What Happens When My Sponsored Child Graduates? - Justice & Mercy International

What Happens When My Sponsored Child Graduates?

In this post:
-When do Vulnerable Children graduate?
-What happens to my sponsorship?
-What educational options do the children have?
-Who goes into the Transitional Living program?

If you’ve spent years writing letters to your sponsored child, or even visited them in person, you might have a lingering question in the back of your mind. We’ve all seen it happen with the kids in our everyday lives. In the blink of an eye, they change from a gap-toothed adolescent to a young man or woman on the cusp of adulthood, and we wonder, “What happens when they grow up?”

While our Sponsorship Team reaches out to each sponsor personally to communicate about changes to their sponsored kids’ status, here’s an idea of what to expect.

When do Vulnerable Children graduate from JMI’s sponsorship program?

Every June marks a significant transition point for many of our sponsored kids in Moldova, most especially those who have turned 15 or 16 and are graduating from the 9th grade. Our staff assesses each of these graduates to determine who needs critical ongoing support, who may benefit from our Transitional Living program, and who is ready or capable of moving on without our interventions. 

Some of our kids are clearly ready and able to move forward without our collective help. Some actually feel guilty for accepting resources when they know others are even more in need. And a few, like teenagers everywhere, just want to experience a greater degree of freedom without the accountability that comes from participating in our program.

What happens to my sponsorship when my Vulnerable Child graduates?

If your sponsored child is not moving on to our Transitional Living program, we celebrate the fact that he or she has truly benefited from sponsorship over the years. They have heard a clear Gospel message every month, had their physical needs met, and received loving care from our staff and from you, their sponsor! 

If your child chooses to pursue life independently at this juncture, we ask that you pray for them and their future, thank God for the experience that this sponsorship provided, and consider continuing this blessing by transferring your sponsorship to another vulnerable child in need.

What educational options do they have?

Because only the completion of the 9th grade is required in Moldova, many kids do not advance their studies any further. Those who do choose to continue their studies go to upper secondary school. It is made up of essentially three paths that the student can choose:

  1. They can go on to the American equivalent of “high school,” 
  2. Attend a professional school to learn a specific trade, such as mechanics or cooking, 
  3. Or, they can attend a four-year program that combines a continuation of school with a professional curriculum.

You can learn more about the Moldovan school system here! 

Who goes into JMI’s Transitional Living Program?

About a dozen kids move from our Vulnerable Child program into our Transitional Living (TL) program every year. The program focuses on teenagers who are at the highest risk of being trafficked. We have four homes, two for boys and two for girls, situated in Moldova’s north and central areas. These homes allow vulnerable teens to continue their education, meet with a JMI social worker, and participate in English lessons, life skills classes, and Bible studies. It is our joy and honor to walk alongside these extraordinary young people as they gain tools, confidence, and trust in Christ. (Watch Ala’s transformation story.)

Teens typically stay for two to three years, completing their school work and training to become successful members of the workforce. The program caters to their specific needs, helping each individual grow and thrive as the unique person God created them to be. 

After graduation, (learn about TL graduation here) some of them will enter our Independent Living program, where they will share living expenses in apartments while attending university or beginning their careers, moving them further along the road to self-sufficiency and protecting them from being trafficked.

JMI’s Transitional Living program is truly life-changing. From accountability figures, spiritual guidance, and counseling, to volunteer projects, life skills, and vocational training, it is the most effective and most expensive program we operate in Moldova. If every TL teen is fully sponsored each year, we still run a $100,000+ annual deficit for this program. If your sponsored TL teen graduates, we ask you to prayerfully consider giving a monthly, quarterly, or annual gift toward this effort to keep partnering with us in raising up a new generation of Christian leaders in Moldova.

If you have any questions about our sponsorship programs, please reach out to us at sponsor@justiceandmercy.org.

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