Tag Archives: Arizona

Our U.S. Feeding Program Fund

Our U.S. Feeding Program Fund, through our Backpack Feeding program, provides children food to take home on the weekends and during summer break when they otherwise might not receive regular meals. We support children at our affiliated projects in Kentucky, Washington, D.C., Arizona, New Mexico, Virginia, and New Orleans.

Every year, Children Incorporated provides food for hundreds of children in the United States. Consider donating to our U.S. Feeding Programs Fund to help ensure that children get enough food to eat every day.

What is backpack feeding?

Twenty-two million children receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program and the National School Breakfast Program. Although free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs provide significant nutritional benefits to students during the school day, many disadvantaged children do not have access to regular meals when school is not in session. For many of these children, school meals may be the only meals they eat.

Our Backpack Feeding Program, funded by our U.S. Feeding Program Fund, helps alleviate child hunger by discreetly providing hungry children with bags full of nutritious, non-perishable, and easy-to-prepare food on Friday afternoons, so they have food to eat throughout the weekend or over holiday breaks. Thanks to the Backpack Feeding Program, children show up on Monday morning healthy and ready to learn.

What you need to know about child hunger in the U.S.

– In America, 1 in 6 children don’t know where they will get their next meal

– Nearly 13 million kids in the U.S. face hunger

– 5 out of 6 kids who rely on free or reduced-price school meals aren’t getting free meals in the summer

How you can help

Every year, Children Incorporated provides food for hundreds of children in the United States. Consider donating to our U.S. Feeding Programs Fund to help ensure that children get enough food to eat every day.

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Attending the Freshman Academy

Greyhills Academy High School, located in Tuba City, Arizona, has been affiliated with Children Incorporated since 2006.

This unique school focuses on nurturing students who have the potential for higher levels of academic success but might struggle in other areas such as behavior or attendance — often due to the circumstances involving the impoverished households from which they come.

Helping students on a path towards success

Renée met with some of our sponsored children during her visit.

To encourage students to want to do well in school, Greyhills offers programs and activities in Navajo culture and language that foster pride in their heritage. Additionally, the school also provides a highly structured program called the Freshman Academy, where efforts are made to ease the transition from middle to high school for incoming ninth graders.

According to the Greyhills Academy website, “To help incoming freshmen ease into the rigors and expectation of our school, we have the Freshman Academy. This is a transitional program to give our incoming freshmen the support they need to be successful.”

Part of helping students transition into high school is also offering a residential program for those children who are coming from faraway areas. These students live in the Academy’s dormitories during the week and then go home on weekends and school breaks. During their stay, they enjoy athletics, clubs, and family engagement activities that help them get acclimated to their new environment, make friends and learn new skills and hobbies.

This unique school focuses on nurturing students who have the potential for higher levels of academic success but might struggle in other areas such as behavior or attendance.

It takes a village

While visiting Greyhills Academy, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, met with our volunteer coordinator at the school, Roger, as well as some other staff members who are vital to the success of our sponsorship program at the school.

“Roger had set up a committee specifically to manage the Children Incorporated program at the school,” explained Renée.

“With this system, he and three other administrators take turns going on shopping trips for our sponsored children. Many of the families meet them at local stores, or they will shop personally for those who cannot make the trip.”

“Thanks to the committee members’ support, Roger can handle the workload involved with providing for sponsored children regularly as well as ensuring that the children are given opportunities to communicate with their sponsors through letters,” said Renée.

The Freshman Academy is home of the Knights.

After meeting with Roger and the other committee members, Renée had the chance to meet a few of the students in our program.

Meeting Maria and Bradley

Maria* is in 11th grade and was enrolled in the Children Incorporated Program in the 3rd grade when she attended our other affiliated project, Tuba City Boarding School. She loved volleyball then, and she still loves it now. She lives with her mother, grandmother, and three younger siblings and wants to be a nurse when she gets older. Maria’s sponsor lives in Switzerland and has been part of our organization since 1975. Maria told Renée how appreciative she was for having her sponsor for so many years, especially as she transitioned from school to school while growing up.

Bradley enrolled in our program in 2016 when he was a new 9th grader. He is now a bright and funny 12th grader who jokes that he is always tired from the many activities and sports he participates in. His favorite sport is baseball. Bradley has taken welding courses in school, and he is also interested in auto mechanics. He is also thinking about becoming a carpenter or construction technician when he graduates. In his downtime, he enjoys drawing and listening to music. Bradley is the middle of three children who live with their single father. His father hauls and sells wood for a living, and he earns a meager income. Having a sponsor has helped Bradley to focus on his passions and interests instead of worrying about having clothes, shoes, and school supplies over the years.

*Names changed to protect the children.

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How do I sponsor a child in Arizona?

You can sponsor a child in Arizona 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.

When Seasonal Work Isn’t Enough

The remote town of Dennehotso, where the Dennehotso Boarding School is located, is about 98 miles northeast of Tuba City, Arizona.

A Children Incorporated affiliated project since 1984, the Dennehotso Boarding School is a community grant school that operates with a grant from the Bureau of Indian Education.

