Did you know that older children, especially boys, wait longer for sponsors? A couple of weeks ago, I met boys who had been on the waiting list for sponsors for six years. It broke my heart.

Bolivian boys

Older children, especially boys, wait for years to be sponsored. ©2011 Amy Conner for World Vision

Apparently, even in our compassion, we’re suckers for cute and little. I get it – I think puppies and kittens are cuter than full-grown adult pets. But older doesn’t mean less in need of mentoring, encouraging, education, and help. And we’re old enough to know better.

Older often means jaded, cynical, and discouraged. The older children I met in Bolivia were defeated. They had been holding onto hope for too long and were giving up.

I saw what it meant to the few older children who did have sponsors. They told us stories of running to the World Vision office every day to ask if they had received a letter or a card. They told us how meaningful it was to know someone in a country far away was praying for them. Their eyes shone with hope fulfilled, and they had dreams for their future.

Bolivian children

©2011 Amy Conner for World Vision

The older children still waiting for sponsors lacked that sparkle.

I am resolved not to ignore the older, both here at home, and in our charitable efforts. They need our help just as much, maybe more. We do battle with cynicism when we come through for people old enough to know.

Restore hope. Sponsor an (older) child today.

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Today’s post inspired by The Gypsy Mama’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt, older. Five-Minute Friday posts are written in just five minutes, for the joy of writing. No editing.

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Sponsor in Bolivia