In lieu of birthday gifts, 8-year-old asks for donations for Guatemala

Spencer

Spencer Paakkonen, young philanthropist.

For his 8th birthday, Spencer decided to continue a tradition he started last year: to ask his friends to give to Common Hope instead of giving him birthday gifts. Spencer says “It would make me proud and make my heart happy” to know that children from his birth country are living improved lives as a result. He believes the most important thing he can do is help Guatemalan children be healthy.

Spencer was born in Mixco, Guatemala and adopted when he was five months old. His family learned about Common Hope a few years ago when they went to a Latin American Heritage Camp, and Spencer has remained very interested in the activities of Common Hope ever since. Says his mother, Heidi Paakkonen, “Whenever we receive information from Common Hope, Spencer always wants to read about how Common Hope is helping children in Guatemala to attend school, move into new homes, and see a doctor or a dentist.” Spencer made a brief announcement at his recent birthday party, explaining how his friends are helping children in Guatemala. “His friends are such an empathetic and rapt audience when he tells them that other kids need their help,” says Heidi, “We were so impressed that eight year olds are so thoughtful!”

Spencer’s mother Heidi says the family hopes to visit Guatemala when he is a little older, hopefully to help Common Hope in its efforts. This would be right up Spencer’s alley — he loves to travel and has accumulated quite a few frequent flyer miles already. “A career in flight might be in his future,” says Heidi. On the other hand, Heidi says Spencer’s compassion and interest in health and wellness might steer him to a health care career. Many thanks to Spencer for your commitment to the children of Guatemala!

 

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