“I am humbled and convicted when I consider my extreme blessings, especially in the face of such poverty.”Sarah Trager, Tournament Director at Double Exposure
Sarah Trager and I spoke with each other about the hobby and Compassion International on September 3rd, 2019.
TheCharityBoardGamer: Sarah, thank you so much for meeting with me today. Tell us about yourself and what brought you into the board game hobby.
Sarah: Hi, Chris! Thanks for having me. I love board and card games and have since childhood. Growing up we played the classics – Monopoly, Sorry, Trouble and Clue. One of my favorite parts of my board games origin story is this: my dad was in the military until I was sixteen. He was away a lot but sent lots of letters and little gifts while he was gone. He used to record himself reading my favorite books, or just talking to us, and send us the tapes to listen to. He once sent me a game of Trouble, and promised we’d play when he got home. So my love of games started as a kid, and it grew as I did. My first semester of college a friend taught me how to play Settlers of Catan and I was instantly in love. It’s still my all-time favorite game.
TheCharityBoardGamer: How long have you been in the hobby?
Sarah: The hobby – about twelve years I guess. I’ve been in the industry for about four.
TheCharityBoardGamer: What do you do in the industry?
Sarah: I am the Tournament Director at Double Exposure, which is a North American-wide company which helps game designers and publishers create, market, and support their games.
TheCharityBoardGamer: What is your favorite game currently?
Sarah: Settlers of Catan is my always, all-time favorite. Recently, I’ve been enjoying Clank!, Space Park, and Raccoon Tycoon.
TheCharityBoardGamer: Any particular designer or publisher that you enjoy the most?
Sarah: John Clair (Mystic Vale, Space Base…) puts out consistently solid work that I enjoy. Gil Hova is brilliant. My husband has started to design games and I am not only immensely proud of him, but also genuinely enjoying his creations.
TheCharityBoardGamer: So tell me about Compassion International. What is it and what do they do?
Sarah: Compassion is an international program that helps kids around the world who suffer from extreme poverty. They help by providing food, clothing, medical care, schooling, professional training, emergency/disaster relief and much more. I’ve been a part of it for the last thirteen years.
Sarah: I “adopted” a kid – Isaac. I found out about the program in college. A representative came and shared pictures and stories of the children and families and communities that the program touched. I didn’t have a lot of money but knew that I wanted to be Jesus’s hands and feet to one of those kids. I signed up and never looked back. Isaac grew up and moved outside of the range of the program in his country, so I was assigned another child. I have been blessed to know four different kids throughout my time in the program so far.
TheCharityBoardGamer: Have you done any special activities or helped the charity in a certain way?
Sarah: Not directly. Sponsors can go on trips to meet their kids, but they are expensive and I’ve always felt the money could be better used in a different way. One of the things that I hope had a big impact (I won’t actually know this side of heaven) is that, when working for AEG (the publisher behind games like Point Salad, Mystic Vale, and Space Base), I was asked about my favorite charity because AEG makes monthly donations to different charities – and I recommended Compassion International. They went ahead and chose to support Compassion and I hope that made a huge impact.
A more direct way I have been able to be impactful is in the individual lives of the children I have sponsored and continue to sponsor. Compassion encourages sponsors to develop relationships with their kids by exchanging letters, cards and photos. I have been so blessed by these relationships over the years and am so thankful for the different perspectives on life and faith the kids have shared with me.
Sarah: Sponsors can choose to send additional money for their child’s birthday and/or Christmas. This money goes directly to the child and their family…I have received photos of my kids surrounded by all the clothing, food and special gifts. It makes me cry every time. At first I was sad that the money wasn’t used to support my American-style idea of Christmas or birthday – cake and toys. The kids and their families use the money to buy food, clothing and shoes. I am humbled and convicted when I consider my extreme blessings, especially in the face of such poverty. Sponsors can also send extra support for specific needs of a community. Compassion offers a catalog of items that people, sponsors or not, can purchase for communities all over the world. The items range from soccer balls and Bibles to livestock, lifesaving medical equipment, and wells which provide clean water to whole villages.
TheCharityBoardGamer: Sarah, If someone wanted to hear more or find out more information about Compassion International, where could they go?
TheCharityBoardGamer: Sarah, thank you for sharing your time with us today. I appreciate you as a friend and as part of the board game family.
Sarah: Likewise. Thanks for highlighting Compassion International!