine shows up in our mailbox. I can’t resist sitting down immediately and flipping it open.

The last one was based on the results of an independent study, conducted by Dr. Bruce Wydick, professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, and his team. They contacted Compassion, and other organizations that do child sponsorship, to ask if they could do this study to see – basically – if child sponsorship works.


Dr. Bruce Wydick … and a team of researchers spent two years in six developing countries where Compassion has offered its Child Sponsorship Program. In April, the prestigious Journal of Political Economy published their peer-reviewed research, which found “large and statistically significant impacts” of Compassion’s child development program.

The researchers found that adults who had been sponsored through Compassion as children were significantly better off than unsponsored children in the areas of education, employment and leadership.

The stories and statistics are amazing. You can read most of it here.

There was a smaller piece toward the end, though, that I just love: 

In a research project in Indonesia, children with 24 new crayons before them had creative decisions to make. “Draw a picture of yourself in the rain” was their only directive. Would they reach for bright colors or choose brown and black? More important: Would they draw themselves holding an umbrella, huddling beneath a structure, or exposed to the elements? These crayon artists included children currently sponsored in Compassion’s program, their unsponsored siblings, and unsponsored children who lived nearby.

The psychological tests were among follow-up studies conducted by Dr. Bruce Wydick and his colleagues and grew out of Wydick’s research project outlined in this issue of the magazine. During their two-year study of formerly sponsored children’s adult life outcomes, the researchers grew curious about the psychological factors behind their findings that formerly sponsored children went to school longer and were more likely to have white-collar jobs than their unsponsored peers.

The children’s drawings in the ancillary study amazed the researchers. Compared with the unsponsored children, the sponsored kids were far more likely to draw themselves holding an umbrella and to use bright colors — indicators of self-assurance and optimism. Based on the preliminary findings, “We find that Compassion children are happier,” Wydick says. “We find that they have higher self-esteem and that they are less hopeless. They’re more hopeful than nonsponsored children.”


That’s just awesome.

So – little plug – did you know you can give a kid hope – and food and an education and spiritual guidance and medicine and basic necessities – for $38/month? Times are tight and things are tough for a lot of us, but maybe take another look at that crayon picture and then take another look at your budget.

Compassion is one of the best organizations to use. Their books are open. They have the highest rankings on services like Charity Navigator. And now there’s an independent, secular study proving that it works. Click here to pick a child to sponsor.

Are you a child sponsor? What organization do you use? What do you love about it?

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