Last year, we wrote a story about how our Hope In Action Fund was able to help a boy named Robert* at East Ridge High School in Pike County, Kentucky. At the time, our volunteer coordinator at the school, Rhonda, was just starting her position as the head of the Family Resource Center when she met Robert as an incoming freshman. Shortly after getting to know Robert, Rhonda emailed our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, to tell her about Robert’s special situation.

“Thank you for the help you always give me and all the kindness you show me. I know you must have a heart of gold and full of love to help someone you don’t even know and have never met.”

– Robert

A special place in her heart

Here is Robert’s story:

The Children Incorporated volunteer coordinator at Robert’s elementary school is especially close to him. When she spoke with Rhonda at the beginning of the school year, she expressed that she has a special place in her heart for him. She shared some information about his home life – and most importantly, about the degree of need that he experiences.

Robert lives with his single father, who was renting a trailer; but there came a time when he could no longer afford it. So they had no choice but to move into a very small apartment. Robert’s father is disabled, and his limited disability benefits barely pay rent. The father has no transportation, and he sometimes struggles to provide food for his son. It wasn’t just the details of Robert’s home life that the elementary school coordinator wanted to share with Rhonda; she also felt it was important to mention that Robert was extremely self-conscious about his appearance.

The elementary school coordinator explained that, as a kid, Robert’s four front teeth had been knocked out, and he was desperately in need of a dental partial plate. At the time of the injury, a dentist helped him to recover from losing his teeth. Later, the dentist made an impression for a bridge, which is covered by Robert’s medical insurance – but the insurance does not cover partials or dentures.

When Robert’s father was told the cost of the partial plate, he told the dentist he couldn’t afford it. A few years later, when Robert reached high school, he was still missing those teeth – and he was unwilling to smile or talk to teachers or other students directly, because he was so embarrassed about it.

Robert smiles for the camera!

Realizing that Robert was in great need of some additional help outside of what he receives from his sponsor, Rhonda reached out to Renée to ask if Robert could be considered for assistance from our Hope In Action Fund to replace his missing teeth. Renée didn’t waste any time working on the request. Within a month, Rhonda received the funds needed to purchase Robert’s dental plate, and she ordered it for him immediately. Thanks to our Hope In Action Fund, Robert finally has something to smile about.

Catching Up with Rhonda

When our U.S. Projects Specialist, Shelley Oxenham, returned to Pike County in spring of 2018 to meet with Rhonda, she was shown a letter written by Robert thanking his sponsor and Children Incorporated. Rhonda explained that at first, she kept it a secret as to where Robert had obtained the money to get his teeth fixed, because she didn’t want to embarrass him; but then she realized that Robert was telling all of his classmates about his sponsor, because he was so proud to be in our program!

Robert’s not the only one who’s proud to have a sponsor. Rhonda says there are many other children at her high school that absolutely love having sponsors, especially when they have the opportunity to show off new school clothes, and receive Christmas gifts during the holiday season – things that these kids would otherwise go without entirely.

A letter of gratitude from Robert

“Thank you for the help you always give me and all the kindness you show me. I know you must have a heart of gold and full of love to help someone you don’t even know and have never met. Because of the money you send to the Children Incorporated program, my family resource center was able to pay the dentist for my new front partial. We are sending you a picture of the ‘new me’! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”

– Robert

*Name changed for child’s protection.



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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