We are sponsoring two children now and have done several before through WOrld Vision. We get letters, cards & pictures. Most seem pretty happy, what they did with our gift money. I think its a good idea and there are several organizations that use the system. I remember in the movie "About Schmidt' it was a contact that transformed his lonely life.
Lots of ways to give, we also work with Heifer International and Habitat for Humanity but nothinng comes as close as the years I was a Big Brother, so getting connected to a particular child, I think, is a good thing.
Old men ought to be explorers