Our Higher Education Fund helps young people pursue their dreams of completing certificate programs or obtaining a degree from a university or college. Many of our Higher Education Fund beneficiaries have returned to their communities in positions as teachers, nurses, social workers, accountants, architects, counselors and speech therapists.

Today I want to share with you three special stories about students in our sponsorship program who are graduating — two of which are benefiting from our Higher Education Fund thanks to our amazing sponsors and donors.

Monica’s story

Monica* is graduating from 12th grade at our affiliated site Shonto Preparatory School in Arizona. She was enrolled on our sponsorship program in 2012 as a first grader. For her entire “school career,” Monica has had the same sponsor.

Monica is shown proudly holding her diploma.

Monica has had good attendance and good grades. She has participated in extracurricular activities over the course of her school years ranging from 4-H, hike club, bike club, dance club, study club (co-founder), volleyball (player and manager 2022), sophomore class council secretary, junior class council secretary and senior class council secretary.

When asked about nominating a strong candidate as a recipient of our Higher Education Fund, our volunteer coordinator at Shonto Preparatory School Orleta recommended Monica right away. The girl’s Higher Education Program application arrived on time and in good order. Monica wrote that her father ingrained the value of education in her soul. Monica shared she has many academic interests, but her favorite is archaeology. Digging through the dirt to discover the past brings her a sense of calm pleasure. She discovered that passion as a young girl, and she is determined to pursue it as her profession. Monica wrote that she is coming from a single-parent, low-income household that she is a minority Native woman, and she needs and values this opportunity. Monica has been accepted at the University of Arizona.

Orleta wrote a stellar letter of recommendation, stating the girl demonstrates outstanding academic and leadership skills. Orleta also shared that Monica has taken a couple of college courses online while juggling her regular high school class load and her extracurriculars. Monica has always had a strong interest in learning. She would always stay after school for extra tutorials. Orleta calls Monica “trustworthy, hardworking, devoted and good humored.”

Many of our Higher Education Fund beneficiaries have returned to their communities in positions as teachers, nurses, social workers, accountants, architects, counselors and speech therapists.

I am so happy to welcome Monica to our Higher Education Program as she graduates from Shonto Preparatory School!

Tracy’s Future Path

Tracy is graduating from 12th grade at our affiliated site Shelby Valley High School in Kentucky. She was enrolled on our sponsorship program in 2009 at Valley Elementary School. For her entire “school career,” Tracy has had the same sponsor.

In high school, Tracy chose to focus on her future career goals rather than clubs or sports. Tracy took classes to become a Medication Nursing Assistant (MNA).  While a senior, she took more nursing classes, including college credit classes.

When asked about nominating a strong candidate, our volunteer coordinator Rachel recommended Tracy right away.  Rachel shared that neither of Tracy’s parents was capable of caring for her. Tracy was raised by and still lives with her grandmother, alongside 10 other siblings and cousins. It is a tremendous struggle for the grandmother to have 11 children under her roof, but she has persevered and has instilled good character and values into the children.

Tracy is pictured in her graduation cap and gown.

One week before the state CNA exam, Tracy’s father died in a very tragic way. Despite her grief, Tracy made herself go to the examination — and to her happiness and her grandmother’s pride, Tracy passed. She graduated with her high school diploma and as a certified nursing assistant.

Tracy has been accepted at Big Sandy Career & Technical College. She plans to obtain an associate degree in nursing and to pass the national exam, which will allow her to become a registered nurse (RN).

Melissa’s Success

For this school year, Melissa took not only her 11th grade classes, but all of her required 12th grade classes, too. She graduated last week from Breathitt County High School in Kentucky.

Melissa completed both junior and senior years at same time while maintaining a 3.5 average and working each school day as a bus monitor. She was also a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps [JROTC] at the high school.

She has been accepted into Morehead State University and its ROTC program. Melissa plans to enlist in the Army after her graduation from MSU. Her future career plans are to be either an Army nurse or a military prosthetist (a health care provider who makes and fits prosthetic limbs for current and/or former service members).

Congratulations to Melissa on graduating!

*Students’ names have been changed for their privacy.


How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

You can sponsor a child 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 sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child that is available for sponsorship.


Education, Stories of Hope

written by Renee Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renee's stories