Tell us a little bit about who you are.
My name is Elise McKenney. I live alone with my dog. My husband passed away several years ago, and my daughter lives with her boyfriend. I previously had my goddaughter live with me for a short time, and another young girl lived with me for a while as well. I was in a foster home as a child, and I have always loved kids!
Who do you sponsor, and what can you tell us about them?
I sponsor a female named Dorcas Lazaro, who is seven years old.
She likes to take care of the younger children, she wants to be a doctor or a teacher when she grows up, she takes her learning lessons seriously, and I know that her favorite color is yellow. She enjoys going to school and she likes learning.
How long have you been sponsoring?
I dunno! Like what, three months? Yeah, it’s been three months.
What were some of the factors that influenced you to become a sponsor?
My work has a week of--a week where they try to get everybody to participate in helping nonprofits. I’m a volunteer for a dog rescue nonprofit, and so I was looking for something else to be a part of. And then after reading some of the stuff about the Brighter Tanzania Foundation I thought it might be a good fit so I talked to my sisters. We were thinking about going in together, and then I thought that there were more people in my family that would like to sponsor but don’t have enough enough money to sponsor themselves. So I opened it up to everyone in my family and I was really proud of the children in my family who were willing to help out another child.
They were not aware that other kids were not able to just go to school like they were here and they were all very excited to just pitch in and help her!
How was the process of becoming a sponsor?
I was so excited! The actual application process was very simple, and it didn’t take very long. I received emails providing information on the child I and my family were sponsoring along with some picture and it was so very heartwarming! It was such a good feeling when I saw her picture; I just wanted to give her a hug!
How has your sponsorship affected you and your family?
For me it has been really heart warming and it just felt so dang good! Some of the others and I did a little shopping and went and bought her just a few little inexpensive things to send and all of the kids wrote letters to her just to tell her a little bit about themselves. The adults wrote letters and provided some pictures.
I think it’s been rewarding so far, it just takes a long time for the mail to get there but we’re hoping hear from her again soon!
Would you say sponsorship has changed your outlook on life?
I think yeah, to the point where it really makes us grateful for what we have and I think to really think about what it would be like to live in another country. There are so many things we take for granted is the whole thing, and it makes us more grateful for what we have.
What would you tell other people who were considering sponsoring a student?
It’s very rewarding and as far as the financial the stuff I checked out--as far as the financials, all of the information is available for people so you know exactly where the money is going. Just a very, very rewarding and nice experience.
So you would tell them to go for it?
Oh, absolutely! Just do it!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
The thing for me is just that it’s a very rewarding experience to know that our money - even though it’s not lot - is able to give an education to a child who might not otherwise have access and it’s a very good feeling. You know, there are other things we can all spend our money on but this just so rewarding. It’s an awesome experience for the kids to be a part of, too. And my family is very close so this is just one more thing we can experience in life together.