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January 30, 2013

My experiences with Children's Cup truly exceeded my expectations. I was introduced with the opportunity to volunteer after meeting it's representatives at a conference. Their mission was clear to me: comprehensively care for children who were either terribly poor, orphaned by AIDS or both. The facts they shared impacted me, but it was the stories of first-hand experiences that engaged me.

Their genuine desire to change the lives of children in Africa inspired me. I needed to see this comprehensive process of change first hand.

During my first trip to Swaziland, a nation where one in two people are HIV positive, I experienced just how influential this small organization had been. I expected mediocre impact due to its low relatively low revenue and small staff structure, but what I saw were tens of thousands of children being fed, educated and discipled -- a key element in which Children's Cup believes brings true change. Moreover, I saw not only children being cared for, but also an emphasis placed on youth and young adult development. To my surprise Children's Cup offers an internship to develop and train those who could not afford college. Although character development was the essential focus, I saw much emphasis being placed on the skills training, thus helping them acquire employment after graduation. Interns live in arranged housing, which offered better living conditions than the homes from which many of them came. The King was so impressed, supposedly, with Children's Cup's commitment to Swaziland and its youth that he donated the large property on which the academy lies. Furthermore, its collaboration with other organizations operating in southern Africa was impressive. There was no competitive attitude, no turf war. It was a strong commitment to alliance rather than antagonism. This help me realize that Children's Cup's motivations were clear -- make a lasting difference regardless of who gets the resources and the credit.

I've since returned to Africa with Children's Cup multiple times, totaling 12 weeks of on-the-ground service.

Children's Cup surprised me. It's not a large organization in comparison to the many multinational, globally influential relief organizations available. But its impact is much larger than its size. And for that I plan to stay committed to Children's Cup's endeavors knowing that every dollar spent is making a large and lasting difference.

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