Spotlight on Sponsors - Betsy & Gordon Stevenson
Betsy & Gordon Stevenson live in Cohasset, MA, where they raised their two sons. Betsy is a retired elementary school teacher and Gordon is an estate-planning attorney. In July, they will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They have sponsored Priya since 2005. She will graduate from high school this year.
I always felt an emotional tie to India. When I learned about the Sponsorship Program, I felt it was such an opportunity to make that tie even stronger. My husband and I have two sons, but no daughter. We know that girls in India may not finish school because their families may need them or they may get married at a young age and drop out. Somehow we said, we're going to take that chance and sponsor a girl, Priya.
$420 is such a small amount of money in an American pocket. It's incredible, you can feed, educate and provide a supportive school community to a needy child for a whole year!
In the beginning, we were told that Priya was not a very good student. Although that concerned me, it didn't stop me at all. Since I had the feeling that she was a strong person, I had faith that she might be a really good candidate for school sponsorship. I was never a very strong student myself, but I am a very strong person, so I have a lot of compassion for Priya. Even if she doesn't take standardized tests well, I'm behind her!
We would be very happy to continue sponsoring Priya if she decides to go on to college. I don't care whether it's liberal arts, or vocational school, or one year of secretarial school. Her self-esteem is going to be so different with that piece of paper in her hand.
My husband Gordon says Priya symbolizes hope. Everywhere, women are working hard, trying to get a status equal to men. We know that's a big stretch in India. To think that Priya, a village girl, is considering going on with her education after she graduates from high school - isn't that awesome? That just takes my breath away! Any little thing that can help women is, for me, a step in the right direction for the whole world.
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