Hey Change Maker! On this very special episode, I am interviewing 3 of our very own Constellation Sponsors to talk about why they became Sponsors, what their experience has been thus far, and why they believe so passionately in empowering women!
Come hear what Cassie, Sarah, and Natalie have to say!
I begin the episode by asking what it was about the Constellation Coalition that made them want to become sponsors. Sarah discusses how she felt that the work that the Constellation Coalition is doing is unique and more 1-1 than some of the other organizations she’s been exposed to. For Cassie, she truly believes that raising women out of poverty is the best path to also raising families and their communities out of poverty. Cassie explains how the best way to give someone a chance at overcoming poverty is to give them the skills and the ability to help themselves. For Natalie, her own experiences as a single mom living paycheck to paycheck really emphasized the need to empower women with more than just handouts. The knowledge that she could help empower another woman who shares the same heart for her children and desire to thrive made pursuing a sponsorship a no-brainer for her.
Next, I ask the trio about their favorite thing about being a sponsor. Cassie explains how previously, she felt like her donations to big organizations were just throwing a small piece into a larger bucket. With the Constellation Coalition, she has direct knowledge of the woman her money is going to support. She understands what the supporting programs do and why they’re important. Natalie talks about how intimidating it can be to think about trying to make a difference with such a global issue like poverty. However, with the Constellation Coalition, she can see the direct impact her sponsorship has. To her, it makes all the difference to know about the woman she’s supporting and learn about her situation, rather than just viewing these women as a statistic. As a very relational person, Sarah cherishes the opportunity she had to meet the girl she sponsors and her ability to be in direct communication with her. Sarah struggles with donations to larger movements because she lacks the personal connection there.
After that, I ask Sarah, Natalie, and Cassie what they would tell someone who is considering becoming a sponsor. Sarah encourages the listeners to “just do it” if they’re already asking questions about sponsorship. She reassures listeners that if they have questions, the Constellation Coalition has answers. Natalie relays that she has learned to trust the tug on her heat that she feels from God and encourages listeners to take advantage of the amazing opportunity of sponsorship. For Cassie, her struggle with sponsorship was not financial, but rather social/emotional. Cassie struggles with building relationships and worries that she will say the wrong thing in the monthly emails she sends to the woman she sponsors. However, she emphasizes that her struggle and the effort she puts in is worth it. I add on that it’s less about what you say, and more the fact that you’re willing to say it. These sponsored women can feel special and important knowing that there is someone out there who cares about them and is rooting for them.
We then talk about why it’s important to connect with and empower women in developing communities across the globe. Natalie describes how it’s all about perspective for her. She places great value on being able to learn about someone from a totally different background. Natalie relays how there’s so much that you can take for granted or assume when you’re not aware of other people’s “normal”. Cassie talks about how much untapped potential is lost to poverty every day around the world. While she knows she can’t fix everything, she feels empowered knowing she can help through her support of the Constellation Coalition. Sarah talks about the negative snowball effect of poverty; poverty can often lead to cycles of abuse, desperation, and unhealthy relationships. When people feel hopeless, it’s very difficult to find a path out of that. She describes how empowering women and showing women their potential can have a positive snowball effect: women succeeding in life can have a positive effect on the generations to come.
We shift gears to talk about whether being a sponsor has changed any of the women or their perspectives. Cassie speaks to how being able to put herself in situations that allow her to see other people’s lifestyles and cultures forces her out of her comfort zone. She makes the conscious choice to foster this differernce of perspective in herself. Sarah talks about how difficult it can be to leave your “bubble”. To her, a sponsorship with the Constellation Coalition was the perfect opportunity to be pulled out of her bubble. Natalie relays how she kept coming back to the fact that she felt she wasn’t meant to live her life just for her. She explains how very few people are willing to go beyond and take action because it requires stepping outside of their comfort zones. The more her eyes are open to other people’s daily realities, the more she is able to live in gratitude, and the more she is drawn to God.
I also ask the three women what they hope their sponsored entrepreneurs will gain from their sponsorship. Natalie hopes the women entrepreneurs will feel “seen and chosen.” Sarah hopes that the small amount of money she sends in monthly helps her sponsor feel special and loved. She describes the huge impact the sponsorship can have on resources, food, community outreach, and helping Roma women succeed in a community that traditionally does not value them. Cassie relays that she merely wants to be the launchpad or stepping stone for her sponsor. She emphasizes that her entrepreneur is not an extension of her story; rather, Cassie is just a footnote in her entrepreneur’s story. Ultimately, Casssie wants the woman she sponsors to feel empowered out of poverty and reclaim a feeling of ownership over her own life.
As we wrap up the episode, I ask the trio if there’s anything else that they want people to know about sponsorship or about sponsoring with the Constellation Coalition. Sarah relays that if listeners are worried about sponsorship, it’s not hard. It does take a little bit of effort, but there’s a lot of support along the way. Cassie emphasizes how the Constellation Coalition is partnering with organizations already on the ground and embedded in communities. For her, these embedded partnerships are critical, for she wants to avoid coming into a community as a “white savoir”. Cassie makes a point that she doesn’t want to be involved in changing a culture. To her, it’s not about her feelings or what she’s getting out of the sponsorship, but rather what she can do for the community. Natalie is the last to comment, reiterating Cassie’s point about how it’s not about what she can get out of the sponsorship. She encourages listeners to sit with the potential impact a sponsorship can bring forth. Natalie describes that when you make the effort to become grounded in the ripple effect a sponsorship can create, it allows you to see your support in a totally different light.