There are certain things your soul absolutely needs. Inspiration, venting sessions with friends, human touch, and occasional peace and quiet to name a few.

For me, a few weeks ago during an epic spa experience, I realized that my soul was in need of something more… giving back. If you missed it, you MUST read about how I signed on to sponsor a child from the Philippines during a manicure!

I couldn’t contain my excitement when about two weeks later, a big white envelope came in the mail from Children International. This was it! I was about to find out the little Filipino girl for whom I’d be providing food, water, clothing, medication and education… forever! I peeled open the envelope smiling big, and gleamed when I saw this face smiling back at me:

Abegail B. Morate, nine years old, 3’11 and 44 pounds, from the projects of Manila. She is the youngest of seven; her older siblings Andrie, Albert, Ana, Armor, Alfred and Angelo Bolito range from ages 11 to 31. Her father Antidio is a street vendor and brings home $160 a month. Her mother Cecilia is unemployed.

Abegail lives with her parents in a home with one multi-use room and two bedrooms, with concrete walls and floors. Abegail sleeps on the floor with a mattress. She does chores like washing dishes, sweeping and running errands to help out. In her free time she likes playing hide and seek and various outdoor activities, and drawing is her favorite hobby.

I was very happy to learn that Abegail is attending school. Her favorite subjects are languages and mathematics. I hope that with my monthly contributions, she is able to one day go off to college, and ultimately become exactly the person she dreams of being – or perhaps someone she doesn’t even realize she could become!

A week or so after this initial welcome packet came in the mail, I received an update with a suggestion to write a letter. I haven’t done it yet, but I knew I was going to be writing this blog post so I’m going to do it right……. now:

Dear Abegail,

Hello, my beautiful new friend from across the globe! How is your day? I hope you are smiling!

I am so happy that I decided to sign up with Children International and that you are my child, because YOU, Abegail, deserve to have all the amazing things in life that you want!

Let me tell you a little bit about myself: I am 27 years old and I live and work in New York City. I am a writer and I help companies grow by connecting with people online – like on Facebook. Although I work at a computer a lot, one of my favorite things is being outdoors… just like you! I love walking in the park and going to the beach. That’s me in the sand! Do you ever go to Manila Bay? What is it like there?

You also said you are good at drawing. I can’t wait to see! My boyfriend (that’s us below!) is an artist and draws pictures of me sometimes. My sister, my mom and my grandma are also very talented artists. I will try to draw too – just for you. I’m not that bad 🙂

I learned about your big family, your home, and your favorite things in school. I can’t wait to hear more! What subjects are you taking in school? Are you learning English? Who are your best friends? What do you want to be when you grow up?

When you write me a letter, please let me know if there’s anything that you want – I will try my best to make it happen for you! Also, I very much hope to one day come visit you in the Philippines and meet you and your family.  The fun thing is, just a few days after I decided to sponsor you, my sister Jessica (see her in my family picture below) decided to sponsor a little girl in the Philippines too! Do you know a 7-year-old girl named Ruchel? It looks like Jessica and I have a trip to take together one day! 🙂

Have a beautiful day, and I’ll talk to you soon!

Dream big!

XOXO,
Michelle Joni Lapidos

What do you think?! I just wrote it and haven’t sent it yet so let me know!

My soul feels oh-so good, and if you’re at all interested in doing something similar, for LESS than ONE DOLLAR a day, stop thinking about it and JUST DO IT! Check out children.org, read the stories on their community liftone.org for more inspiration. Don’t just feed your soul… feed a tummy with food, feed a mind with an education, and feed someone else’s soul with the most priceless gift of all: hope.

Manila Bay at Sunset