*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.
The remote community of Red Valley — home to Red Rock Day School — is situated amid the incredible desert beauty of the Navajo Indian Reservation.
Comprising more than 27,000 square miles of spectacular but inhospitable countryside, the Reservation extends into both Utah and New Mexico. Within 60 miles of the school is the famous “Four Corners,” a spot marking the meeting of four state boundaries– Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah — at a single point.
While on their tour of the school, Patricia showed Ron and Renée the school library, which is located in the center of the school. She mentioned that sadly, there is no funding for a full-time librarian.
Despite its massive scale and rich cultural heritage, residents of the Reservation are desperately poor.
There is virtually no employment in Red Valley. Broken homes, alcoholism, and inadequate food are constant manifestations of poverty — poverty that extends to local schools which are also suffering, including our affiliated project, Red Rock Day School.
Providing the best that they can
Originally built in the 1940s, and partially funded today by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Red Rock Day School strives to provide each child with nutritious meals, care and support from well-trained teachers, and a quality education. Yet, because of a lack of government funding, the school itself does not have a full-time librarian.
While visiting Red Rock Day School, Children Incorporated President and CEO, Ron Carter, and Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, met with longtime volunteer coordinator, Patricia, who took them on a complete and extensive tour of the buildings and grounds.
“Patricia was delighted to have Ron for his first visit. Red Rock Day School is in an especially remote part of the Navajo Reservation and is quite a distance from any main roads. Patricia warmly welcomes visitors — especially when it comes to the Children Incorporated program,” said Renée.
A big need for a remote school
While on their tour of the school, Patricia showed Ron and Renée the school library, which is located in the center of the school. She mentioned that sadly, there is no funding for a full-time librarian. Instead, every Friday, a teacher’s aide will open the library so the kids can check books in and out. This means that four days out of the week, the school library is off-limits to kids, for either reading or studying. And in remote Red Valley, children living in poverty do not have a place to purchase books or the means to do so.
It was disappointing to both Ron and Renée to know that children weren’t able to make full use of the library, but they were consoled by getting the chance to meet some of our sponsored children during their visit, knowing that even though Red Rock Day School might not have all the amenities of other schools, at least children in need had the support and encouragement of caring sponsors.
Meeting special sponsored children
The first student they met was an adorable eight-year-old name Bruce.*
Bruce is rather small for his age but is big in personality. He lives with his parents and siblings. His dad is unemployed, and his mom has a low-paying job as a caregiver.
The family lives in a one-room house, but it does have electricity and running water. Bruce told Renée and Ron that he really likes having a sponsor. Patricia expressed that the Children Incorporated program has made all the difference in Bruce having school supplies and weather-appropriate clothing and shoes.
Getting to know Cynthia
The next sponsored child they met was Cynthia. Cynthia is in kindergarten and loves writing her ABC’s and playing outside. She lives with her single father and three siblings.
Her dad is a welder, and he gets jobs as work is available, often having to drive long distances for short term opportunities. He struggles to provide for his children and is deeply grateful for Cynthia’s sponsor.
Lastly, Renée and Ron spoke with Caleb, another kindergartener. Caleb likes picture books, and he loves toy cars. He lives with his mother, stepfather, and new baby sister. Both of them are self-employed.
Patricia said they mostly pick up odd jobs in the community, and their combined earnings are meager. Caleb’s sponsors have been a massive help to this family, who otherwise struggle to make sure Caleb has his basic needs met throughout the year.
*Names changed to protect the children.
How do I sponsor a child in Arizona?
You can sponsor a child in Arizona 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.