Change Agent: Salina and Michael Dayton

A North Carolina family’s dedication to helping improve the lives of children grows.

Michael and Salina Dayton began with two sponsored children and created a domino effect that has touched the lives of children around the world.
(Photo: Courtesy Salina and Michael Dayton)

Name: Michael and Salina Dayton
Home: Raleigh, N.C.
Program: Child Ambassadors

When Michael and Salina Dayton began sponsoring two children with World Vision in 2009, it triggered a domino effect. A year later, when their first daughter was born in December, they sponsored another child born the same month, in part so they had a way to teach their daughter about poverty as she and their sponsored girls grew older.

In 2014, Salina met a World Vision Child Ambassador who spoke passionately about not just sponsoring children but engaging with them. Wanting to build a stronger relationship with her sponsored children, Salina went to and read The Hole in Our Gospel to learn more. In the process, a photo of another little girl captured her heart, and they sponsored this child as well.

The family now writes bi-monthly letters, and Salina is equipped to share more about their sponsored children with her own children. Her two daughters already ask for donations at birthday parties, sell artwork to buy goats, and share their allowance money to provide chickens.

“We talk about money not in terms of actual dollars but in terms of how much support we could provide for our ‘World Vision girls.’”
Salina Dayton

“We talk about money not in terms of actual dollars but in terms of how much support we could provide for our ‘World Vision girls’—instead of buying that one toy,” Salina says.

As her passion for sponsorship grew, Salina began sharing her enthusiasm for sponsorship on social media and soon volunteered as a child ambassador to encourage others to sponsor children. In this role, Salina says she’s able to “help sponsors experience the joy of truly making a difference in the life of one child at a time.”

Among those Salina’s message has reached is Joelle Howland, who also sponsored a child. “What intrigued me most was [World Vision’s] approach in supporting communities as a whole and helping them sustain and become self-sufficient,” Joelle says.

Now, during the holidays, Joelle and her husband, Craig, use the World Vision Gift Catalog to talk with their daughters about poverty. Together, they select items from the catalog to further help children living in poverty.

Joelle says, “It’s been very rewarding for them to see that they’ve had the ability to make a difference, and their commitment to giving continues to grow.”

+ Help connect children with sponsors and become a World Vision Child Ambassador.

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