By Kathy McCaw

My journey in sponsoring a VivaKid began in March 2012 as a result of a mission trip to the CIMIV school in San Pedro de Macorís, DR. After spending a week with around 200 kids who attended the school and lived in great poverty on the surrounding neighborhood, I knew I needed and WANTED to make a commitment to keep the mission going through sponsorship.

I returned home, logged onto and searched through the kids who were available to be sponsored. I thought it would be hard to choose who to sponsor, until I saw Yarieli’s picture. You see,  during the trip I took a picture  of  this girl who was just beautiful to me. She embodied the beauty of those kids that I spent the week with, and guess who was open for sponsorship? That’s right, beautiful Yarieli. It was a no brainer from that point of who I would sponsor. 

Through the 7 years that I have had the privilege of being a part of her life, our relationship has grown into something much greater than me paying a monthly payment and receiving an annual picture/ update. We have become family…as much as a language barrier and thousands of miles allows. I have visited her home, met her mom multiple times, been able to meet specific needs outside of sponsorship dollars, have been prayed for by Yarieli and her family, and have watched an 8 year old grow into a beautiful 15 year old. My kids have met her during their 2 trips there, and they all look at each other as family. Yarieli frequently sends FaceBook messages to check up on her American brothers. 

I sponsor other kids through VivaKids, and each experience has been unexpectedly amazing. You see, it starts with thinking you are going to be blessing them (and you do), but nothing prepares you for the absolute love that you feel in return if you truly let yourself dive in to this mission.

Yarieli is in 9th grade.  In a few short years, she will graduate from the program, but she will be a part of my life for as long as she’ll have me. And I will roll my sponsorship dollars to another kiddo who will grab yet another piece of my heart because I’ve seen just how much this matters.

This is the picture I took that led me to sponsor Yarieli!