MJ Moyer-Fittipaldi had been thinking hard about sponsoring a child through Pura Vida Missions for quite some time.
She was inspired by her experiences volunteering in Costa Rica and was just waiting on the right moment.
“I had been praying a lot about sponsoring,” Moyer-Fittipaldi, a double major in media studies and production and journalism, said before departing on a nine-week internship with Pura Vida, an organization that prepares and sends teams on mission trips.
One hot, tropical morning this summer, she had her chance.
Moyer-Fittipaldi walked into a loud, frenzied conversation in the Pura Vida sponsorship office on her morning off. After a few minutes, she discerned the commotion was about a miscommunication which had left a child without a sponsor.
That child was Jessica, a 16 year old who loves Adele, Bruno Mars and One Direction. Jessica has four older siblings who she no longer lives with, as they were taken away due to her mother’s inability to care for them.
“It was crazy – that moment, that coincidence,” Moyer-Fittipaldi said. “I thought, let’s do it.”
The two quickly discovered that music is an incredibly important aspect to each of their lives when Jessica brought her guitar to dinner and played it for Moyer-Fittipaldi. Their original connection over music proved deeper when Jessica opened up to Moyer-Fittipaldi about her home life.
“Talking to her about her struggles brings me to my own story, I guess,” Moyer-Fittipaldi said. “I’ve been through a lot, and most people don’t know, just because I put it behind me.”
The price tag for trying to better Jessica’s life, both financially and spiritually, is about $360 a year. Though that’s about a dollar a day, Moyer-Fittipaldi admits that as a college student, she is concerned she simply will not be able to make enough.
She plans on supplementing her small student income with prize winnings from poetry slam competitions in order to pay for the sponsorship. Moyer-Fittipaldi said she recognizes she is a new player in a competitive game, but hopes that her reasons for performing will be enough to take her to the top.
There is a healthy catharsis in performing, as well, Moyer-Fittipaldi said. It allows her to deal with her own struggles, but also provides a tool with which she can help others to come to terms with the rough patches in their lives.
“I’ve basically been writing nonstop,” Moyer-Fittipaldi said, calling her experiences in Costa Rica a good source for material. She hopes that her long background in writing poetry since childhood will help make her poetry slam debut a bit easier.
Though she said she recognizes a Christian slam-poet competing in the hopes of raising money for a young girl in Costa Rica is a little unorthodox, Moyer-Fittipaldi simply smiles, shrugs and quotes her favorite Christian rapper, Lecrae.
“If you live by other people’s approval, you’ll die by their rejection.”
Victoria Mier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org