Monday, November 19, 2007

Behind the Scenes: Meet the Writer

Posted on behalf of Damon Guinn

Damon Guinn is a Senior Staff Writer for Children International. You've most likely read his work in our various print publications and on our website, Here's an opportunity to meet him...

I’ve worked for Children International for more than six years now: first as a Sponsor Services Representative, then as a Proofreader, and now as a Writer. To say it’s been a learning experience is an understatement.

When I tell people that I work for a child sponsorship organization, the usual reply is...“Wow! That must be very rewarding!” No doubt it is, but I always pause before responding. There’s no simple way to describe the depth and scope of work like this – so full of tragedy and triumph, heartache and hope.

Damon with children at our agency in Lusaka, Zambia

Sharing the stories of the poor and disenfranchised is a cause I’ve been committed to ever since I volunteered at an orphanage in Bulgaria 12 years ago. That’s where I first came face-to-face with children in dire need of help.

Fresh out of college, with no idea what the future had in store, my time at the orphanage was a crash course in humanity. Interaction with Gypsy children taught me what it means to be absolutely marginalized by society. Seeing boys and girls covered in sores from skin infections, I learned how essential good hygiene and health care are to young children. And teaching basic English to boys and girls starved for knowledge was a lesson in enlightenment no university setting could ever replicate.

These days, my teachers are numerous and spread all over the world. I now have more than 300,000 young boys and girls in 11 different developing countries teaching me what it means to be truly, and sometimes desperately, human.

All of that to say this...on Tuesday, November 20, fellow writer Deron Denton and I will post a report on the anniversary of Typhoon Durian on It’s an examination of those lives fatally touched by one of the worst typhoons in Philippines history. We hope you’ll take a look at the article and video – if for no other reason than to glean some insight into the human condition.

Stories from sponsored youth who lost everything in the disaster – including loved ones – will no doubt give you a fresh perspective on life and another reason to be thankful at this time of year. You can also see for yourself how a new housing community being built by Children International and contributors like you will give typhoon survivors hope for the future.

Tragedies like Typhoon Durian are lessons in humility and heroism, and all of us should study the experience if we hope to gain the wisdom that comes only from a struggle for survival.

I, for one, am grateful to my young teachers for the grace and dignity they continue to impart while battling the tests of life.

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