April 20, 2011

11 CN: Children in Need Aided by AU Studen'ts Senior Project

Children in Need Aided by Andrews Student’s Senior Project
Thesis paintings boost overseas child sponsorship

BY ASHLEIGH JARDINE, student news writer, Andrews University

Andrews University student Ryan McCabe is painting with a purpose this semester. McCabe, a graphic design major, presented his Bachelor of Fine Arts senior thesis exhibition on March 22 at the school’s Smith Hall Gallery. Titled “The Least of These,” the exhibit sought to find sponsors for children in need around the globe. Sponsorships were made through Compassion International, a Christian child advocacy ministry that provides hope for youth in poverty.

McCabe painted 20 portraits of children for the event. Each was labeled as “high priority” by Compassion, meaning that they have been in need of sponsorship for more than a year. At the exhibit attendees could sign up to sponsor a child whose painting was on the wall. As an incentive, McCabe promised sponsors they could keep the child’s painting at the end of the event.

A sponsor himself, McCabe was inspired for the theme after hearing a chapel talk in January by Duffy Robbins, who teaches youth ministry at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania.

FOR A GOOD CAUSE: Ryan McCabe poses before the exhibit that raised funds for children in need.  [PHOTO: Jason Lemon/AU]

Robbins “talked about his experience with sponsorship through Compassion, and I realized I’m actually in a position to sponsor a kid,” says Ryan. “The reason I had become inspired to do that was because the idea had ?been presented in the right way. I wanted to present that same information in a way that would make people catch on to it, so even a group of college students would want to sponsor.”

After careful planning and prayer McCabe contacted Compassion and asked for 20 more children’s information packets. When he received their photos, he went to work, spending nearly four hours on each painting and building their wooden frames.

Ryan spent days before the event in constant prayer, hoping even 10 children—50 percent of the portraits shown—would receive a sponsor. Much to his amazement, an impressive crowd showed up for the exhibit, and each child received a sponsor in just 24 hours.

“It blew me away,” says McCabe. “I wasn’t expecting a reaction so immediate and visceral in the amount of people that showed up. I was hoping for the best, and it ended up being 10 times better than what I was expecting.”

Founded in 1952, Compassion International helps more than 1 million children in 26 countries. The ministry provides children in poverty with food, shelter, education, and health care, as well as Christian training.

To learn more about Compassion International, visit www.compassion.com. McCabe’s Web site is at www.ryanmccabedesign.com.