Frequently Asked Questions
We hope you find the following information useful. If you still have questions after reviewing the general information on our web site and the following specifics, feel free to contact us. For your convenience, you can browse through all of the information below, or jump directly to any of the following specific topics:
I'm ready to be a part of the team and help. Where do I begin?
Sponsoring a child is the first step we recommend, as it is one of the simplest, yet most helpful and rewarding forms of support you can provide. When you sponsor a child, you provide not only financial help, but much needed emotional support. As your child's personal mentor, you will directly touch that child's life through exchanging letters, sending small gifts, and even visiting your child.
I've sponsored a child, but I want to do more. What's next?
The next step we recommend is selecting one or more of our financial support opportunities. We offer a variety of these, so that you can find one that touches your heart specifically, while also fitting within your budget. Many people like to contribute toward the building of particular facilities, as it allows them to see and touch the results of their assistance. However, there are many other ways to help that are very important--from one time donations, to recurring monthly support plans, to in-kind contributions. From our web site home page, simply hover over the "Help Now" button in our top menu, or check out the various other links on the right hand side of the page.
The ultimate form of involvement is making a personal visit to an orphanage, where you can spend time with the children and participate in some helpful volunteer activity. It may involve helping with the construction of a needed facility, or simply spending time with the children and demonstrating that someone cares about them. We make such a trip within reach of most people. Orphanage visits can be the whole purpose of your travel, or you can add on a visit as part of your other travel plans.
What makes SereniGy Kids different than other orphan charities and "relief" agencies?
Unlike most of the other agencies, our mission goes beyond simply providing needed short term relief in the form of food, water, and the other basic necessities. Those are very important functions, but for us, providing basic care is merely transitional. Our ultimate goal is that each orphan coming under one of our programs be placed into a loving, permanent home. At the same time, we want to give each orphan the hope for a future outside of poverty by educating them and equipping them with important life skills. Ours is a very holistic approach.
What's the best way to stay current on the results of my assistance as well as learn of other opportunities to help?
The best way to stay in touch with what we are doing is through our periodic newsletters. If you haven't done so already, you can sign up here. Our web site is also regularly updated with important information, so be sure to check in from time to time.
Can I take a charitable contribution deduction for my support to SereniGy Kids?
Serenigy Global Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization under the United States tax code, and support payments should generally qualify as charitable contributions and thus be tax deductible in the U.S. However, you should consult your tax advisor as to your specific situation.
Will I receive a receipt for tax purposes?
Yes, we will mail a receipt combining your annual giving. However, you should also keep your own records of your giving.
Is it safe to use a credit card on this web site?
Yes. We use industry standard secure online credit card transactions processing systems.
For the Child Sponsorship, I was sent to PayPal. I don't want to create a PayPal account. I simply want to use my credit card. Is that possible?
Yes. You will still be taken to the PayPal payment screen, but you can choose to make payment without creating a PayPal account. While not required, you may find that creating a PayPal account is actually convenient and useable for making other online purchases. Creating a PayPal account is simple and secure.
If I am making on-going payments, will I be able to change my credit card information if I need to?
Yes, you can do that by contacting us.
Is there third party information available about your organization?
Yes. Please review the Financial Integrity information under the "About Us" menu, which contains links to the Texas Secretary of State's offices as well as to GuideStar, a leading charity information site. You can also find us on the IRS charity web site.
Do you make public your financial information?
Yes, you can review important financial information on the GuideStar site referred to under Financial Information under the "About Us" menu.
Do you have policies in place concerning child security, protection and privacy?
Yes. Please review our Child Security Policy accessible under the "About us" menu.
I'm not an American citizen. How does that affect what I am reading on this web site?
This web site is currently geared toward U.S. citizens living in the United States. Most of the information remains valid for citizens of other countries, except that relating to taxation and travel.
How do I sponsor a child?
Please follow the links throughout our web site, which will lead to a screen where you can select a particular child and set up your monthly sponsorship payment. Your funds will be pooled with other child sponsors so that all children benefit equally from the program and no child feels left out.
