Our Affiliated Site: Gouge Elementary School in Kentucky

facts about Gouge Elementary School

  • Grades Served: Kindergarten – fourth grade
  • Facility Description: Constructed in 1955, the school building contains 16 classrooms, a cafeteria, and a gymnasium.
  • Education: The teaching staff is fully certified, and the instruction conforms to the requirements of the state of North Carolina. Gouge Elementary School also offers a unique music course, in which all students participate.
  • Special Education: Special education is provided through the school’s highly respected Trainable Mentally Handicapped (TMH) program.
  • Meals: A nutritious breakfast and lunch are provided each day. Fifty-two percent of the students qualify for the Federal Free or Reduced-Price Meal program.
  • Medical Care: A part-time nurse treats students whenever the need arises.
  • Basic Needs: As with all of our affiliated sites, our volunteer coordinators determine the individual needs of each sponsored child, and those basic needs are provided to them on a regular basis. Items include but are not limited to clothing, shoes, bedding for the home, hygiene items, medications, eyeglasses, and school supplies — all which help them overcome the barriers they face living in impoverished households.

Mitchell County, nestled in the rugged western mountains of North Carolina, serves as a tourist destination for thousands who flock to the region each year to glimpse its spectacular vistas. The area’s breathtaking beauty and rich culture, however, belie a tragic truth — in this smallest and least populous of all North Carolinian counties reside some of the nation’s poorest families. Years ago, this region boasted a number of productive feldspar and mica mining operations. Today, those minerals no longer bring in the profits they once did; mines have closed, and many workers who earned their livelihood by mining are now jobless.

With little in the county to attract industry — and inadequate highways to encourage development in the mountains — Mitchell County has few economic prospects. Many families in this rural area live well below the federal poverty line, and the overwhelming poverty has debilitating effects on children of the region, affecting their self-esteem, health, and overall well-being. For this reason, Gouge Elementary School serves as a beacon of hope to its surrounding community, providing its students with a sound education, quality teachers, and an atmosphere of respect, along with the opportunity to rise above the difficult economic circumstances that plague their families.