Daryl Rotta has more than 100 letters from children he’s sponsored through Compassion International. The most recent letters are from Suganthi in India, but he also sponsored a child in Haiti for years.
Suganthi calls him Uncle Daryl — uncle is a term of affection used in other countries to describe a guy they really like who isn’t family. Daryl and Suganthi talk about everything from her doll-making classes to her trips to see her family. Daryl isn’t particularly interested in doll-making, but he is interested in Suganthi’s life halfway across the world.
“She writes … about her classes and about her family and what’s going on, and I write basically the same thing,” Daryl said. “I write about my family. … I have a daughter — my oldest daughter (is) about her age. They (are) about three months apart. … She was really excited when my daughter got married, and I sent her a bunch of pictures.”
For years, Daryl and his family sponsored Suganthi through Compassion International. It’s a cause that is close to his heart, so it was a no-brainer when the time came for him to pick his favorite nonprofit as part of a contest offered through Trideum.
This year Trideum mixed two things we love in the South: altruism and college football. They held a contest — whoever picked the most winning college football teams got to decide what charity they would donate to.
“Through Compassion International, one can sponsor a child who is living in poverty for $38 per month,” said Lewis Hundley with Trideum. “Sponsorship is a great opportunity to make a real and lasting impact in the life of a child and to build a personal relationship to help that child as they grow.”
Daryl picked Compassion International because he’s been involved with them since the early 1990s when he got a flyer from them.
“In 1992, I agreed to sponsor a child … from Haiti,” Daryl said. “She was … about 8 or 9 at the time, and I sponsored her for those 10 years until she aged out of the program.”
Contest for a Cause
The idea for this contest came from a group of friends who have been talking football for more than 30 years and guessing who would win each game. Daryl met Lewis Hundley when they were both in China adopting children in 2003. They’ve been friends for years, so he was recruited to join the football contest fun every fall. But contest isn’t limited to Trideum employees.
Usually it’s just lighthearted fun, but this year they decided to make it a “contest for a cause” and give back to a worthy nonprofit.
Since they already had the core group of football enthusiasts, it was easy to get them on board with handing in a donation to the winner’s charity at the end of the season. Trideum agreed to match the amount donated.
Each week they got a list of 20 games, and they just picked who won or lost. Each correct answer got one point, but if they chose an overtime winner — like that crazy LSU vs. Texas A&M game with seven overtimes — they got seven points.
Daryl, who claims he’s not a diehard football fan, got 70 percent of the picks right this year. Although he got the highest percentages in his group of friends twice in the past, he said this year he was more motivated to play knowing they would be donating to a worthy cause.
“It did give me more incentive to try to win,” Daryl said.
Then, Trideum took it one step further and agreed to sponsor these seven children from now until the time they age out of the program.
“In looking into this and discussing it with Compassion we (Trideum) fell in love with the idea of corporately sponsoring some children through Compassion — all because of Daryl bringing us this idea,” Lewis said.
Since a big part of sponsorship is communicating with the kids the way Daryl communicated with Suganthi, they will have people in place to actually build the relationships with the children they are sponsoring.
“We will share the stories internally to our employees of the Trideum Compassion kids as our sponsors interact with them, and we will establish a gift fund that allows all employees to contribute to help buy gifts for the kids,” Lewis said.
Compassion International has been around since 1952, when a pastor flew to South Korea to minister to US troops fighting in the Korean War and felt called to help the orphans while he was there. Since then, they’ve helped thousands of kids through partnerships with local churches in 25 different countries.
The money from each sponsorship goes to make sure the kids have medical checkups, hygiene and health training, ongoing Christian training, educational assistance, life training, enough nutritious food, recreational activities, protection from crime and access to special services in the event they need surgery or disaster relief, according to the website.
Lewis hopes that other companies will be inspired to donated to Compassion International as well. It’s an easy way to make a difference in a child’s life.
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