Will I be able to communicate with my sponsored child?
Yes. It is actually encouraged and expected. Child sponsorship is so much more than a financial contribution, it is a responsibility. Establishing a one-on-one mentoring relationship with your child is actually a primary purpose of child sponsorship. It is important for your child to recieve your encouragement, and for them to know that someone actually cares about them. We encourage you to write, and to send a small gift on their birthday and at Christmas using our convenient online store.
Will I be able to visit my sponsored child?
Yes, in almost all cases. Please review the "Visit an Orphanage" section of our web site for detailed information.
Can my sponsored child visit me?
Until they they turn 18, legal issues like immigration, child protection laws and more make that prohibitive. However, we absolutely encourage you to visit your child in their homeland.
WIll my child have any sponsor other than me?
No. While the child's local program may receive various forms of general support, you will be the only person your child has the opportunity to get to know outside of their own village. That's why it is very important for you to communicate with your child and build a relationship.
What language will my child speak?
English, though it may be mixed with the local language.
Can I sponsor more than one child?
An important part of child sponsorship is the one-on-one relationship that is established, so at the present time we ask that each distributor only take on one child. In addition, there are more distributors than there are children available for sponsorship, so we want to give the opportunity for the most number of distributors to become involved. However, there are many other ways to help.
Can I "give" my sponsorship to someone else, such as my child?
Yes, with adult oversight, so that the child also has the opportunity for adult mentoring as well. Please sign up as yourself as we match distributor records, but then contact us with your request.
I'VE SPONSORED A CHILD. WHAT NOW?
(1) First, get to know your child by writing a letter, letting them know a little about you and perhaps sending your photo. (2) If you feel led, you can arrange for an age-appropriate gift once or twice per year from our online store. (3) If you haven't already, consider purchasing a new uniform for your child (see "Purchase Supplies"). (4) Plan a visit! (5) Watch for our newsletters for more information.
Tell me more about writing letters to my child?
We suggest that you write to your child every 2-3 months. Due to customs and other international shipping issues, letters can take weeks to arrive, so plan accordingly. You child will likely write back, under local staff's guidance.
Please mail your letter to our corporate offices, making certain to note the name of your child, birthdate and country on both the envelope and the letter. The address is as follows:
Serenigy Global Foundation, Inc.
c/o 668 N. Coast Hwy. #1123
Laguna Beach, CA 92651 (USA)
For your privacy and protection, do not include any identifying information in your letter other than your name (a photo is acceptable). We will forward only your letter so that your return address does not become available to any unscrupulous activity. We will translate your letter if necessary. We also reserve the right to withhold any communication or enclosure we feel is innapropriate for any reason whatsoever. Your child's letters to you will be routed through the corporate offices to protect your privacy as well. Due to the technical and administrative issues, we cannot accept e-mailed communications to your child.
Can I send gifts to my sponsored child?
We encourage small occasional gifts as reminders to your child that you care about them. Because of child protection issues and international shipping issues (customs, theft, high cost, etc.), we have simplified the process for sending your sponsored child a gift. You can simply use our online store, and local staff will actually purchase an age appropriate gift selected especially for your child.
Can I send additional money to my sponsored child?
No. However, our web site offers many other ways to provide additional financial support to our children as a group.
What does it mean to be a child's mentor?
An important part of child sponsorship is establishing a one-on-one relationship with your child. The most important aspect of that is for your child to know that you love and care about them, as shown through your communications and possible gifts and even visits. Mentorship involves providing affirmation of value and encouragement to the child, and providing basic educational, career, and moral guidance when opportunities arise. The latter should be done without any particular religious explanation.
How long does my sponsorship last?
Your sponsorship will last indefinitely until the child becomes an adult, or you elect to cancel your sponsorship. In the case of an orphan care program, if your child is adopted, you will be given the opportunity to continue your communication with your child, and you may elect to continue the financial support of the child's adoptive family.
