Authors Give Back: PJ Sharon and Children International

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Today’s guest is author, PJ Sharon. PJ  is the author of HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, ON THIN ICE and SAVAGE CINDERELLA. Her books are contemporary young adult romances and have garnered several contest finals.

On the road to publication, PJ decided that indie-publishing was the best fit for her books. They fall outside the norm for YA fiction in that they are not your average high school stories. Instead, they are portraits of the real life issues of older teens and their struggles with family, friends, and the guys they fall for. Although the themes are mature, evoking plenty of drama and teen angst, PJ writes with a positive outlook and promises a hopefully ever after end to all of her books. Because of this, readers of all ages will be captivated by the emotional and romantic journeys of her characters. Her books are recommended for readers 14+.

YA Author, PJ Sharon

I’m putting you in PJ’s capable hands. Take it away PJ!

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One of my favorite charities-Children International

Do you remember when you were a kid and your mom said things like, “Eat your vegetables; don’t you know there are starving children in Africa?” Or another favorite, “Be grateful you’ve got shoes on your feet and a roof over your head.” Of course, I would roll my eyes and assume she was using guilt to manipulate me into doing exactly what she wanted me to do. But here’s the thing. Despite her ulterior motives, I credit my mother for teaching me social responsibility.

When I was sixteen, my mom died of cancer. Shortly after, I found out I was pregnant. Being a mother at seventeen with very little family support was more than a bit challenging. I struggled—a lot. By the time I was nineteen, I was on my own with my son and figuring out how to keep him fed and clothed. Through those leanest of times, I found that my faith was what pulled me through. Faith, and an attitude of gratitude. I felt very lucky to have friends who stepped up, family who did what they could, and a healthy body and mind to cope with all of the daily challenges. It wasn’t easy, but I knew that there were people worse off than me, and it gave me perspective.

It was about that time that I decided to sponsor my first child. One of those World Vision commercials grabbed me by the throat and had me in tears at the plight of impoverished children around the world. Not only could I relate to being in need, but I could see how truly blessed I was to live in a country where I had access to clean water, food, housing, and a job that would pay me enough to provide for my child. Even if it meant waiting tables and working two or three jobs to make ends meet. I remember thinking that $12.00 seemed like so little money to make such a big difference in a child’s life. With an hour or two of my time, I could provide medicine, clothing, and food for a child half-way around the world. I could help a parent like me who was struggling even more than I was. Helping someone else, made me feel less like a victim and more like a contributing member of society. What that $12.00 did for my sense of self-worth was priceless.

Just one of many children in need of sponsorship

 

Almost thirty years later, I’m still sponsoring children. I’ve been privileged to help families in Haiti, Africa, India, and China. I switched over to Children International somewhere along the way, though I can’t remember why. World Vision is a fine option for sponsorship. Either way, for $25 per month—still a pittance in comparison to the benefits it provides for a family in need—I can affect a child’s life and give them hope for a brighter future. Money goes toward education, clean water, food, clothing , and necessities. I receive letters from my sponsored child periodically with a picture of them to remind me how precious each life truly is and what a difference I’m making. They are always grateful for the assistance and know that without that help, their lives would be so much harder. I cry tears of gratitude each and every time I receive one of these letters, written in the beautiful scrolling language of Hindu and translated to English, knowing that I am affecting a child’s life in a positive way.

My favorite letter was from twelve year old Arun from India who wrote to thank me for my sponsorship and inform me that my gift had provided him with his very first pair of shoes, a wonderful blessing on his long walks to the village school. I thought of my mother and her reminder to be grateful for the shoes on my feet. I think she’d be glad to know that I was listening after all.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child through Children International, visit their website. For less than a dollar a day—spare change for most of us–it’s so easy and such a powerful way to make the world a better place, one child at a time. 

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Wow! What a moving testimonial, PJ. Thank you for sharing your struggles and how giving back increased your own self-worth, not to mention how many lives you have touched through the years. I think your mother would be very proud.

Want to know more about PJ Sharon? You can find her in the following places:

Amazon Author Page     Website     Facebook     Twitter     Secrets of 7 Scribes     YA Beyond

HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES is available at:    Amazon     B&N     Smashwords     CreateSpace

I love to hear from you, so if you have a question for PJ (or me) or want to give a shout out to your favorite charity, you can comment below. As always, thank you for reading!

 

*For legal reasons I feel I have to add this disclaimer: I have no connection with any charity mentioned in the Authors Give Back segment of the blog unless noted. I have not personally researched any charity mentioned unless otherwise noted. If you plan to donate to ANY charity (mentioned here or elsewhere) you should research it thoroughly and decide for yourself if it is a legitimate and worthy cause.

Follow Rhonda Hopkins:

The award-winning author of THE CONSUMING, and the zombie apocalypse series, SURVIVAL. She writes horror/sci-fi, paranormal, YA urban fantasy, suspense, and middle grade.

