War in Ukraine leaves millions displaced
Child in Moldova behind an orange wall

The story behind CERI’s beginning

By Kevin C. Dinnin, Board Chairman for Children’s Emergency Relief International

I wish to share with you a personal story about love and commitment, a story about a child in Moldova that changed my life forever.

In February 1998, I was visiting orphanages and foster families in Chisinau, Moldova. On a bitterly cold snowy day, as I walked through town, a young girl approached me begging for money – not an uncommon occurrence in this poverty-stricken country.

I was taken aback by how young this child was. She was 13 years old, barely a teenager, alone on the streets fending for herself.

I learned through a translator that this young girl, Ana, lived in a destructive home with two alcoholic parents who neglected her and her three sisters and brother. She was destitute, cold, and hungry. A very sad reality, a reality I vowed to change.

In 1999, a year after my chance meeting with Ana on that cold winter day in Chisinau, we founded Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI). I sponsored this young girl, placing her in a CERI foster home which provided her with a warm and loving environment, and the opportunity to go to school. Then I watched Ana thrive!

With a new life before her and case management provided by CERI, Ana excelled in her studies, taking courses that would give her the skills she needed to get a job and make a life for herself on her own. I still stay in touch with Ana, and today I am proud to report she is an educated, self-sufficient woman, working and standing on her own two feet, married, and raising two children of her own.

Thanks to CERI, this child of God was saved from human trafficking, exploitation, and a life without love and stability – things no child should ever have to experience.

For me it was the best investment I could make, to invest in a young child whose life would be forever changed. I have had the honor and privilege to serve this outstanding organization for decades, an organization whose mission is truly one with my heart.

You can transform the life of a child too. The children of CERI need you – all of you. Your support will bring joy to their hearts and smiles to their faces. They will know they are not alone. They will know someone cares about them, someone with a generous heart and a caring spirit.

CERI has grown in the decades since its founding to serve children in countries across the globe. Ana was the start of something big, something that will live on to lift not only her generation but many more to come.

Transform the life of a child today

Connect a child with a loving family and provide the support they need to thrive.

Latest Posts

Joining forces in India to safeguard children

August 24, 2023


CERI trains professionals in India and around the world to ensure quality services are provided to vulnerable kids and families.

The story behind CERI’s beginning

August 18, 2023


"I wish to share with you a personal story about love and commitment, a story about a child in Moldova that changed my life forever."

Strong family: A Grandma’s hope

April 10, 2023


Meet Mhambi. At 85 years old she cares for three great grandchildren and a granddaughter who is HIV positive.