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Our Partner International Student Exchange Releases an Update on Their ISE Gives Back Charity Initiative

International Student Exchange (ISE) is pleased to announce the release of their most recent ISE Gives Back charity initiative update. This initiative was designed to provide support to organizations that assist underprivileged children around the world. The most recent ISE update covers their ongoing partnership with Children Incorporated, which has helped children in need across the United States, specifically, for the last two years; and it details some of the programs funded through their $100,000 donation.

“It’s truly remarkable what we’ve been able to accomplish together in these last two years, and we look forward to continuing this impactful work.”

– Amanda Corey of ISE

“Being able to launch this initiative and see how it has positively impacted so many people is an absolute honor,” said Amanda Corey of ISE. “We have heard so many wonderful stories, like from Alyssa*, a young girl from Kentucky who received treatment at the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston after she sustained severe burns during a house fire. It’s news like this of kids receiving the help they need that keeps us moving toward our mission to bring people together for the greater good of the world.”

In addition to helping this family, ISE’s partnership with Children Incorporated has also had a far-reaching impact. In Washington, D.C., the donation provided funds for a weekend Backpack Feeding Program for children who would otherwise not have food to eat on the weekends; as well as helped to fund a Joyful Food Market – a market where families with limited access to grocery stores can obtain fresh vegetables, fruit, proteins, and more once a month.

Thanks to ISE, children all over the United States are receiving much-needed support.

In Richmond, Virginia, the ISE-Children Incorporated partnership resulted in the purchase of Legos and Lego Base Plates for the Broad Rock Elementary School library. They will be used for the school’s math program, which promotes coding and logistical and higher-level thinking.

To the south, in North Carolina, funds from the $100,000 donation helped to sustain the Junior Appalachian Musicians program, where children stay after school to learn about traditional Appalachian instruments and culture. Across the country, in Arizona, the donation provided funding for the construction of a reading pergola and native canyon grape vines at Pinon Community School in the Navajo Nation, as well as supplies for students to turn grapes into jam for consumption at school and at home with their families.

Amanda went on to say, “As if that weren’t amazing enough, ISE and Children Incorporated are currently sponsoring 119 children through this partnership, including 58 older boys and girls, for whom it is most difficult to find sponsors. It’s truly remarkable what we’ve been able to accomplish together in these last two years, and we look forward to continuing this impactful work.”

Visit iseusa.org to learn more about the ISE-Children Incorporated partnership, and to discover what it’s like to become a host family or area representative.

*Name changed for child’s protection.

About International Student Exchange

International Student Exchange sponsors secondary school exchange for international students, as well as provides cultural exchange programs for American high school students interested in opportunities for living and studying abroad. Founded in 1982, this certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization has provided quality foreign exchange programs for over 30,000 students.

ISE’s goal is for student exchange to bring people of the world closer together, and for the relationships created between exchange students, host families, and local communities to promote peaceful, cooperative international relations. Those interested in helping and getting involved may host an exchange student, or join a team of incredible area representatives.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD WITH CHILDREN INCORPORATED?

You can sponsor a child with Children Incorporated 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 donation portal, create an account, and search for a child who is available for sponsorship.

Celebrating Our Successes

As we reach the end of the year 2018, we want to take time to reflect on what we have been able to accomplish, thanks to our amazing sponsors and donors, over the past year. Because of our supporters around the globe, not only have we provided basic needs for thousands of children at nearly 300 affiliated projects through our sponsorship program, but we have also funded dozens of special programs that expand our reach to even more children, their families, and entire communities. The following are some of our successes that you have made possible – and we are extremely proud to have this opportunity to share them with you.

We are so grateful for each and every person who helped make 2018 such a successful year! We look forward to another great year helping children in need in 2019!

Our accomplishments

– We provided regular aid to thousands of children in eight U.S. states and Washington, D.C. As the heart of our organization, our sponsorship program provided for the basic, health, and educational needs of vulnerable youth, as well as the opportunity for our caring sponsors to correspond with their sponsored children.