By 2013, the school’s original structure was old and dilapidated beyond repair, and a new school was constructed on available grounds in front of the older buildings, which were then demolished. Today, the boarding school complex is over 46,000 square feet, serving as a day school for those who live in the community and a boarding school for those who live in distant areas. There are roughly 185 students in the day school and 33 boarding school students in kindergarten to eighth grades.

Parents may work in service jobs, but these jobs are often seasonal and disappear when the tourist season is over.

Getting to know our long-term coordinator at Dennehotso

Our volunteer coordinator at Dennehotso Boarding School is Lucy, who is a long-term employee of the school and long-time Children Incorporated coordinator.

Lucy works as the school’s Parent Liaison and Student Data Technician and also serves as the driver for those students who live far away so they can get home on Friday afternoons to spend the weekends with their families.

“Lucy works hard to help her students. When it comes to supporting children in our sponsorship program, she has to go more than two hours away to get to the closest place for her to shop for kid’s clothes and school supplies,” explained our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

During a meeting at Dennehotso between Renée and Lucy, Lucy explained that the community struggles with employment problems. Parents may work in service jobs, but these jobs are often seasonal and disappear when the tourist season is over. Then parents must go on welfare.

Renée pictured with Lucy

“Lucy told me about how there are a lot of single parents in the community, as well as relatives raising kids while children’s parents may be working elsewhere out of state. The staff of the school struggles with parent engagement. There is no PTA or PTO due to lack of participation,” said Renée.

“Lucy also said that the school struggles with funding. She said that dorm funding gets so low every year, that students run out of hygiene supplies and laundry detergent.”

A family in desperate need

While they continued to talk, Lucy told Renée about a group of siblings that she planned on enrolling in our program. The children are in and out of school with poor attendance, to the point where school administrators investigated their living situation.

During the home visit, they learned that there were no beds for the children — they were sleeping on the sofa and in chairs. The parents were also having difficulty keeping the children’s clothing clean. Lucy asked Renée for Hope In Action Program Funds for three foldable cots, sheets, and blankets to hold them over until they get sponsors to help with clothing and school supplies. Renée was happy to grant the request and assured Lucy she would get the Hope In Action Funds sent there as quickly as possible.

The dorm staff works hard to motivate them to do their homework, but they often get restless and find it hard to concentrate.

Rewarding children in the cold winter months

Before their meeting ended, Lucy mentioned to Renée that the children living in the dorms have very little to do for evening recreation in winter. Once it gets dark and cold in the evenings, they don’t get to play outside.

The dorm staff works hard to motivate them to do their homework, but they often get restless and find it hard to concentrate. The school administration has been thinking about putting a reward system in place. Lucy explained to Renée that she would also like to apply for Hope In Action funding to purchase an Amazon Firestick. Her idea is that once the children finish their homework, if they have been on good behavior, they can then watch movies under the supervision of dorm staff.

Knowing that Lucy is a dedicated and long-term coordinator who rarely asks for anything extra, Renée was happy to provide the Amazon Firestick for her, which was an inexpensive item. Renée loved the reward system idea, knowing that it would help the children focus on completing their homework and give them something to look forward to.

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How do I sponsor a child in Arizona?

You can sponsor a child in Arizona 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.

Encouraging Students in Arizona to Read

The town of Page is located amid the stark mesas, wild terrain, and incredible desert beauty of north-central Arizona, only a few miles from the Utah border.

One of the youngest communities in the United States, Page actually began in 1957 as a housing camp for workers building the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River.

Today, the majority of its residents are Navajo; the town lies just off the western fringes of the Reservation, which comprises more than 27,000 square miles, extending into both Utah and New Mexico.

It’s hard enough for teachers to get high school age students to read without added obstacles such as the lack of books, the absence of a variety of books, or the lack of literacy software or computer programs that can help keep their interests.

Despite an ancient history and revered culture,  Page’s economy is weak, and high unemployment and social problems fuel a cycle of poverty that has existed here for many years.

The importance of literacy

While visiting Page, Arizona, our President and CEO, Ronald Carter, met with Page High School Principal, Mrs. Martin.

“I wanted to take the opportunity during our meeting to ask Mrs. Martin what she felt were the greatest needs of her students,” said Mr. Carter.

“She told me that promoting reading among the students is a priority for her. High school students often lose interest in reading as they find other hobbies or have less time to read because of sports or jobs. She feels that if the school had access to new books or other resources, she could encourage them to read more.”

Mr. Carter pictured with Mrs. Martin

It’s hard enough for teachers to get high school age students to read without added obstacles such as the lack of books, the absence of a variety of books, or the lack of literacy software or computer programs that can help keep their interests. According to the award-winning teacher, Nancy Barile, M.A.Ed., one of the best ways to encourage students to read is to offer them many different options or subject matters to choose from so they feel their interests are met.

But when a school doesn’t have the funds to have a well-stocked library, students might not even look for books to read because they feel their options are limited, and that can be detrimental to their education. Today, roughly 30% of adults in the United States only read at a third-grade level. Regular reading can help with not only literacy rate, but with brain function, vocabulary, and memory.

