Although our affiliated project Dorton Elementary School in Pike County, Kentucky is an older school that has been around since 1929, the staff and administrators there have implemented progressive tactics to ensure that our sponsored and unsponsored children are receiving a well-rounded education that includes learning valuable ethical lessons. On a trip to Pike County to visit with our Volunteer Coordinator Alisa, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, was told about the school’s efforts to not only teach children academics, but to also incorporate character education.

“Students spend much of their young lives in classrooms. This time in school is an opportunity to explain and reinforce the core values upon which character is formed.”

What is character education?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “Character education teaches the habits of thought and deed that help people live and work together as families, friends, neighbors, communities and nations.”

“Character education is a learning process that enables students and adults in a school community to understand, care about and act on core ethical values such as respect, justice, civic virtue and citizenship, and responsibility for self and others. Upon such core values, we form the attitudes and actions that are the hallmark of safe, healthy and informed communities that serve as the foundation of our society.

“Students spend much of their young lives in classrooms. This time in school is an opportunity to explain and reinforce the core values upon which character is formed.”

Thanks to Alisa and the Family Resource Center, Dorton Elementary School has made a commitment to implement character education while students are young, and oftentimes in need of guidance as they develop. For Alisa, who receives very little help to support children living in poverty outside of our sponsorship program, character education allows her to have an impact on students that will help them grow, because they might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn about these important topics.   

Beyond academics

While they were meeting together, Alisa described to Renée exactly how she conducts her character education courses. She explained that many children at the school come from very poor homes. Their parents are often uneducated or absent from their children’s lives due to the rising drug problem in the area; so they aren’t around to teach them valuable ethical lessons.

In order to address these issues, Alisa runs small groups for her elementary students to discuss good manners, kindness, and proper study habits. For the older children in the upper grades, topics such as puberty and bullying are addressed. Alisa also works on drug awareness programs throughout the school year. She hosts a luau in the gym, with a DJ, food, the game cornhole, ping-pong, and other games so that children not only learn about good habits for everyday life, but they also have the chance to put good habits into practice in a fun and safe environment.



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

Education, Stories of Hope, Kentucky

written by Shelley Callahan

Shelley is the Director of Development for Children Incorporated. She is also the lead social correspondent, regularly contributing insights through the Stories of Hope blog series. Sign up for Stories of Hope to receive weekly email updates about how your donations are changing the lives of children in need.

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