– We provided hand tools, seeds, plants, soil conditioners, and other materials to a school in Martin County, Kentucky. Our volunteer coordinator there was selected as a “Healthy School Hero” by Kentucky’s Action for Healthy Kids for having spearheaded the establishment and expansion of a school greenhouse and garden. The students there enjoyed outdoor lessons, continued working and learning over the summer, and took the harvest home to their families.

– We facilitated the attendance of interested children enrolled in our program in Alleghany County, North Carolina at the Junior Appalachian Musicians after-school program. The young students took lessons in traditional Appalachian instruments, like the banjo and dulcimer; as well as in an area of cultural enrichment, like clogging, stories, and singing.

In 2018, we supported children in India with one meal a day during the school days.

– We enrolled 25 new children at the Rainbow Center in Ethiopia, 25 at Fortune’s Children at Parang in the Philippines, thirty at the Pinagpala Children’s Center in the Philippines, 25 at the Dandora Community Center in Kenya, and we supported 200 children at St. John’s Community Center in Kenya.

– We provided materials and supplies for a reading pergola and native canyon grape vines at a school in the Navajo Nation in Arizona. The vines were trained up the pergola to provide shade, and students will make jam from the grapes. The kids love the pergola, and our volunteer coordinator at the school has already seen increased reading activity because of it, which means improved literacy.

– We provided additional warm clothing for children attending a special education school in Arizona and at a charter school in New Orleans.

– We supported Backpack Feeding Programs for weekends and holidays for children in Kentucky and Washington, D.C.

– We provided assistance that allowed nine high-achieving graduates who were in our sponsorship program in the United States to attend college.

– We supported children at five schools in India and the Philippines with one meal a day during the school days so that they could stay focused and alert, experience improved physical development, and perform better academically.

– We provided emergency relief for families after a volcanic eruption near Antigua, Guatemala, where our affiliated project Sagrada Familia is located.

We are so grateful for each and every person who helped make 2018 such a successful year! We look forward to another great year helping children in need in 2019!

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD WITH CHILDREN INCORPORATED?

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

The Impact of Generosity

When we received a very significant donation from our partner International Student Exchange (ISE) last year, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, wasted no time in working to ensure that the donated funds would make a positive impact on the lives of as many children as possible in the United States. Thanks to this important partnership with ISE and to Renee’s wonderful efforts in working with our domestic affiliated projects to support children in need, we were able to do the following:

– At the Hanaadli Community School Dormitory in New Mexico, eight laptop computers were purchased for the children there to check out and use. It is vital for youth on the remote Navajo Reservation to have access to technology and a window to our global community.

Students at the Pinon School work on their the area where grape vines will be planted.

– At the Pinon Community School in New Mexico, funds went towards labor and materials for the installation of flooring in the new outdoor reading pergola, where native canyon grape vines were planted. Students use the fruits from those vines make grape jelly. The school was also provided with supplies and materials to start up a student-run equestrian feed and supply store in collaboration with the agriculture and math teachers.

– At the St. Michaels Association for Special Education in Arizona, donations went towards labor and materials for a well that provides clean, good-tasting water for physically and mentally handicapped children. The water that comes out of all the taps there is usually either yellow, brown, or black, and it smells and tastes bad. Funds also went to hardscaping the area in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, which included materials for that work, like concrete and wire mesh; and labor costs for installing a sidewalk from the main building to the playground for wheelchair-bound students. This outdoor access has heightened their spirits and increased their activity.

– At Warfield Elementary School in Kentucky, funds from ISE went towards the purchase of hand tools for the school garden, soil for the greenhouse, and plants and seeds for both.

At the Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus in Washington, D.C., funds went to providing nutritious food for the weekend backpack feeding program there. This school has a high percentage of impoverished students, many of whom are homeless.

– At Glade Creek Elementary School in North Carolina, funds paid half a semester’s worth of tuition for most children enrolled in our program – entire tuition costs for those whose parents couldn’t afford to pay half – for an after-school program put on by the Junior Appalachian Musicians. The program is run by recognized experts, and the children who participate in it take lessons in playing a traditional instrument, like the banjo, dulcimer, guitar, or mandolin; and they take a course in an area of Appalachian cultural enrichment as well.

