FIVE SIMPLE WORDS
“Best interest of the child.”
Our newest value has ushered in a whole new way of doing what we do: empowering orphaned children to self-sustainability. It adds definition to what most would consider intuitive — it’s only natural that serving and supporting orphaned children would be in their best interest!
But putting these words together and adding them to our core values is an outward expression — our stake in the ground — of something we’ve always believed.
These words brought with them a new model for sponsorship: one using children’s best interests as a foundation. As we began to examine these “best interests,” several challenges with the current child sponsorship model came to the surface. These include:
- Some children do not have sponsors.
- Children write letters to their sponsors, receiving few replies.
- Four shares per child creates relational confusion, which can impact their parental relationships.
Examining these challenges made our family-first solution clear, and it goes hand in hand with something we already believe: that children thrive in families. Incorporating children into a family unit when they arrive at a Horizon community is our immediate goal; breaking the cycle of poverty and abandonment is our ultimate one.
A thriving family life is the way toward both.
We experienced much growth in the past year toward family — in fact, 2020 was the first year for all our children in Latin America to become part of a family! It looks different from community to community, too — just like any family. We believe a sponsor’s transition from child to family sponsorship will be for the child’s greater good. When you transition from sponsoring a child to that child’s family, you’re not losing the connection — you’re just seeing it in the context of their world, supporting their family as a whole as they grow and thrive together.
Reimagining sponsorship brought out a few key ideas and goals: it needed to be a program focused on connection. We want sponsors to feel connected to the family they sponsor, while alleviating expectations and burdens. To do that, we’re leveraging our creative capabilities to bring you personal and impactful stories, photos and videos from the communities and specific families you sponsor. You’ll receive a global overview of Horizon happenings every month in our newsletter, featuring stories of child empowerment (such as Rosa’s restored identity) and Impact Investing (like this massive plantain harvest).
In addition, our Family Sponsors will connect with a specific family to follow along with their children’s lives and growth. They’ll receive specific stories, photos and videos of their sponsored family via a custom family sponsorship page launched later this spring. We value human connections and are confident this program will honor your connection to the family you sponsor as well as honor the on-site family unit.
As children grow, graduate school and begin their journey into adulthood, sponsors have the option to take this step with the young adults and become Empower Partners. At this stage of sponsorship, Empower Partners really are just that — partners walking alongside a young adult as they step into university, trade school or business. Becoming an Empower Partner is saying, “I’m committed to this young man or woman in supporting them as they begin their own journey.” You can remain connected to the young adult’s family on a family sponsor level to keep up with their parents and siblings, too.
The best interest of the child is like a lens we’re looking through: it colors our decisions and action plans. We’ve reimagined sponsorship to align with those interests and the results are going to be life-changing.
After all, Horizon is in the business of radical change — and we’re bringing you along for the ride.