Can I cancel my sponsorship?
Yes. Since a sponsorship is a voluntary act to begin with, it can be cancelled at any time. However, we hope you will consider the possible negative impact on a child's self-esteem before doing so. If you do need to cancel, we ask for at least thirty days notice to give us time to locate a new sponsor for the child. To cancel, simply contact us.
Does my monthly child sponsorship amount go directly to or for the benefit of my sponsored child?
The monthly child support amounts for all children at a program locale are combined and used to fund programs benefitting all of the children at that locale. We do not want to create a situation where the "cutest" kids are better served than the others. U.S. tax law also precludes funds being given directly to an individual.
Why can I no longer see my sponsored child's photo on your web site?
Once a child is sponsored, their photo is removed so that visitors focus on those children remaining available for sponsorship. Sharing photos with your sponsored child is an important part of child sponsorship, so you will have many opportunities to see your child's photo over the years.
Do you have a Child Security Policy?
Absolutely, and it is strictly enforced, including legal prosecution. You can review it here.
What does it mean to "sponsor a local adoptive family"?
This is a program we will be adding in the future whereby we provide support to local adoptive families. This encourage local adoptions and helps overcome a common barrier to adoption, that being the added expense of an additional child.
My downline team would like to sponsor an entire orphanage we have become aware of. Is that possible?
In most cases, we are available to help facilitate that and add that orphanage as one of our programs, either exclusive to the team, or non-exclusively. Please contact us with what you have in mind and for further details.
How does my sponsorship help?
As you can see from this web site, the children we support have many needs. The financial part of your sponsorship helps with the various physical needs, and the relational part of your support provides emotional support.
After sponsoring my child, I learned some things about them that were different than the original profile. Why is that?
In preparing each child's profile, we rely on local staff to provide the desired information. However, we face significant language, communication and cultural barriers that impact our ability to achieve complete accuracy. Things as simple as birth dates, name order and even gender can be confused. Living situations can be difficult to define. If you discover any inaccuracies in your child's profile, we ask two things. First, your patience and understanding, and realizing that whatever it says, you are helping a child. Second, we do ask that you notify us so that we can adjust our records accordingly. Thank you for your understanidng!
What's the difference between making a donation, making a monthly pledge, funding a project, and purchasing supplies?
A donation is typically a one-time gift of money. A monthly pledge is a donation made every month, and which is automatically charged to your credit card. Funding a project allows you to select a particular project that is important to you, and contribute with others to a project fund. Purchasing supplies allows you to very precisely identify exactly the type of support that your funds will be used for.
Can I make a general donation?
Yes. General donations are very helpful. Simply use the link under the "Help Now" menu.
Can I make a larger donation on a payment plan?
Yes. Simply select the "Monthly Giving" link under the "Help Now" menu. Then use the drop down menu to select the Support Payment Type of "Donation (Recurring)". Since a recurring donation is a voluntary act to begin with, it can of course be cancelled at any time.
Can I cancel a monthly giving plan?
Yes. Simply contact us.
I visited an orphanage and now have some other ideas for how I might assist. Can you help coordinate that?
Yes. Simply contact us.
How much of my general donations and earmarked support funds is actually sent overseas?
100%. Due to a generous administrative support commitment from Serenigy Global, Inc., we have very low U.S. administrative expenses. Those that are incurred within SereniGy Kids are funded as part of our child sponsorship program. Unlike many charitable organizations, we do not pay professional fundraisers, and most of our staff are volunteers or paid directly by Serenigy Global, Inc. for their services to SereniGy Kids.
I'd like to visit a program site. Can I do that?
Yes. Visiting our kids can be one of the most heart-warming and life-changing experiences you can have. Our web site contains everything you need in order to schedule your visit and make your travel arrangements.
How far in advance do I need to plan my trip?
The further in advance, the better, and we recommend at least 4-6 weeks out. However, if you already have your immunizations and travel documentation, you can plan your trip very last minute.
How much does it cost?