– At Broad Rock Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia, funds went towards purchasing LEGO base plates and LEGOS for the library for the installation of a LEGO wall. The librarian and math teachers collaborate in using the wall for lessons on coding for classification purposes, logistical and higher-level thinking, artistic expression, and cross-curricular work.

– At the Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus in Washington, D.C., funds went to providing nutritious food for the weekend backpack feeding program there. This school has a high percentage of impoverished students, many of whom are homeless.

– At Charles Hart Middle School in Washington, D.C., donations from ISE went towards providing nutritious food for the weekend backpack feeding program there, and for fresh fruits and vegetables for the school’s monthly market. Ward 8, where Charles Hart Middle School is located, is a food desert, with mostly just convenience stores nearby, which sell junk food and a small selection of boxed and canned foods; there is only one full-service grocery store in close proximity. There are barriers to transportation there as well, so many children have very limited access to fresh produce otherwise.

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 HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD WITH CHILDREN INCORPORATED?

You can sponsor a child with Children Incorporated 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 donation portal, create an account, and search for a child who is available for sponsorship.

Seven Ways We Help Children in the United States

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.

Enabling literacy

Many of the children we serve have little to no reading material at home.

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.

Preventing hunger

Many kids have never been out of their communities, but their parents can’t afford to pay for field trips.

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.

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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 sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and donate to one of our many special funds.

The History of Our U.S. Programs

We are very proud of our U.S. Programs, which support children not only in rural areas of the United States, but in urban areas as well. Just as all organizations do, we started out small, with only a few affiliated projects; and we gradually added more over time.

When Children Incorporated began in 1964, our focus was on one country in particular: Guatemala. Soon, we started to offer assistance in the United States, too. By the late 1960s, our U.S. Programs Division consisted of one site in Menifee, Kentucky, one site in Rutledge, Tennessee, and a few sites near Farmington, New Mexico. Just twenty years later, we encompassed two divisions in four states: an Appalachian Division in North Carolina; and a Native American Division in Arizona, New Mexico, and North Dakota. The organization lost its connections with sites in Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Dakota after a while. By the late 1980s, we had expanded to 32 projects total in North Carolina, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Growing fast

During the mid to late 1990s, our U.S. Programs Division experienced its greatest growth period. Appalachian affiliations were initiated in West Virginia and southwestern Virginia. The organization began to focus on the state of Kentucky again, and we developed a partnership with Family Resource and Youth Services Centers (FRYSC). By partnering with these centers, Children Incorporated was able to expand our program throughout many counties in Eastern Kentucky. Our Native American Division simultaneously began making affiliations in South Dakota and Utah.

Today, we affiliate with 147 projects in New Mexico, Arizona, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, North Carolina, Louisiana, Kentucky, and in Washington, D.C. to help thousands of children in the United States every day.

Addressing urban and rural poverty

By the early 2000s, the need for our program in urban areas became apparent; so Children Incorporated decided to tackle the issue head-on. After focusing on rural poverty during much of our history, we felt the need to address and respond to urban poverty. By partnering with Communities In Schools (CIS), a school dropout prevention program that works in public school systems in the United States, we were able to expand our outreach even further, and assist children in Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Richmond, Virginia; and New Orleans.

Today, we affiliate with 147 projects in New Mexico, Arizona, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, North Carolina, Louisiana, Kentucky, and in Washington, D.C. to help thousands of children in the United States every day, by providing them with basic needs so they can attend school, obtain an education, and have the opportunities they deserve and need to succeed in life.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN THE UNITED STATES?

You can sponsor a child 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 sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in the United States who is available for sponsorship.

Beyond Sponsorship

We meet a wide array of needs for children and their families through our Hope In Action Fund, which provides support outside of sponsorship. From providing aid in the wake of emergencies to supporting weekend and summer feeding programs, individual, one-­time donations to this special fund really go a long way. They support income-generating projects, and they go towards the construction of homes and schools – and even medical clinics at our affiliated projects. As a way to show our appreciation for your support, we want to share just some of the many amazing accomplishments we were able to make in 2017, thanks to your contributions to our Hope In Action Fund.

