Helping children who are deaf or hard of hearing overcome poverty and experience a better, brighter future is at the heart of 80-year-old Loretta McDonald’s mission in life.
Since 1963, the now-retired special education teacher from Honolulu, Hawaii, has remained steadfast in her commitment to serve the world’s most vulnerable children. She’s done that through World Vision child sponsorship — 18 children and counting.
In the quietness of her heart, Loretta’s heard God’s call to care for children. Her prayer for each child is to know God’s love and that “you’re not alone in feeling alone,” Loretta says.
I want to let the children who feel alone know that they are part of a family, my family.—Loretta McDonald
She has overcome her share of hardships and heartache. “I’m an only child from what today would be called a dysfunctional family,” she says. “I want to let the children who feel alone know that they are part of a family, my family.”
Loretta seeks to leave a legacy of love, making sure her family lives on.
She’s a member of The World Vision Society, an exceptional group of partners who are building a legacy of generosity for children in need by naming World Vision as a beneficiary of their estate plans.
Loretta was drawn to World Vision through the Korean Children’s Choir — composed of musically gifted children sponsored through World Vision. The choir toured the world to sing for broad audiences.
Loretta viewed a televised performance in the 1960s and was delighted to see a child singing in Korean Sign Language.
“I was fascinated,” says Loretta, who at the time was beginning her career as a teacher at the School for the Deaf in Utah. “I wanted to be part of what World Vision was doing to make the world a better place for children. I signed up to sponsor a 5-year-old deaf Korean girl.”
Through World Vision’s holistic community development work, Loretta’s sponsored children, past and present, have gained the support to attend school and develop language and communication skills early in life. Loretta’s sponsored children in the Middle East and in Southeast Asia. Her first sponsored child is now married with children, and she currently sponsors three children, two of whom are deaf, in India.
“My desire is to help where there is the biggest need,” she says.
Loretta’s dream is that each child gains a genuine, meaningful, and inclusive education. Significant strides have been made in getting more children, particularly girls, into classrooms, but progress lags for children with challenges.
“Deafness is not a learning disability,” she says. “The children are bright. They are smart. They communicate, but not in the way we know.” During her travels abroad, she’s seen the impacts of hearing loss and its emotional toll on children. In developing countries, children who are deaf or hard of hearing rarely attend school. With the inability to gain an education, they face greater challenges in the future.
“It’s one of the great barriers and injustices children face and one that needs a lot of help in being tackled,” Loretta says. “Sponsorship gives children a chance at a better life. I want that for all children.”
To name World Vision as a beneficiary of your retirement plan or other assets, contact our planned giving experts at 1.800.426.5753 or [email protected].