Scott Faithfull points to one of the many photographs spread out on his table. It shows a little girl clutching a Disney Princess backpack. Next to it sits another photograph of the same girl, posed in front of a dress, a sensible pair of sneakers, and some socks. “This is Alison, from Honduras,” Scott explains. Alison is one of the children that Scott sponsors through Children International, a charity organization devoted to breaking the poverty cycle for children in third-world countries by focusing on health, education, empowerment, and employment. The photos show Scott the purchases Alison made with gift money he recently sent her. Sitting on his back deck, Scott produces the next photo and smiles sadly. This one shows Alison standing with her mother in front of bags of rice, beans, and various vegetables. “Me, at that age…” Scott says, “I would want whatever the latest toys were. But they provide for their families.”
While he had always made yearly contributions to various charities, it wasn’t until a sleepless night in February 2015 when everything changed for Scott. A friend of his had mentioned sponsoring children and that night, when he got home from work and couldn’t sleep, he found himself researching different organizations online. That’s when he stumbled upon Children International. That night, Scott signed up and started with his first two kids. Scott remembers, “Those two turned into six, and then it just kind of snowballed after that. Because when you get their letters and you see what kind of impact you have in their lives and what you’re actually doing, it becomes almost like an obsession. It drives you to help more.”
Two children have now turned into eleven, with plans to add more in the future. Scott chooses the children based on financial need, often picking the children whose families have the lowest incomes. They range in age from five to 17 years old. “I’ve dedicated my life to this,” Scott says, fighting back tears. “I don’t have children of my own, and this just means the world to me, to give back. For me, going without something is nothing compared to what they would go without. Going without shoes, going without food… A couple of the kids, their family income is $50 per month. People spend that in a day, and this is what they’re living on in a month! So, I do what I have to. They’re children. They’re the future. So if I can give to them and do without myself, that’s fine.”
Not only does Scott send the typical monthly donations for each child, but he also saves up to donate extra gift money and to help with education expenses. “The money goes to the agency and the agency representative takes them shopping for what they need. For my children in India, I also pay for their education, because to get a good education in India requires private tutoring, and a lot of families can’t afford that, so I help out,” he says. He also has plans to help with college expenses for his children.
While helping monetarily is important, Scott insists that the biggest benefit of sponsorship through Children International is the relationship he is able to form with the children. He communicates with each of them regularly through letters and pictures. “All of the children that I picked are writing fiends,” he laughs, “so I am constantly getting something.” Often the letters are emotional, and Scott recalls, “One letter, I cried for days. It was the most amazing letter from a little child, basically welcoming me into his family…” As he talks, Scott proudly flips through the pile of mail and photos in front of him, which he often shares on Facebook and follows with the same caption each time: “This is my purpose in life. This is my life. Blessed.”