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Sponsorship Stories

An "Amazing Experience"

The Benson family visits their sponsored child, Randy, in the Domincan Republic.

The reaction of Jim's son, Jonah, said it all.

“When we were leaving [Randy’s] home, my son expressed that it had been the ‘best day of his life,’” Jim said.

Plan International USA sponsors Jim and Christy recently visited their sponsored child, Randy, with 11-year-old Jonah, and their 17-year-old daughter, Madalena. The journey to Randy’s home in the Dominican Republic was an adventure the whole family had been planning for years – and it was an experience they’ll never forget.

“We began sponsoring a child through Plan when our first child was born,” Jim said. “We wanted our children to grow up with an understanding of a world larger than what they see in our own home. Also, our family is blessed to be in a position where we feel we can share with [the] less fortunate around the world.

“From the time we began sponsoring a child, the plan was to travel to meet him one day. And, now that our children are old enough to make that journey, the timing was perfect. I also wanted to travel to the regional Plan office to meet those great folks who have been administering to the sponsor families in the area. We appreciate them so much.”

The family set out for the Dominican Republic this past winter. Upon arriving, they were struck by the welcoming nature of the entire village.

Getting to know Randy and his family was the highlight of the trip.

“Playing with Randy and other children in the village streets was a memory my children will never forget,” he said. “Randy and his brothers and cousins, as well as other neighborhood children, gathered in the streets to play games. That was a special memory. Madalena was also invited by one of Randy's cousins to paint nails together in the back yard. She said it was a day she’ll never forget.”

Through the entire adventure, Plan staff guided Jim and his family.

“We met them early in the morning and they led us on a shopping trip for Randy’s family,” said Jim. “We were able to support local stores by purchasing clothing and food supplies before heading into the village where our child lives.”

Jim also found it gratifying to see how staff engaged and worked with sponsored children like Randy.

“We were able to see the office where sponsor and child communications are coordinated, and everything was very well organized,” he said. “And, seeing how much they cared for the children in the Plan village was very rewarding.”

Since returning home, Jim has been blown away by the reaction he receives when he tells the story to his friends.

“As we talked about all the rewards of the visit, several of them were inspired to sponsor children through Plan also,” he said.

“I'm so proud to have supported Plan for the past 16 years,” Jim added. “And, I'm excited to continue sponsorship for years to come, and continue to grow our relationship with Randy and his family.”

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