Sponsorship That Lasts a Lifetime

By Laura Alsum, Child Champion, U.S.A.   |  Photos by Stephanie Reindel, Child Champion, U.S.A.; Kalis Parra, Dominican Republic Field Communications Specialist; Josela Lopez, Honduras Field Communications Specialist; and @davey_gravy

Yosari, a formerly sponsored child in Honduras, is now living out her dream thanks to her sponsor’s encouragement to make goals and have hope for the future.

We can all think back to pivotal moments in our childhood. Moments — some good, some bad — that helped define who we are and influenced the decisions we have made for ourselves and our families.

For Yosari, one of the best moments was when she was paired with her sponsor.


Yosari grew up in northern Honduras outside the city of La Cieba. Although it is a quiet area, people face unrelenting poverty and gang activity; not much goes on in the neighborhood without the gang knowing about it or controlling it.

Amid these dangers, Yosari’s home was a safe place, with her family full of love for each other and for Jesus. She is the youngest of five siblings, and even though her parents often struggled to earn enough income, they trusted God would always provide.

No Place to Dream

Even with the support and love from her family and church, Yosari didn’t think much about her future. Her community wasn’t a place where kids dream big. What they saw in their neighborhood was the only thing they could imagine for themselves when they grew up.

“I didn’t really have a dream. I just expected that after school I was going to work,” explains Yosari.

Maria, Yosari’s mother, knew she wanted more for her children.

“My dream was for her and for my other children to study, to be someone in life,” says Maria. But how that would happen was a mystery — until the Principes del Rey Hope Center came to their community.

The Power of Possibility

Yosari’s parents saw what a life-changing opportunity this could be for her — a chance for relief. A chance to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Although her siblings were too old to attend, they enrolled Yosari right away. At 8 years of age, Yosari was one of the first children to be part of the Hope Center.

It instantly became one of her favorite places to be.

“I was able to meet a lot of new friends there, and we played all the time,” says Yosari. “Also, we had get-togethers and day camps with some of the other Hope Centers in the surrounding area. So, we all gathered and played, and I was able to meet even more children.”

In addition to having fun and forming lasting friendships with other kids, Yosari is grateful for the mentorship and guidance she received from Child Champions there.

Yosari treasured letters from her sponsor.

“My tutor Rebecca was more than just my teacher,” she says. “She was my friend. I would open my heart to her. I would tell her things, and she would help me spiritually. The Hope Center director also impacted my life greatly. Mainly the way she treated each of us and the way she was there for everybody. How she gave of herself just to make us feel great.”

One of the pastors from her church, Pastor Fernando, remembers Yosari when she was a young girl first starting out at the Hope Center.

“What makes her special is that she was, and still is, a loving person and always wanted to serve, to help,” he shares. The center was a place where she could learn how to serve through the examples of her Child Champions and then be a servant leader among her peers.

A New Sponsor, a New Outlook

Yosari was thriving at her Hope Center. And then, one day when she was 12, she was paired with a new sponsor, Joyce, who helped her in ways she could never imagine. It changed the course of her life.

What Joyce did as a sponsor was nothing difficult or even unusual.

She simply wanted to help children living in poverty in developing countries and make a difference in their lives.

But she was consistent in her letters, in building a relationship with Yosari.

“My sponsor talked to me about her family, her husband, the things they do as a family. She talked about spirituality and shared her heart with me.

“And something very important: She always was motivating me,” says Yosari.

Yosari kept all the letters from her sponsor.

God Working Through Relationships

When Yosari was discouraged or struggling with something, she would go to the Hope Center and often discover that a letter from Joyce had arrived. It always seemed to be perfect timing, with her sponsor encouraging her to keep going and to nurture her relationship with the Lord.

Yosari with her parents, José and Maria.

There were moments when she and one of her Child Champions would sit together and cry while reading the letter, realizing that it was God speaking to her — that He was working through Joyce to send Yosari a message of hope and encouragement right when she needed it most.

“It changed my life, and the way I viewed my life, and my relationship with God,” explains Yosari. “My sponsor taught me that if I walk with Jesus, if Jesus was in my life as my center, that I shouldn’t fear, that I could keep going, that I could do everything with Jesus.”

Over time, Yosari began to see a difference in her life — in her faith and in her thoughts about the future and what she was capable of. Sponsorship and a relationship with Joyce were changing her life, but she also witnessed the change in her friends at the Hope Center as they received letters and photos from their own sponsors.

Knowing that they had an international support system and that someone loved them, believed in them, and wanted them to succeed, started to transform them.

