Oftentimes, children living in poverty have to grow up quickly. Their parents might work long hours away from home – or even out of town – which means kids must cook their own meals and put themselves to bed without mom or dad tucking them in. Sometimes, unfortunately, even if a parent is not working out of the house, they are not emotionally, psychologically, or physically capable of caring for their children.

Instead of focusing on school and getting to play with their friends and siblings, older brothers and sisters end up helping raise kids themselves – which can add a lot of stress to their lives.

In instances like these, kids find themselves taking on all household responsibilities, including watching over their younger siblings. Instead of focusing on school and getting to play with their friends and siblings, older brothers and sisters end up helping raise kids themselves – which can add a lot of stress to their lives.

Just a step ahead of her siblings

On a recent trip to visit Feds Creek Elementary School in Pike County, Kentucky, our U.S. Projects Specialist, Shelley Oxenham, met with our Volunteer Coordinator Jan, who introduced Shelley to a special student named Laura*.  As a fifth-grader, Laura is helping to raise her younger sisters, Rebecca* and Lori*, even though she herself is only slightly older than the two of them. Although her parents are unemployed and at home during the day, Laura is the one responsible for getting her sisters up and ready in the morning before school, which is a difficult task for a ten-year-old.

Our Volunteer Coordinator Jan with a couple of our sponsored children at Feds Creek Elementary School

Sometimes the girls go to school wearing each other’s clothes; Rebecca has shown up in Lori’s pants and shoes, because that’s what Laura told her to put on. Although it is a lot for her to do, Laura does her best to raise her siblings and make sure they get to school and don’t fall behind.

Thankfully, even though Laura has a great deal of responsibility on her plate at home, when she gets to school, she has Jan and the resource center – as well as support from her sponsor – to give her some much-needed relief. Instead of taking care of others, she can be taken care of by loving and supportive adults, which gives her a chance to concentrate in class and just be the kid she deserves to be.

*Names changed for children’s protection.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN KENTUCKY?

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 sponsorship@children-inc.org.