A UCSB fraternity is giving the campus community an opportunity to support a child without experiencing the pains of labor.
Gamma Zeta Alpha will be holding a sponsorship drive and staffing a table booth this week for the Children International (C.I.) organization. Fraternity members will be seeking fellow UCSB students, staff and faculty to contribute money for the sponsorship of an impoverished child.
C.I. is a nonprofit organization that has been providing assistance to children and families in extreme poverty since 1930. They are a nonreligious and nonpolitical organization that works for the betterment of children in very poor areas around the world.
“We work in 10 separate countries and provide children with educational and medical needs,” Cadie Connors, a C.I. representative, said. “The program’s primary focus is that of improving health and education for poor children around the world.”
C.I. currently sponsors over 240,000 children. The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) rates it as one of the top child sponsorship organizations, with an A- grade – a standard based on the overall money spent on a charitable program and the internal costs required to raise $100 dollars.
Gamma Zeta Alpha is a primarily Latino fraternity that strives to help the community through various charitable activities. Besides the recent sponsorship activities, the fraternity has also worked with Isla Vista Elementary School’s after-school programs.
“Most of our work is geared toward children, particularly of Latino descent, but we work with a number of non-Latino organizations as well,” Dan Edgar, Gamma Zeta Alpha community services chair, said. “Being a part of a Latino fraternity, most of the members have had to struggle to get themselves an education. We’ve been given a lot of opportunities and the least we can do is bestow the same opportunity to those more oppressed.”
Gamma Zeta Alpha picked C.I. after searching on the Internet for various charitable organizations.
“We found them to be the ones who use their money in the most variety.” Edgar said. “Not only does Children International help with the educational need, but also with medical, shelter and food as well.”
The fraternity has no set amount of money they wish to raise, but the drive will continue until at least the 50 children for whom they have packets of information obtain sponsors. Most of the children are from Latin America and Africa, and all are affected by poverty and famine.
Connors said this is the first time she has worked with a university organization.
“We have no set goals, but we are anxious about the results,” Connors said. “If all goes well, Children International will look into working with other university organizations as well.”
Connors said Children International asks for $15 per month to sponsor a child. This is less than other organizations such as the Christian Children Organization, which asks for $24 dollars a month. Approximately 82 percent of C.I.’s sponsorship money goes directly to children’s needs. The rest of the money supports future events, management and financial support for the 18 different field projects.
“When you sponsor a child, you will be given a packet that contains the child’s information, the housing and community the child lives in, as well a family fact sheet,” Connors said.
Connors said every year, one or two pictures are sent out to the sponsors to show the improvement of the child. If the child is able to write, they may write a letter of gratitude as well.
When a sponsor sends a payment, the money is deposited in a bank and then transferred to each project field according to the budget. From there, the money is distributed to those who provide for the educational and medical needs of the individual children.
If students are unable to pay the $15 sponsorship fee, they can give a one-time donation that will go toward any of the children that are not sponsored.
“We encourage students to look up the website where we have different success stories as well as any newsworthy stories. By looking at the website, people have a better understanding of who we are,” Connors said.
Individuals and organizations can also donate furniture for field projects. Certain items such as desks, beds and chairs are presently needed.
Anyone seeking more information can visit www.children.org or e-mail Dan Edgar at .