Hope Spreading to Family

Yosari wasn’t the only one in her family who benefited from attending the Hope Center and having a sponsor.

“It impacted the whole family because when she shared what was happening at the center, or the letters she received from her sponsor, her siblings felt happy,” says Maria.

Not only were they glad for what Yosari was receiving and experiencing, but they could also start to envision more for their own lives.

Juan, Yosari’s brother and oldest sibling, has a physical disability. He would often come home frustrated because no one could understand him due to his speech impediment. He felt like an outsider. But then the Hope Center offered him the chance to come and help out — to become a mentor.

To this day, Juan is an important part of the community and is loved by all the children at the center. By being given the opportunity to serve, not only has his life changed, but he gets to change the lives of others in return.

Yosari’s brother, Juan, plays with kids from the Hope Center.

Determination and a Plan

Yosari treasured all the letters and photos she received from her sponsor, and in each one, Joyce motivated Yosari to keep studying. To think about different possibilities and make a plan for her future.

As she was nearing the end of high school, she knew what she wanted to do: go to college and become a teacher so that she could impact children like her.

If it weren’t for Joyce and her decision to sponsor her, Yosari wouldn’t have envisioned this possibility or worked so hard to achieve it.

Now, Yosari has just one year left of college until she completes her studies and becomes a teacher — and her dream will be realized. She will be the first one in her family to receive a degree.

Yosari’s parents aren’t surprised by this at all. They have always seen a sense of determination in her and are so proud of how hard she studies and keeps going, no matter what the challenge.

Continuing in the Footsteps of Child Champions

Yosari is also proud of herself and grateful for what God is doing in and through her life. Gaining experience as a substitute teacher is part of her education, and she sees how she is already impacting kids’ lives and making a difference. She prays for them, and before each class, she lets the students know how much she cares for them.

Yosari works as a substitute teacher while attending college.

“I talk to all the children and tell them that if there’s any situation that they are struggling with, they can come and approach me about it,” Yosari says.

“And I can tell that most of them trust me. Some of them want to quit school, but I encourage them to continue, and they are happy to come and talk to me about it.”

She is now that trusting adult in kids’ lives — something that was so instrumental to her when she was growing up.

Yosari with her brother, Juan.

A Different Path

Yosari often looks back at her childhood and imagines what might have been if she didn’t have mentors at the Hope Center or a dedicated and loving sponsor.


“If it weren’t for my sponsor, I would probably be just a girl that survives a day — working but not following a dream, like I am right now. I think I wouldn’t be mature. And I feel that I’m mature now, thanks to my sponsor who helped me make wise decisions.”

Now, Yosari has many plans for the future and hopes for the days ahead. She wants to continue to be a positive role model for children since she knows how much they are influenced by observing adults and their actions.

When she was young, before the Hope Center came to her neighborhood, she didn’t have as many adults to look up to. Her vision about what she could become was limited. But now, just like her sponsor and Hope Center mentors, Yosari can show children what it looks like to be a caring and responsible Christian leader in the community.

Dreams for the Next Generation

Yosari would like to have children one day and be as supportive to them as her parents were to her so that they will always trust her and feel confident in being open and honest with her.

Yosari works on her studies.

“What I wish for my future children is that they can have good friends and people surrounding them, that they can grow in God’s path, and that they will let Jesus and the Holy Spirit guide them,” she says.

Her wish for every child attending the Hope Center now is that they will find relief and feel encouraged, especially in the most difficult days. That they will be well-behaved, grow to their full potential, and have dreams for the future that will propel them on.

The Legacy of Sponsorship

Yosari’s relationship with her sponsor was so pivotal in her life that she hopes everyone would consider supporting a child living in poverty in this way. She knows that with each child, there’s a story — and often a hurt or a problem.

“That letter, those words, that you share will impact a boy or girl, will impact them, and will change their day and their life,” she says.

This was certainly true for Yosari. She continues to wear a gift that Joyce blessed her with — a necklace containing a mustard seed. A symbol of growth stemming from humble beginnings. Every time Yosari feels discouraged, she holds the necklace tight and remembers Joyce’s words of encouragement.

She has kept her sponsor’s letters and still reads them most nights. Every time she reads a letter, it’s like she’s reading it for the first time; that emotional feeling, that connection to Joyce she experiences, is the same as when she was a child.

When thinking about what she would say to her sponsor now, she is filled with complete gratitude.

“My mind changed, my heart changed, and I grew spiritually with the way you always encouraged me to seek and follow Jesus.”