Once upon a time, I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. My childhood was filled with the wonder of the “race to the moon” years. I have vivid memories of watching the grainy telecasts from the space capsules and the lunar surface.
When I was about 11, I won an award in the Flint, Michigan student science fair. I got a medal and a fancy clipboard as prizes, but what I valued most was was a book about the United States space program. I read it cover to cover on a quarterly basis. With the moon conquered, the next step was an international space station, and I wanted to be there as a scientist.
Eventually, reality kicked in, in the form of Algebra One. I realized math was never going to be my thing, and therefore a career in science wouldn’t work.
I had Help….
Along the way I had great people helping me dream. My parents never said, “Girls can’t be astronauts,” even though we were still a good 10 years away from the first U.S. woman in space. While I was in the midst of the Algebra One debacle, a couple of teachers noted I was good with languages and writing, and redirected my energies. This was great, because it’s led to a full and interesting professional life.
And in the end, I got close to being an astronaut. In my first posting with Food for the Hungry (FH), I was sent to serve in La Paz, Bolivia, sitting at some 12,000-plus feet above sea level – the world’s highest national capital. So it wasn’t outer space, but it was pretty darned close.
…And So Do These Kids
My FH/Guatemala colleague, Monique Aparicio, sent some precious photos this week. They show kids from our Guatemala program – made possible by child sponsors – with T-shirts bearing titles of what they want to be, when they grow up.
There are doctors, lawyers and engineers. One wants to be mayor. Another wants to be an airplane pilot. We have at least one budding forester in the bunch. And I’m sure some want to stay in farming like their parents, but maybe hope to attend university to become agronomists, or to run larger commercial farms.
I’m so thankful that FH has people like our community level staff, who work each and every day with children. They find out these children’s dreams and help them to know their options. They combat messages these kids hear about being too poor or too uneducated to pursue their interests. They help these sponsored children to have confidence.
Paving the Way
But FH’s influence doesn’t stop with the children.
We help give support to rural teachers and school directors, who often come from areas outside of the village where they are teaching, to help poor rural kids have the capacity to stay in school and dream big.
We help parents increase their income so they don’t have to pull children out of school after second grade, because they don’t have the cash to pay for tuition and books. And, we help them grow more nutritious foods so their kids stay healthy, and don’t miss too much classroom time due to illness.
Your sponsorship is an encouragement, too. Our field staff tell sponsors like you about a child’s dreams, so you can pray those dreams into fulfillment. Please consider walking alongside a child and his or her family, so that the children have someone in their lives who can help make their dreams a reality.