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How Children Believe shaped my career path from a young age

POSTED May 26, 2022

How Children Believe shaped my career path from a young age

Our communications intern shares her personal connection with Children Believe

By Sheilagh Newland, communications intern, Canada

Sheilagh shares how sponsorship through Children Believe shaped her career path

When I was around 11 my parents took me to a concert that would change my life and shape my career path. Now I know that sounds pretty dramatic, but it’s the truth!

While I couldn’t remember the name of the band until I asked my parents a few days ago (it was The Barra MacNeils playing at Toronto’s Massey Hall), what I can tell you is the name of the charity at the booth I visited during intermission: it was Children Believe (Christian Children’s Fund of Canada at the time.).

Growing up, my parents exposed me to the beauty of cultural diversity and also shed light on historical injustices. Yet I was unaware of inequalities happening across the globe.

It was at this moment, during intermission, that I was exposed to the world of international development. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that a child, just like me, could be denied basic human rights. It had never occurred to me that your gender or where you were born could prevent you from having an education, clean water or food security.

I looked up at my dad and said, “We have to sponsor a child.” And, so we did.

The child we wound up sponsoring was a girl from Ghana around my age — give or take a year or two. She received an education, thanks to support through Children Believe in her community. I remember asking what her favourite subject in school was in my first letter. She told me she really enjoyed math but wanted to improve in her writing skills, which she did over the course of us writing to one another.

After becoming involved with sponsoring a child through Children Believe, I became interested in global initiatives and ways I could become more involved with making change. I dedicated my education to this passion and now hold a bachelor of arts in global development and history from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

When it came time to decide my next steps after university, I looked at post-graduate certificates to further my chances of building a career in international development. This is when I came across the corporate communications and public relations post-graduate certificate at Centennial College.

The program has an internship requirement, and during my interview with the school I asked if they had connections with non-profits focused on international development. When the program supervisor informed me they have worked with Children Believe, it was a full circle moment for me.

Throughout the year, my number 1 choice for my internship was Children Believe, and I worked hard to make it happen.

Now, here I am, an intern at the place that started it all. Children Believe truly shaped my career path.

During my time at Children Believe I learned more about the impact of sponsorship. I gained a better understanding of how Children Believe provides children with access to education so they can follow their dreams.

This experience made me proud to have sponsored a child through Children Believe all those years ago.

Learn more about how you can help through sponsorship today.

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Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

About ChildFund Alliance:

A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.

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