I was pretty pleased with the look of the theme I had chosen. The writing was presented in a clean frame. I had decided not to put a widget panel on the right side. You may not be aware of this unless you are familiar with WordPress, but you have the ability to create a panel on the right side of the web page where you can put things like Follow Me buttons, a place to register for a newsletter, etc.
I decided not to put anything more on the page to keep the clean design. And then I got the annual reports about the children that Claudia, my wife, and I sponsor with Compassion and World Vision. I also received a notice about the number of children who were awaiting child sponsorship, and I wondered how I could help.
And so I decided to mess up my clean design and put information about sponsoring a child in that right widget panel.
Knowing that there are huge numbers of children in poverty pulls at my heartstrings, of course. But sponsoring a child really does have an impact on the child, their family, and their community. A professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, along with a couple of colleagues, did a study to determine if child sponsorship programs like Compassion and World Vision really work. Among other things, they found that sponsored children were 50% to 80% more likely to finish a university education, 30% to 70% more likely to become community leaders, and 14% to 18% to have salaried employment than a non-sponsored child. (The range in percents is dependant on the country.) The researchers also found that the health and welfare of the entire community where a sponsorship program was instituted got better, not just the health and welfare of the sponsored children.
I first became aware of this research when I read an article by the professor who did the research, Dr. Bruce Wydick, in Christianity Today. You can find his article here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/june/want-to-change-world-sponsor-child.html. However, unless you subscribe to Christianity Today you won’t be able to see the entire article. For a synopsis, you can read “Does Child Sponsorship Work?” on the Compassion site: http://www.compassion.com/does-child-sponsorship-work.htm.
Please explore the opportunity to sponsor a child! There are other good programs, I’m sure, but I have been impressed with both Compassion and World Vision.