Bonnie DeLongchamp


Isn’t it funny how you can go along in your life concerned with your own things, your own people and all the appointments on your calendar?   Some folks never really stop and think about the entire rest of the world.  For some, that’s ok, but for me I learned about the greater world when I was 26 years old and I was lucky enough to be hired to work at The Alliance for Children Foundation.

It began one day as I sat in a cubicle at a job in a huge corporation.  I was spending my time working for a millionaire who wanted to be a billionaire.  Everyone around me was either climbing the corporate ladder or just going through the motions and collecting a paycheck every Friday.  I felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.  One day, on my lunch hour, I decided to peruse the want ads on-line.  I honestly and truthfully entered all of the parameters of my “dream job”.  There it was, 4 lines down:  “Community Outreach Coordinator” for The Alliance for Children Foundation. The requirements were as follows: the ability to multi-task, concern for the welfare of orphaned children around the world, aptitude for public speaking, willingness to roll up your sleeves and get the job done, energetic self-starter, creativity, etc….  I thought to myself… I could do this!  Well, after several interviews with Ruthie, Vivian and Filis and lots of emails, I GOT THE JOB!!!!!

From the first day, AFCF changed how I looked at the world.  I no longer had the luxury of ignoring the global community, the millions of children without basic needs, medical care or the opportunity to go to school.  I thought about them day and night, every decision I made, every meal I ate, every time I bought myself a new shirt, got my teeth cleaned, went to the doctor when I didn’t feel well,  or went to bed in my nice split-level home in my king size bed on my 400 thread count sheets. I thought about them. The faces of the innocent, vulnerable children who had none of these things.  I knew their names, I knew their stories and I knew that I could help them.

Filis Casey believed in me enough to give me the job (without experience). She trusted me and involved me in every aspect of growing the Foundation into what it is today.  I have learned so much from her and my work at AFCF, it truly changed the course of my life.  Filis and the AFCF have not only given me the opportunity to see the world, make a difference, and fill my life with purpose, but every day I am taught that although I don’t make a lot of money,  I am a truly “wealthy” person.  My wealth comes in the form of love, family, experience and gratitude.

It is now 14 years later and I am 40 years old. It’s a long way from the 26 year old I was when I began this journey.  One thing has never changed; every minute of every day I am thankful for the opportunity to spend my precious time doing a little bit of good in the world.


Kate Stein Hilliker

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Before I worked for the Alliance for Children Foundation, I visited another, less supported, orphanage in Haiti.  There were 30 children, in a cinderblock building, with very little resources. The kids were adorable, and so sweet.  Still, I could sense a certain weariness among them.

We played for a few hours and I wondered how they occupied 30 kids without toys, school or basic supplies, so  I asked the headmistress to describe a typical day.  She said “Well, we wake up, and if there’s food, we have breakfast…”

If there’s food.

I was holding two little girls in my arms as we talked, and thinking they felt just like my own children, then suddenly, I felt like their mom.  A mom filled with sadness, frustration and panic at the thought of “my kids” going hungry for even one day.

Those two little girls had a big impact on me.  I got involved with the Foundation and joined a team working to support orphaned children around the world.  I still think about them every day, and I hope, someday, to change their lives the way they changed mine.

Susan Wright

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Change can either be very scary or very rewarding.  Seven years ago my life changed dramatically and it has been the most gratifying change I have ever experienced.

Van An Nguyen was a tiny 11 lb. baby in Hue, Vietnam waiting for her forever family.  Little did she know or did I know how much love, joy and transformation she would bring into our lives.  Not only did I now have a beautiful daughter, Evelyn Van An to share my life with, but at the same time I also now felt an intense connection with the community where she was born.  This connection inspired in me the desire to give back.  I was determined to give back to people of Hue who struggle every day to keep their families together through so much adversity. The An Hoa Social Caring Center not only took care of my daughter before I arrived to take her home but they also provided 20 special needs children with a comprehensive day program to attend.  These children are given the nurturing, care and education that their families could otherwise not provide for them.  The parents are able to find work during the day hours knowing that their children are being cared for and loved by teachers and caregivers who want the best for their them.  This program gives hope and changes the lives of children who deserve the chance of a happy, productive life filled with the same joy and love I now have with Evelyn.

Change is great and very ,very rewarding.

Sarah Croopnick

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What sparked a change in me was seeing and feeling everything around me that my family and I have to be thankful for. And seeing and hearing stories of children who were not as fortunate. They did not have everything they needed and most importantly did not have a loving home and parents to take care of them. I saw through my children’s innocent eyes their hopes and dreams that we could help by doing little things to make each day better and happier for these kids. I saw how my friends and my children’s school embraced these children and wanted to help. I now see that there is light and love and hope. And that there is good in this world. They say whenever something bad happens to look for the helpers. “There are always helpers (Fred Rodgers).”