Trip costs vary depending on airfare, accommodations, side excursions and other typical costs of travel. At the present time, there are no fees to visit any of our orphan programs, except for a nominal $50 per person trip coordination fee (non-refundable).
How and when is the "Trip Coordination Fee" paid?
The Trip Coordination Fee is paid at the time of filling out the online Trip Registration Form.
Can someone help me arrange my trip? What if I would rather make my own travel arrangements?
You are free to use the services of a travel agent of your choosing. However, it is very simple to plan your own trip using the information on our web site.
What is a typical itinerary for an individual service trip?
Itineraries vary depending on local factors and length of trip, but an example of a one week trip follows:
Saturday/Sunday: Fly into destination country and travel to orphan program destination. Check into hotel (or other accommodations) where you can get settled in and rested for the days ahead. Time permitting, tour local village.
Monday: 8:00 a.m. Site tour. Meet with local staff and plan week's activities. 8-4 Orphan Contact & Service Project (including lunch with the children). Return to room. 6:00 dinner, then relax and reflection time.
Tuesday: Orphan Contact & Service Project
Wednesday: Local Area Sightseeing and/or Recreational Activities Trip (if desired)
Thursday: Orphan Contact & Service Project
Friday: Orphan Contact & Service Project, and say goodbyes to the children and staff.
Saturday: Depart to airport.
Why do all scheduled trips begin and end on specific days of the week?
We rely on local staff to assist with our visitation programs, so our programs are designed around staff availability, etc.
Can I take my family or a friend?
Yes. You will fill out a Trip Registration Form only for yourself, but let us know of any others traveling with you.
What language is spoken at the program sites?
English is spoken at most of our facilities, though local languages are often spoken as well. Our Destination Information page for each program has further details about language and more.
Are there any "rules" governing my visit?
Common sense should prevail. However, this web site contains various rules and policies concerning "hands on" activities, like program site visits. Most significant is our Child Security Policy. By visiting, you agree to all such rules and policies as well as those existing at the local site, and agree to submit to the authority of local staff.
Where can I learn more about international travel?
The best source for current information about all aspects of international travel is the U.S. Department of State web site.
Is international travel safe?
Generally speaking, yes, however the global terrorist threat certainly raises safety issues in particular locales. The best source for current information about all aspects of international travel is the U.S. Department of State web site.
Is international travel complicated?
Not really. The primary difference between domestic travel and international travel is the identification and permission to enter process (passport and visas) and possibly needing immunizations. This is all explained on the U.S. Department of State web site. Our web site also has very good summary information based on our own travel experiences.
How do I obtain a passport?
The best source for current information about all aspects of international travel is the U.S. Department of State web site.
What is a visa?
A visa is an entry document issued by the country you are visiting, so that you are accounted for as being in the country, and to ascertain that you leave. The best source for current information about all aspects of international travel is the U.S. Department of State web site.
I am interested in adopting a child from an orphanage. Is that possible?
At the present time, none of our supported programs have children available for international adoption. The Foundation believes that the best adoption solution for most third world orphans is a local one involving existing extended family or other loving households within the nearby community (known as "indigenous" adoptions). Uprooting a child and taking away familiarity, existing relationships and what little security they might have is not always the best solution for a child, even though it may be difficult to watch a child remain in what we perceive as an overall poverty situation. On the other hand, due to the sheer numbers of orphans and/or particular circumstances of a child, local options are not always available or in the best interests of the child. The Foundation will thus partner with adoption agencies who can further facilitate adoptions from within specific orphanages or for select child circumstances. Distributors will be given first preference for any such international adoptions that become available, providing the ultimate hands on means of helping solve the world orphan problem.
Do you facilitate adoptions?
No, but we partner with reputable organizations who do nothing but that, and can refer prospective adoptive parents to such organizations certified to be in compliance with the Hague Convention by the Council on Accreditation and listed on the State Department Web site .
How can I learn more about international adoptions?
The best source of information on international adoptions is the U.S. Department of State web site.