#20 Sponsor a child.

A few years back, my mother began taking night classes to learn Spanish. For absolutely no reason. She had just always wanted to learn Spanish – and so she did! (She also speaks English, Polish, Russian and German. No biggie…)

During this time, her teacher introduced a friend of hers to the class, a woman who had started a charity to help sponsor children in her native country of Guatemala. She realized she couldn’t save the world, so instead, she just decided to focus on devoting her time and resources to helping the children in this one village.

This story resonated with me because I oftentimes find the news absolutely overwhelming. Where does one even begin to try and fix what’s going on in the world? Maybe if we all focused on one metaphorical “village” and did our small part, the world would be less of a gong show.

Inspired by this concept, I began sponsoring a child four years ago. Every year, a reminder comes in when my payment is due. As I looked at the email today, the same thoughts crossed my mind as they do every year:

Hmmmm. That’s a prettttty big chunk of change. Think of all the [insert meaningless crap] I could buy with that. 

And then, as always, I push the selfish thoughts out of my head and transfer the money. My shoebox is already overflowing with crap. This money covers a year’s worth of education and daily breakfast for someone out there. If I kept this money, I would inevitably waste it on a Friday night’s worth of sliders and beer.

If you’re interested in learning more about this wonderful organization, click here to check it out.

Total Kindness Cost: $400



  1. On September 22, 2001, I had an amazing conversation with a potter whose studio I stumbled upon wandering a back lane in County Claire, Ireland. (The only conversation I had that didn’t center on 9/11 that month). After Chernobyl’s meltdown, he was disturbed by a report that radiation from it had been detected in Ireland. He worried about his water and soil quality. Then he got to wondering about the children in Chernobyl. As a result, he and a consortium of artists in Ireland paid for every child of that tragic city to fly to Ireland for the summer, live with an Irish family, and have at least a few weeks of clean water and soil. Our conversation began because he had been putting new photos into the thickest photo album I’d ever seen. The children, those still alive and young enough to have summer vacation, had just flown back home from their 15th summer in Ireland.

  2. My father had surgery a few years ago. Unbeknownst to us (his daughters), he had been sponsoring a child for several years. He wanted to make sure we would continue the support “in case something happened.”

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