*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.

***

Amid the incredible desert beauty of northern Arizona, the remote community of Kayenta lies situated on the Navajo Indian Reservation, along the southern edge of the spectacularly beautiful Monument Valley.

Monument Valley is a major tourist attraction in the area, located only 25 miles from Kayenta and our affiliated project,  Kayenta Community School. The town has several lodging options to accommodate tourists who are traveling to see the gorgeous scenery and dramatic rock formations, where some of the parents and guardians of children in our sponsorship program work seasonally.

Unfortunately, for these families, when the tourist season ends, so do many of the jobs at hotels and motels, and parents find themselves scrambling to find work — an annual routine that keeps them in abject poverty.

Unfortunately, for these families, when the tourist season ends, so do many of the jobs at hotels and motels, and parents find themselves scrambling to find work — an annual routine that keeps them in abject poverty.

Serving hundreds of children in need

The Kayenta Community School is funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and operated by the Navajo Nation through a BIA tribal grant. The school has a dedicated faculty that provides children with a quality education.

The school itself is large, serving 450 students from kindergarten through eighth grade. One hundred of those children live far away from Kayenta and reside in the school’s dorms throughout the year. The children go home during summer and winter break, as well as most weekends during the school year.

During a visit to Kayenta Community School, our U.S. Director of Programs, Renée Kube, and Children Incorporated President and CEO, Ronald Carter, met with our volunteer coordinator, Gloria.

Gloria is a teacher’s aide at the school. She met with Ron and Renée in the school’s library, where they talked about the community, the school, and how our sponsorship program is helping the community’s children.

“Although many visitors to this area of the U.S. get to see the incredible natural beauty that it has to offer, according to Gloria, they don’t often see the difficult poverty that families face,” said Renée.

Getting to visit with our sponsored children

After their meeting, Gloria invited a few of our sponsored children to the library to speak with Ron and Renée.

An exterior photo of the school

First, they met with Jenny.* Jenny is an outgoing fourth grader and the middle of three sisters who are being raised by their grandmother. The grandmother is a homemaker who struggles to provide for the household on a very limited amount of tribal public assistance. Jenny told Ron and Renée that she loves to draw, and she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She also loves having a sponsor because it makes her feel good to get new clothes and shoes during the school year.

Next, they met Bethany. Bethany is a happy and active fourth-grader who likes volleyball and playing outside. She and her little sister live with their parents. Their dad is unemployed, and their mother has a low-paying job at a local fast-food restaurant. Bethany thinks being sponsored is very cool, and it makes her proud to know someone cares about her.

Luke’s special guest

Lastly, Renée and Ron met with Luke — who is Renée’s sponsored child!

Luke is in fifth grade, and he likes learning about Navajo culture and watching scary movies. He is the youngest of five siblings (two brothers and two sisters) who are being raised by their mother and grandmother. Their mother is out of work at this time, and the grandmother has a low-wage job in town.

“Luke was pretty surprised to learn that I, the lady from Children Incorporated who was visiting his school, was his sponsor,” laughed Renée.

“He took it very well after the shock wore off. I think he couldn’t believe he was meeting his sponsor. He is a great kid, and I really enjoyed getting to meet him in person.”

*Names changed to protect the children.

***

  Due to the generosity of our sponsors, all of our enrolled Native American children are currently matched. However, we have many other U.S. children who are in need of a sponsor’s encouragement and support. You may also wish to consider a donation to our Covid-19 Response Fund or one of our other special funds at this time. Please feel free to contact us for further information.

HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD?

You can sponsor a child with Children Incorporated in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD