8-3-21 | Sponsorship
Meet Chris Chang
Born and raised on the West Coast, I’m a 1st generation Chinese-American and spent my entire life living in California until recently when my wife, Quyen Chang, along with our lovely dog –Ms. Lady Chang– decided it was time to change things up leaving our home for the last decade in San Francisco moving up to Seattle, Washington. I have always had a passion for traveling realizing there is so much in this world to see, experience, and eat! It was after my college study abroad experience in Hong Kong that I really began to understand the challenges so many faces on a daily basis just to be able to live and put food on their table for their families. But perhaps the most important memory that has always stood out to me during my travels was the never-ending smile and joy seen in the faces I encountered regardless of their situation. Their passion for simply living, their appreciation for anything and everything always stood out to me, a constant reminder of the privilege I’ve been bestowed.
2011 was when I first heard about Fabretto through an old colleague of mine, Zach Ciperski, as he shared his experiences in Nicaragua. I’ll always recall the glow radiating from his face when he shared his stories about the children in Nicaragua and what joy it brought to him to be able to volunteer and support them. Unfortunately in 2014, after a 3-month battle with kidney cancer, my dear friend Zach Ciperski passed away. That year was an extremely challenging one for my colleagues and I. Losing someone so close to us at such a young age so suddenly; a constant reminder that life is fleeting. It put a lot into perspective as we reflected a great deal on what we do with our lives, what legacy we leave behind, and how people would remember us as we thought of Zach. In our commiseration, one thing we all agreed on was that Zach Ciperski lived to serve those in need; a never-ending love and commitment to helping those in need. And when we think about Zach, we think about Fabretto. That following year, the founder of our company, Ben Kirshner, surprised us all, announcing our plans to build a library in San Juan de Oriente, in memory of Zach to carry on his name for the work and love he gave to this community. In addition to building the library, we were all given the opportunity to sponsor children through Fabretto and started our annual trips to Nicaragua as part of our company’s volunteer work. Thus began my personal relationship with Fabretto and supporting the children in Nica.
My passion for all that Fabretto stands for really came to fruition in 2018 when I had the opportunity to visit San Juan de Oriente with a handful of my colleagues to help build a pavilion adjacent to the Zach Ciperski library. Along with meeting my sponsored child, Yeshua, I had a chance to meet his father and mother, Erick and Roseling, his sister Nery, cousin Neymar, and the rest of his family. I’ll never forget that huge smile on Yeshua’s parents and grandmother’s face when they invited me over to their home and them pointing at the picture they had of my wife, our dog, and myself hanging in their bedroom, along with the letters we’ve sent over the years. The countless gifts of pottery and ceramics Yeshua’s family bestowed upon me engraved with our names. During that week, in addition to building the pavilion, we got to explore the town and the facilities Fabretto had established for those in need, play futbol, and see firsthand how the families and children live in Nicaragua. What stood out to me was the unwavering smiles and happiness that they all seem to carry with them regardless of their situation. I’ll also always remember that final day as we left the library. Turning around to see all the children waving goodbye to us and just breaking down uncontrollably as I reflected on everything.
There is nothing as impactful as seeing and experiencing things first hand and this trip really cemented my love for the people of Nica and the tremendous work Kevin Marinacci, Sylvia Carballo, Adelayda Lopez, Chrissy Strasser, and the entire team at Fabretto have been putting forth each and every day.
That week changed my life. It put so much into perspective and was a humbling experience. What I face every day pales in comparison to what these children and their families are facing each and every day. It made me realize the greatest gift one can ever give is helping others have a chance to be successful, to enjoy a snippet of what we here are given and sometimes taken for granted.
After that trip to Nica, my love and commitment of all that Fabretto stands for and provides simply has grown. I’m continuing to sponsor Yeshua watching him and his cousin grow into young adults, writing letters, and getting videos from them through the wonderful folks at Fabretto. And last year a handful of us associated with Zach Ciperski decided to further our commitment to Fabretto by establishing a Donor Advisory Fund in honor of Zach, ensuring his legacy as well the library, pavilion, and employees in San Juan de Oriente have the financial stability to continue with their mission of educating and serving these family and children in need, no matter what we do as we all embark on our next adventure.
But the work cannot stop there. Fabretto’ s mission of empowering underserved children and their families in Nicaragua so that they reach their full potential expands far beyond San Juan de Oriente.
This year I’ve decided to join Fabretto as a Child Sponsor Ambassador so that we can share more about the wonderful organization to those in my network and yours so they too can experience the joy and happiness that I’ve been able to experience. I encourage everyone to learn more about Fabretto and our mission here in Nicaragua and to consider sponsoring a child which costs just a dollar a day! Rest assured the return one has when you receive that letter and/or video from the child you’re supporting is a feeling money and material goods could never provide. I hope you will consider joining us in our mission to serve these amazing children so they too can have the education and life they truly deserve.