* Note: This blog was written prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although much has changed regarding our sponsored children’s learning experience in the past months, our On the Road stories remain relevant in regards to our volunteer coordinator’s work and the impact of sponsorship on children in our program thanks to our sponsors. We are pleased to continue to share stories with you about our work.


Nestled in the picturesque Appalachian Mountains and steeped in a rich cultural heritage, Whitley County was founded in 1818 a few miles south of the Cumberland River.

Although an area of the United States known for its exceptional natural beauty, many Whitley County residents suffer from abject poverty. The last few years saw a decline in the coal industry. The result has been a lack of employment opportunities, and today, Whitley County is one of the few impoverished counties in Kentucky. As the few remaining industries and small businesses continue to close their doors, the current economic situation in the county is grim.

“Sherry has been a stable and loving presence in the lives of thousands of children who have moved up through the school. She is driven, organized, and takes pride in running successful programs,” said Renée.

Meeting Sherry

A two-hour drive southwest from Campton, Whitley County Elementary School is Children Incorporated’s westernmost affiliated project in Kentucky.

“The school is located in the small community of Rockholds. We have a fantastic coordinator at Whitley County Elementary named Sherry. Sherry had reached out to me years ago through her Family Resource Center when she found out about our sponsorship program,” said our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“Sherry has been a stable and loving presence in the lives of thousands of children who have moved up through the school. She is driven, organized, and takes pride in running successful programs,” said Renée.

“Sherry has an excellent parent volunteer who helps with all of her programs, including our sponsorship program. Her volunteer helps her with everything from shopping for the children to helping them with letter writing.”

The B Squad Project

During a visit to Whitley County Elementary School, Renée met with Sherry, who was excited to tell her about a new local partnership she had established.

“Sherry had recently begun working with a non-profit organization called the B Squad Project. The B Squad started with one person — the manager of the Pizza Hut in Williamsburg, Kentucky — who wanted to make a difference for local kids in need. She lobbied a network of business contacts, family, and friends to gain support. Once she had funds in place, the B Squad’s first outreach project provided beds for impoverished children at Whitley Elementary School,” explained Renée.

“The next project gave personalized sneakers to kids at the school. The third outreach was at the start of this school year when the growing B Squad partnered with J.C. Penney to provide back-to-school supplies for children in need.”

Renée pictured with a few of the sponsored children in our program.

“Because of her partnership with the B Squad, Sherry can use all Children Incorporated sponsorship donations to go towards providing brand new clothes for children in our program, which they so desperately need,” exclaimed Renée. 

The inspiring Edna Sydow

Before Renée left the school, Sherry told her a heart-warming story about one of our late sponsors, Ms. Edda Sydow.

“Ms. Sydow loved to knit, and years ago, she had telephoned the Children Incorporated office and asked if she could mail knitted caps to one of our affiliated projects. I suggested Whitley County Elementary School, and Ms. Sydow agreed,” said Renée.

“The first year, Sherry received almost enough hats for both the school’s kindergarten classes, and the two teachers made up the difference. The next year, more hats arrived, and more faculty came together and donated money to purchase mittens to go with the caps.”

“This went on for many winters, up until Ms. Sydow passed away. Because her gifts of time and talent had meant so much to the school, the teachers set up the “Warm Heads for Little Hearts at Whitley North  — The Edda Sydow Project” which raises money from the community to continue to buy warm clothes for children every year,” said Renée.

“It is inspiring that Ms. Sydow’s kindness is living on in Whitley County.”


How do I sponsor a child in Kentucky?

You can sponsor a child in Kentucky in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.