This week, we are putting a face to the name. We wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to our sponsorship coordinator, Karen Pyle. Karen has worn many hats at The Raining Season over the years including mom, cheerleader, sponsor, traveler, and sponsorship coordinator, to name a few.
Mom to our founder, Erica Rust, Karen has been around since the very beginning. Karen, her husband, and their family live in Ozark, Missouri. Mom to six and grandma to thirteen, Karen stays busy in her role as a wife, mom, grandma, and sponsorship coordinator. When time allows, she enjoys crafting, antiquing, visiting flea markets, and decorating.
In the beginning, as Erica’s mom, Karen’s role included being a good listener and supporter of what Erica was trying to accomplish. After the center opened, Karen made her first trip to Sierra Leone with a team led by Erica in 2010. As a new organization, it was imperative to grow support through sponsorship of our children. There was a sudden influx of thirty new children, and the only way to create some sustainability was to develop our sponsorship program. At that point, Karen took on a part-time role as the sponsorship coordinator. As The Raining Season continued to grow, Karen’s part-time role soon turned into a full-time position as sponsorship coordinator.
As the sponsorship coordinator, Karen handles many things behind the scenes to ensure sponsorship is a positive experience for families that partner with us. This includes coordinating Skype schedules and sharing child updates with each child’s sponsors. Karen described the main element of her job as keeping sponsors involved in their child’s life. Aside from organizing Skype calls and semi-annual updates, this also includes sharing letters between children and their sponsors, sharing information and special updates or changes in the health of the children, and answering any and all questions sponsors and potential sponsors might have. As our children began transitioning back to the regular schedules, Karen quickly raised $2,400 with the help of sponsors in October to purchase new computers to resume Skype calls. In an ordinary year, Karen travels yearly to Sierra Leone. Traveling allows her to gather information and photos of all the children to share in her semi-annual sponsorship updates.
The Raining Season has always prided itself on its unique sponsorship setup. In the beginning, TRS developed travel and Skype as a way to really set The Raining Season apart from other non-profit organizations. We built our organization on the foundation of creating personal and lasting relationships between the children and their sponsors. Karen shared what she enjoys most about this role, “I really enjoy traveling and seeing new sponsors connect with the kids when they travel. It is good to see how travel impacts peoples’ lives and hearts. The other thing that astounds me, even to this day, is how many people are willing to give out of sacrifice. People are giving out of hardship. They are really good people. Through online communication, I feel like I have a relationship with these people.” 2020 has been a difficult season for so many. However, The Raining Season is forever grateful to the many people who have stood with us and continued to support our children through sponsorship. We are so happy to resume Skype calls and are dreaming of the day when travel resumes!
Finally, Karen shared what has had a big impact on her over the years, “What has the most impact is how welcoming our TRS family in-country is. No matter how many times you travel, they make you feel so loved and appreciated. That is just good for the soul! I know it is the same for anyone that travels.” Like Skype calls, traveling to our center in Sierra Leone is a unique opportunity for supporters of The Raining Season. Traveling to our center is special. Our kids are special. And our staff is special. Together, they create an experience that many find so life-changing they return year after year.
Thank you, Karen, for the important role you fulfill as The Raining Season’s sponsorship coordinator. Thank you for the countless hours you spend answering questions, rearranging Skype calls when families need to reschedule, and making sure our children have sponsors to ensure their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are met.
Are you interested in partnering with The Raining Season as a sponsor? As we continue to look toward the future, our goal is to be fully funded through sponsorship. Fully funded means not only providing for their physical needs but also housing. This would eliminate the need to have separate building fundraisers. Expenses continue to go up, and more kids are coming in. Currently, most of our children are about 50% sponsored. By partnering with The Raining Season, you have the opportunity to help us continue our mission of providing a hopeful future and seeking justice for vulnerable children while raising up a new generation that will, in turn, bring hope for generations to come.
The Raining Season