How do we Serve At Risk Families?
The past couple weeks we have been posting about the families we are serving here and their needs. Without you guys, none of this is possible. God has put it on our hearts that part of our ministry here is to bridge the gap between the U.S. and the needs in Guatemala. If you are interested in learning more about the Serving At Risk Families ministry, click here to see our mission, vision, and more!
We realize there are always questions. Missy and I are notorious for asking questions and I’m sure you have some too. Here are some possible questions I thought of in order to provide a clearer understanding of how it works. After all, you are investing in the lives of others, so what exactly are you investing in?
What determines need?
Serving At Risk Families was started after years of observing a dangerous trend in Guatemala: the complete reliance of locals upon orphanages to care for the young because families generally cannot afford to on their own. As the Guatemalan Government and non-profit organizations have tried to open more orphanage space since the traumatic earthquake in the 70s and have fallen even more behind since the 30 year civil war that followed, a systematic cycle of poverty has continued to grow. SARF aims to help families, who are at risk of falling apart, help themselves avoid this cycle and become self-sustaining once again.
What is sustainable help?
As many organizations have learned over the past century, simply dumping money on a situation does not really help anybody. There will always be increasing need and for those being helped, it creates a dependence of the poor upon those providing the money even if this is not the intended goal (look at the American Welfare System for example). The type of assistance the SARF aims to provide
- always has an end goal in sight
- is only temporary and provided as is crucially needed
- works towards making sure the family will not need to rely upon our ministry or any other assistance program
Essentially, we are trying to work ourselves out of a job. Unfortunately, there is so much need in Guatemala (and elsewhere around the world) that our current generation might not see the end of this need unless everyone participates.
Why are the tuition costs different for each child?
Each child, while living in the same general area of Guatemala, attends a different school. Their grade level and school largely dictate how much tuition and supplies cost. Public school in Guatemala is relatively cheap but as with all things, you get what you pay for. We are working with families to find the best schools for their children that they want to send them to while making sure that our ministry can sustain them going to this school (it would make no sense to send a child to a better school one year if it will be unaffordable the following year).
Why do sponsorships start at $25?
There is more involved behind-the-scenes when someone sponsors a family than it seems. Aside from administration fees such as international money transfers, credit card debits and ACH transactions, our staff has to process everything. Additionally, there is paperwork which must be filled out and maintained with each donation these families receive. Also, when someone sponsors a family, it isn’t just about sending money every month. At Servants, our motto is, “It’s all about the relationships.” We work hard to help sponsors establish and maintain/build relationships with those they are sponsoring.
What exactly is my money going towards?
Right now our biggest push is to make sure these children get registered for school which starts January 15th. However, when you sponsor a family, 90-100% of it goes directly to the family. Sponsors will have an option to also donate to cover the 10% admin fee it costs our offices to process sponsorships. This money is then pooled in order to meet the needs of the families served by this ministry. The money goes towards school sponsorships for registration, tuition, and supplies throughout the year. Some families have medical emergencies that they otherwise could not afford. Other families we will be serving using micro-finance loans to help them start their own businesses.
Can I communicate with the family I am sponsoring?
Absolutely! As I mentioned before, sponsorship is not just about sending a monthly or yearly check, it is about investing in the lives of others and developing a relationship with them. When you sign up to sponsor a family, you will be sent a detailed information packet that tells their story and invites you to partner with them in life. Our missionaries in Guatemala will translate and deliver your messages or gifts to them as well as send them back to the US by way of short term teams that visit throughout the year. With the availability of technology, you can send messages through our missionaries and those you are sponsoring will get it within the week!
What if I cannot afford $25/month but still want to be involved with the ministry?
There are plenty of options for you to become and stay involved! We have a general SARF fund which helps in various ways: projects for families and their communities, administrative costs, emergencies for families, and more. You can also give a one time donation to a family or the general fund. If you would really like to support a family monthly but cannot afford the minimum amount, consider pooling your resources with a few coworkers, family members, or church friends! Additionally, you can commit to regularly praying for a family or multiple families and even save up to come down on a trip!
DO YOU WANT TO SARF (Serve At Risk Families)? Here are some links that can get you started:
Click on a family below to revisit our post about them:
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)