ACSI — Vol 17.3
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, defines complementary as an adjective describing “two things [organizations] when each adds something to the other or helps to make the other better.” A new Affinity partnership between Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI) and ACSI perfectly fits this definition. CERI is delighted to collaborate with ACSI to provide humanitarian assistance to ACSI impoverished children through our Child Relief and Support Program (CRSP).
We do not have to tell about the good work of ACSI, but who or what is CERI? CERI is a faith-based nonprofit organization that seeks to reclaim the potential of children living in extreme poverty outside the United States. CERI is the international division of a large health and human services organization called BCFS. BCFS began serving children and families in Texas in 1944, and it now has offices throughout the United States. In 1999 CERI was formed to extend humanitarian services to children and families around the world, and since then it has done projects or initiated sustained work in more than 10 countries.
CERI’s mission is to break the generational cycle of family poverty through a holistic program of nutrition and health services, educational achievement, biblical social values, and spiritual discernment. Note that CERI believes that educational achievement is a key element of breaking the cycle of poverty. This is a major intersection for CERI and ACSI. But these two organizations do not just have a juncture in education. Both CERI and ACSI believe that education should be built on a foundation of Christian values and that this is what really makes a difference in a child’s life—any child—but especially those living in extreme poverty.
So how does ACSI complement CERI? Well, from CERI’s perspective ACSI greatly enhances the quality of Christian education through textbook development, teacher training, and strengthening leadership. This enables CERI to focus more on humanitarian services and to act as a supplement to the educational experience. ACSI also provides a myriad of trusted contacts for CERI, so that we can identify needs better and make an impact on more children in a shorter amount of time. Finally, working with ACSI country staff and schools provides greater stability for long-term assistance to children.
Now how does CERI complement ACSI? ACSI ministers to a wide range of economic demographics—from those who have more than enough income to attend a Christian school to those who do not even have sufficient means to provide for their daily nutrition. Through CERI’s CRSP program, which is funded by one-on-one sponsorships, children who are impoverished will receive daily meals, health care, uniforms, and clothing. Better health and nutrition significantly increase the success of learning. The families of the children will also receive some assistance along with life coaching to encourage them to see their situation differently, to provide hope for the future, and to break the generational cycle of poverty. CERI will also supplement educational programs with after-school activities and tutoring. CERI and ACSI will also be working together to see that the children come to an understanding of differing worldviews and why Christ brings eternal hope as well as immediate joy in this life.
Please pray for us as ACSI and CERI join hands and hearts to kick off this complementary relationship as Affinity partners. Pray specifically for our pilot program in Paraguay. We are excited to have identified a school near Asunción that has already realized the need for humanitarian services and how that affects the ability of children to learn (see picture). We hope that Paraguay will serve as a model for Latin American member schools and others. We are also exploring a pilot project in South Africa. Please pray for these and other plans for our developing partnership. You can stay tuned with events by visiting www.CERIkids.org and www.facebook.com/CERIkids.