CREATED Oct. 5, 2013 - UPDATED: Oct. 5, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Armed with Ipods and headphones, families travel from room to room, catching a glimpse into the life of a child growing up in poverty.
"Its very eye opening, moving, listening to that whole story," Heather Cole said.
The 'Compassion Experience' is up and running outside Next Level Church. It shows the real-life stories of children from around the world who came from nothing, but thanks to the Compassion child sponsorship program, were given the opportunity to succeed.
Compassion has helped more than 1.3 million children, like Julian Alum from Uganda. Alum had to quit school when she was only eight years old to help support her family after her father's death.
"It was very hard even to get a meal for a day and mom had to struggle looking after five children," Alum said.
But things changed when a family from Portland, Oregon decided to sponsor Alum.
"It gave me the opportunity to go back to school again, to get free medical help," Alum said.
It also gave her the opportunity to form a relationship with her sponsors by writing letters. Alum recalls a special moment when she received a birthday card: "I had never celebrated a birthday so the first time in 12 years I got a birthday card from them so it was really really remarkable."
Since then, Alum graduated from a college in Uganda and just received a Master's Degree in social work from Baylor University. She plans on returning to Uganda at the end of the year, but first wants to give back to the organization that gave her so much.
"Seeing someone who has gone through the sponsorship program themselves has a huge impact because you know that you really are making a difference," Amy Soden, the tour manager said.
The Compassion Experience is in Fort Myers until Monday. To reserve a tour or to get more information on how to sponsor a child, log onto compasion.com/change