23 Responses

  1. daleamidei

    Life is best lived with an external focus. It is what we do for others that brings the greatest amount of satisfaction to our existence. Thanks for encouraging charity, PJ!

    • PJ Sharon

      I love your philosophy, Dale. Right on, man.

  2. Rhonda Hopkins

    ” It is what we do for others that brings the greatest amount of satisfaction to our existence.” I completely agree, Dale. Thank you for stopping by today and taking time to comment. 🙂

  3. CC MacKenzie

    I lived in Africa for ten years in three African countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Kenya. And I can tell you that seeing cardboard coffins at the side of the road from the size of a shoe box to adult really brought home the scourge of the Aids crisis on that continent. Both my daughters spent time in Zimbabwe and Kenya. One of them a volunteer outreach worker and she saw things at the tender age of seventeen that the average teen in the UK/USA would find difficult to cope with. It changed their perspective and attitude towards life and certainly towards unprotected and casual sex.

    Dale’s comment is spot on – we do need to focus outside of ‘me’ and help the vulnerable.

    Great post, PJ and Rhonda!

    • Rhonda Hopkins

      Thank you for sharing your experiences, CC. I think it’s wonderful that your daughter volunteered at such a young age. And like PJ said, it just might change the world if our youth were required to do some community service project.

  4. PJ Sharon

    Thanks for sharing your daughter’s story, CC. It would be good for all teens to be required to do some community service or aid project as part of their senior year curriculum. I think it might even change the world:-)

    • Rhonda Hopkins

      Thank you for stopping by, Alicia. I think when we all band together we can make a difference in the world. 🙂

    • PJ Sharon

      Thanks, Alicia. I say even a smile of a kind word can make a difference.

  5. Patricia Yager Delagrange

    Because I heard that same phrase while growing up, PJ, I feel the same as you. I have an attitude of gratitude for everything I have today and I really DO think about all those children in Africa when I throw away food or my kids won’t eat their broccoli. I will have to look into Children International. Thank you.
    Patti

    • PJ Sharon

      Thanks for commenting, Patti. I think it’s hard to be truly grateful unless you’ve had to struggle a bit. We never seem to appreciate what we have until we are without it. It’s human nature to take things for granted. But it’s our spiritual nature to recognize our blessings.

  6. Rhonda Hopkins

    I definitely heard that growing up as well and am grateful for things I have. It just breaks my heart to think of starving children (and adults) anywhere in the world. Thank you for coming by today, Patti.

  7. coleen patrick

    I agree with Alicia, that feeling of being powerlessness to change. Thanks for sharing this story–it’s inspiring to see what kinds of change can happen!

    • PJ Sharon

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Colleen. We all have the power to make changes in the world every day. Whether it is giving of our resources to those in need, or spreading love in our interactions with people on a smaller scale, every individual can impact the world around them.

      For writers, there is no more powerful tool than the words on the page. We have the ability to share hope, wise counsel, human emotions that help people understand that they are not alone in their troubles, and so much more. I feel truly blessed to be on a path that allows me to touch so many lives.

      Blessings!

      • Rhonda Hopkins

        You have such a wonderfully giving spirit, PJ. Thank you again for being my guest today and sharing Children International with us.

    • Rhonda Hopkins

      Glad you stopped by, Coleen. I agree with PJ. We each have the power to make changes, especially through our writing.

  8. Louise Behiel

    An attitude of gratitude is such a blessing. and you have shown that even with our own troubles, we can reach out and make a huge difference to others. well done and thanks for sharing about this story.

    • PJ Sharon

      Thank you, Louise. Nice of you to stop in.

    • Rhonda Hopkins

      Thank you for popping in, Louise. PJ did an awesome job, didn’t she? She whole-heartedly demonstrates the charitable spirit.

      • PJ Sharon

        Thanks for having me, Rhonda. it was so nice getting the opportunity to share such a worthy charity with your readers.

  9. Gregory Carrico

    Thanks, Rhonda, for hosting this, and PJ for a great post. Both of you regularly inspire me to be a better writer and a better person, so thanks again!

    I heard the same things from my mother growing up, and as silly as it sounds, it really did make an impact. My family was very active in our church, and through it and the Boy Scouts, we gave a lot of our time to the elderly with simple things like yard work, painting, minor home repairs, shopping, and often just visiting.

    We didn’t have much money to spare, but as you said, we had a roof, clothes, food, and clean water, so we shared that, too when my mother learned of all the foster children in our community who needed homes. There were always extra children in our house, and it was always tough when they left, but that taught us another lesson: doing the right thing isn’t supposed to be easy.

    I think we all have something to give, whether it’s a few bucks or a few hours, and I have great respect for everyone who chooses to give it. Thanks again, Y’all!

    • Rhonda Hopkins

      What great role models you had growing up, Greg. Having worked for CPS for 10 years, I know how difficult fostering can be. I know it would break my heart to get attached to kids and have them leave. You always inspire me as well. Thank you for stopping by. 🙂