Children Incorporated frequently asks our on-site volunteer coordinators at our affiliated projects what services the children they work with are in need of most. As members of the kids’ communities, our coordinators are in contact with our sponsored and unsponsored children and their families on a daily basis, and are in the best position to know exactly what they need.
Listed below are some of their most common responses, which we hope will help you to better understand how your donations to Children Incorporated change the lives of children and families in the United States.
Many of the children we serve have little to no reading material at home; they don’t personally own any books, nor do they have magazine subscriptions. Additionally, many schools are so underfunded that their libraries and classrooms have extremely limited selections for reading and old titles. Your donations will put books in kids’ hands; your contributions will foster their imaginations and a love for reading.
One of our recent initiatives includes providing a school in the Navajo Nation with a large selection of picture and early reader books on their native culture and language. We also help kids participate in their school book fairs by letting them have books of their own to take home at no cost to their families.
Providing enrichment and remediation
Our children have amazing potential – but some of them need extra academic help. They may come from homes in which their parents have little education, and are unable to help them with their homework. Many kids have never been out of their communities, but their parents can’t afford to pay for field trips. Your gifts will help to provide for summer and after-school programs that offer tutoring and a variety of stimulating educational activities.
In the past, we funded a program at a summer camp that focused on social studies in a structured yet fun way. These summer camp students had performed very poorly in the subject of social studies at the school they attended, as documented in pretests. At the end of the summer, however, the same kids were tested again, and their scores had improved significantly.
Supporting career awareness and higher education
Our children have amazing potential – but some of them need extra academic help. They may come from homes in which their parents have little education, and are unable to help them with their homework.
As children grow up, they need hope for their futures. Many have no idea about all the possibilities they have in life, as young people with potential bright futures ahead of them. Your donations will go towards helping them with vital programs in their pre-teen and teenage years, like job and career fairs, internships, and the provision of equipment or supplies needed for vocational courses. Once our teens graduate from high school, they may apply for our Higher Education Program.
We have provided goggles for welding courses, and have funded an entrepreneur course. We are currently assisting several graduating sponsored and unsponsored children with the costs associated with technical schools, community colleges, colleges, and universities.
Providing access to healthcare
Many of the public schools with which we affiliate are underfunded and underequipped. Our coordinators need a variety of items to keep children healthy. These articles range from underwear for kindergarten accidents to antibiotic ointment and bandages for cuts and scrapes; from soap and shampoo to toothbrushes and toothpaste for kids who have run out of these items at home. We work to help keep children clean and healthy, so that they can attend school regularly, and are able to learn.
Providing weather-appropriate items and outfits
Low-income parents make hard decisions every day about how to spend their money, and what their families will have to go without: Do they pay the electric bill or replace their daughter’s split shoes? If the power goes out or is turned off, does their son have a warm blanket on his bed to keep him comfortable and healthy? Our coordinators have told us about kids taking turns going to school because there is only one winter coat to wear in the family. Many children miss school in bad weather due to inadequate clothing, lowered immunity, and illnesses resulting from not having these basic necessities. Your donations will provide these kids with the items that our coordinators feel are most needed.
Food insufficiency occurs when a child and their family don’t always have enough to eat. School children have access to the National School Lunch Program. What about when these kids are at home, though? The federal food stamp program, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is an important resource. Amounts provided to families must be strictly managed, however, and many families run out of assistance before they are allotted a subsequent installment.
Other family groups, like grandparents raising grandchildren, are sometimes too proud to ask for government aid. Our coordinators tell us that a significant number of the kids enrolled in our program have inadequate food at their homes, especially on weekends and during school breaks. As a result, our coordinators will often identify the children with the greatest need, and on Fridays, send them home with food-stuffed backpacks; and extra provisions are provided for breaks, as funds permit. Not only is food insufficiency detrimental to the health of these children, but it also correlates with academic and psychosocial difficulties – so these kids truly require all the nutritional assistance that can be provided to them.
Helping children to be active and grow up healthy
With school budgets slashed, many schools have reduced or eliminated physical education as part of their standard curriculum. School playgrounds in the most underfunded districts usually have broken, rusted, or no playground equipment; and impoverished parents must prioritize paying bills over providing for activities. Playtime is vital for children’s physical and emotional health, though; research shows that playing is linked to healthy brain growth. Donations to our Hope In Action Fund will support playground refurbishment, as well as the implementation of programs and the purchase of toys that promote physical activity, as determined by our coordinators.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT CHILDREN IN THE UNITED STATES?
You can contribute to support children in the United States in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and donate to one of our many special funds.