Dr. Bettie Elwood, known as Nanay (‘mom’ in Tagalog), is the last living founder of Little Children of the World / Little Children of the Philippines. Now 91, she has committed her life to making a difference in the lives of children in the Philippines. Her legacy continues even into her retirement years as LCW enters its 35th anniversary, this year!!!

Nanay was not only an LCW/LCP founder, she was also a sponsor, along with her late husband and LCW/LCP co-founder, Dr. Douglas Elwood. They began sponsoring Carmela Benosa when Carmela was just in preschool and LCP was newly formed. The Elwoods continued to support Carmela through elementary and high school. After completing high school, she was eligible for a LCP scholarship to Silliman University, and the Elwoods supported her through college.

In 2012, Carmela graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a major in special education. After graduating, Carmela decided to work for Little Children of the Philippines in the sponsorship department because she wanted to give back to the organization that was so formative in her life. But, she never lost her desire to teach.

After working at LCP for 6 years, Carmela decided to pursue teaching again in 2018. She worked at a school where she was able to be a special education teacher and gained valuable training and experience in the classroom. In 2020, she was able to return to working for LCP, but this time, she was assigned to establish the Language Focus Classroom for children in the Handclasp program with speech delays.

In 2021, Carmela was given the opportunity of a lifetime—a teaching contract in the United States. In August of 2021, she packed her bags and moved across the world to central Illinois where she currently works for the public school system as a special education teacher. She would not be here in the USA if it weren’t for her sponsor, Nanay!

During Christmas break, Carmela travelled to visit Nanay at her home in Tennessee after many years of not seeing each other in person. Carmela is forever grateful to Bettie for every opportunity she has been given because of the sacrifices she made. Nanay and the other founders’ legacies will live on for many years to come through successful beneficiaries like Carmela!