orphan care 101

There are thousands of ways to get involved with orphan care. Here are just a few:

1. Pray.
  • Choose a particular area (Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, etc.), country (Bolivia, Kenya, India, etc.), or city (St. Petersburg, Beijing, Chicago, etc.) and pray specifically for the orphans there.
  • There are lots of organizations like New Hope Foundation, Sarah's Covenant Homes, and Harmony Outreach that have lists of orphans available for sponsorship. Even if you don't have the money to sponsor a child, you can still commit to praying for one. 
  • Get your friends or your small group at church to commit to praying too. You can choose together whether to pray for a general geographic area or a specific child or children.

2. Donate.
  • Tithe. As a teenager, you may not have a lot of extra cash sitting around. When I make any money babysitting or doing odd jobs, etc., I always set aside 10% of whatever I make in a "tithe" pile. This tithe money goes to the church. Not necessarily my church building, but the church as in the group of brothers and sisters in Christ I have throughout the world. I usually give my tithe money to Christian organizations that I see doing the work of the church in the area of orphan care.
  • Choose something to give up. Starbucks drinks. A Chick-fil-a meal. Anything, really. Then give the money you would have spent on it to orphan care. I mean, do you really need that latte?

3. Fundraise.
  • Sell something. What are you good at? Making pies? Sell them. Knitting scarves? Sell them. Singing, dancing, math? Sell your talent. Have a bake sale, put on a show, offer tutoring services. Then give the proceeds to an orphan care organization of your choice.
  • Go door to door. Maybe this is a little old-fashioned, but it works. Especially if you take cute kids. And you can spice it up a little. Dress up and trick-or-treat a day early, asking for donations instead of candy (like UNICEF). Go caroling and bring donation jars, telling people about the plight of orphans. So many options.
  • Be creative. There's an unlimited amount of ways you could fundraise. Utilize your talents, your friends, your school, your church, the time of year, anything you can. Fundraising can be a great way to hang out with your friends and do something to change the world at the same time!

4. Volunteer.
  • Volunteer at a local organization. I've spent many days sorting through clothes, stuffing folders, and addressing envelopes. All for orphan care.
  • Volunteer in your own city. There's more than one kind of orphan. A kid whose dad isn't around or whose parents are too busy for him is an orphan too. Find a program to work with kids in your own area. Boys & Girls Clubs are great for this.
  • Volunteer your time on the mission field. There are lots of organizations that offer short term mission trips and internships for students to get involved in orphan care. Do some research. Find out where you'd like to go. Chances are, there's a way for you to get there. And it will change your life. Forever.

5. Adopt.
  • Help out an adoptive family. Adoption is hard. Find people in your area who are adopting and help them to raise funds, pray for them, and volunteer your time. Mow their yard. Cook them dinner. Especially after the child comes home. Sometimes that's the hardest part.
  • Pray about and encourage your family to adopt. You may be the voice that changes your parent's mind. Or maybe if your family can't adopt, you'll get them all to be passionate about orphan care.
  • Pray about adoption in your future. As teenagers, we can't adopt right now. But we will have the ability in the future. Pray about the possibility of a adopting a child in your future, and pray for your future spouse to be open to it as well.