Helping kids in the united states

Last year, our Hope In Action Fund provided continued assistance for a combined College/Career Awareness and Parent Resource Program at our affiliated project Carr Creek Elementary School in Kentucky. The fund also aided our volunteer coordinator at Lucy Ellen Moten Elementary School in Washington, D.C. in the development of a mentoring program. Thanks to your contributions, we were able to provide additional resources in New Orleans, Louisiana, which included aid for an after-school program, uniforms for children whose families could not afford them, and 500 books distributed at three literacy events during the year to increase a love of reading and to help build the home libraries of 500 children.

Kids in Kentucky have benefited greatly from our Hope In Action Fund.

Our Hope In Action Fund also provided backpacks and school supplies for “Readifests” at several of our Kentucky schools to support kids at the start of the school year. Funds enabled the entire student body of Bevins Elementary School in Kentucky, including children enrolled in our program, to benefit from an educational drug awareness and personal resiliency program. Additionally, our Hope In Action Fund provided opportunities for our sponsored and unsponsored children at Sparta Elementary School in North Carolina to attend cultural and educational performances outside of their community – experiences that they otherwise would not have had.

Donations also offered disaster relief for children impacted by serious flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Thanks to you, we were able to provide canned hams, canned vegetables, and boxed food for Thanksgiving for children at our newest project in Richmond, Virginia, E.S.H. Greene Elementary School. We were also able to pay for a young girl in Kentucky to have a much-needed eye exam, and to replace her broken glasses, improving her vision so that she’d have less difficulty keeping up in class.

Thanks to you, we were able to establish a weekend feeding program at Shonto Preparatory School in Arizona on the Navajo Reservation, as well as provide assistance for a partial denture for a high school student in Kentucky who suffered an accident that caused him to lose his four front teeth. We were also able to address food insecurity by supporting weekend feeding programs and monthly markets of fresh fruits and vegetables at our four affiliated projects in Washington, D.C. We assisted three children enrolled in our program at Piney Creek Elementary School in North Carolina to attend and participate in the Junior Beta Club State Convention in Greensboro.

We couldn’t help with such simple but powerful things without our sponsors’ and donors’ contributions to our Hope In Action Fund.

Our Hope In Action Fund also provided a complete professional outfit for a high-achieving student at Greyhills Academy High School in Arizona so that she could advance and compete in the Navajo Nation Science Fair in Window Rock. Donations gave us the ability to help a little boy at Johns Creek Elementary School in Kentucky to be transported to and from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, by providing funds for gas and food, so that he could undergo additional procedures following his open-heart surgery.

Donations enabled 25 children at Johnson County Middle School in Paintsville, Kentucky, including children enrolled in our program, to attend and learn at the Summer Scrubs Camp at the Highlands Regional Medical Center in Prestonsburg. Additionally, we were able to purchase playground equipment for the kids at G.H. Reid Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia.

Supporting kids internationally

Outside of the United States, last year, our Hope In Action Fund provided over a thousand pairs of new shoes to children in need in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. We also made a contribution to the Materi Girls’ School in Meru, Kenya for the purchase of food for the families of the children who attend, who were suffering due to a terrible drought. We provided support to Guarderia El Angel in Santa Cruz, Bolivia to pay a few teachers’ salaries when the center lost funding from its local municipality. We also completed eight housing units near our affiliated project Villa Emilia in Bolivia to help the mothers of children enrolled in our program, who were formerly living on the streets.

We couldn’t help with such simple but powerful things without our sponsors’ and donors’ contributions to our Hope In Action Fund. Every contribution impacts a specific child or family – and oftentimes, it is life-changing for them. We are incredibly grateful that we have the ability to provide for children and their families beyond sponsorship, especially in circumstances that are dire, and in which they have nowhere else to turn for help. Thanks to you, thousands of children and their families are getting the support they need every year.

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HOW DO I CONTRIBUTE TO THE HOPE IN ACTION FUND?

You can contribute to our Hope In Action Fund 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 donation portal, create an account, and donate to our Hope In Action Fund.