The need for teachers that care

Educators, such as Mrs. Martin, can have a significant influence on children’s desire and ability to read, and it is apparent that she cares a great deal about giving her students every opportunity to learn while they are at Page High School. It is great to know that students can rely on her to work hard for them and to have their interests in mind, even if there are roadblocks to overcome.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN Arizona?

You can sponsor a child in Arizona 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.

Earning Bucks for Good Behavior

The remote community of Pinon is located amid the incredible desert beauty of northern Arizona on the Navajo Indian Reservation, 160 miles from the Grand Canyon. The Reservation comprises more than 27,000 square miles of spectacular but inhospitable countryside, extending into both Utah and New Mexico.

For many children from impoverished households, the Pinon Community School offers them the opportunity to receive a quality education while also receiving positive reinforcements from staff for good behavior.

Despite its massive scale and rich cultural heritage, residents of the Reservation are desperately poor. There is virtually no employment. Broken homes, alcoholism, and inadequate food are constant manifestations of poverty.

A small and desolate community

According to our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, “the community and its surrounding area consist of just over 1,000 people, and it is extremely poor. The child poverty rate is 54.7%. There is a small health center managed by the Indian Health Service, a small grocery store, and a scattering of houses and very little else.”

For many children from impoverished households in Pinon, our affiliated project, the Pinon Community School, offers them the opportunity to receive a quality education while also receiving positive reinforcements from staff for good behavior — other than receiving only punishments for bad behavior.

Seeing our HIA projects firsthand

While visiting the Pinon Community School, Renée met with Carol, our volunteer coordinator, who took her on a tour of the building and grounds.

“I was very pleased to see the reading pergola Children Incorporated had made possible last school year through our Hope In Action Program. Carol told me they have cushions for the benches that are brought inside every evening and then brought outside each morning. The pergola gets a lot of use, and the children and teachers love it,” said Renée.

Our volunteer coordinator at Pinon, Carol, shows Renée the school garden.

Carol also showed Renée the school garden that was built, again, thanks to a donation to Pinon from our Hope In Action Program. Carol pointed out corn stalks left behind from the most recent harvests that will eventually be turned under to nourish the soil before a new crop is planted. A hose had been brought over to water some of the herbs in the garden that were going strong.

Warrior Bucks for Kids

After taking a tour of the school, Carol and Renée met with Ms. Largo, the school’s principal, to discuss the Children Incorporated sponsorship program and what other needs the school might have that our organization could look into supporting.

“Ms. Largo told me she would love to be considered for funding to support Pinon’s ‘Positive Behavior Initiative.’  She said so many of the children come from high-risk homes and some act-out in class. In replacement of a climate of punishment, she has instituted an environment of positive rewards,” explained Renée.

“Instead of always handing out punishments for poor behavior, students may earn ‘Warrior Bucks’ for various positive actions such as completing homework, improved attendance, and being kind and helpful to teachers or other students. The ‘bucks’ may be redeemed for small things such as snacks, hygiene items, and even Post It Notes, which are very popular with the students.”

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN Arizona?

You can sponsor a child in Arizona 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.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Accelerating Reading for Children in Arizona

Administrators at the schools we partner with are the ones most closely linked to the children in our program and have a deep understanding of the tools they need to help them excel in school.

Accelerated Reader can also help improve a student’s knowledge of many different varieties of books and also raise their vocabulary.

While visiting our affiliated project, Lake/Desert View Elementary School in Arizona, our President and CEO, Ron Carter, met with our volunteer coordinator, Elouise, and the school’s principal, Ms. Erikson, who felt that her students would greatly benefit from using Accelerated Reader — a computer software that monitors the practice of reading.

Understanding Accelerated Reader

Renaissance Learning, Inc., the company that developed Accelerated Reader (AR), states on its website that the software was developed for use in K-12 schools and is “intended to help children at school manage their reading, to provide teachers with the assessment of the reading ability of a class, and to encourage reading.”  Accelerated Reader can also help improve a student’s knowledge of many different varieties of books and also raise their vocabulary. It comes in two versions: a desktop version and a web-based version on the company’s online portal.

Other benefits of Accelerated reader software

Beyond just encouraging reading among students, AR also provides:

-An assessment of a student’s reading level through the STAR (Standardized Test for the Assessment of Reading) test

-A system of using a reading formula which includes average sentence length, average word length, vocabulary grade level, and number of words in the book

-A computer-based quiz that assesses comprehension and tests general knowledge using a computer-based 3 to 20 question multiple-choice quiz

– A  range of reports for parents and teachers that detail ongoing student progress.

Thanks to our Hope In Action Fund, Mr. Carter was able to provide Ms. Erikson with funding to purchase the AR software, so children and teachers at Lake/Desert View Elementary School could benefit from computerized reading support and enrichment. 

Ms. Erikson and one of our sponsored children

Helping Carlotta buy a home  

After meeting with Ms. Erikson, Mr. Carter had the chance to meet with Carlotta, one of the mothers of children enrolled in our sponsorship program.

“Carlotta is a single mother of six who works hard to take care of her children and her home,” said Mr. Carter.

Carlotta lives in a small apartment that costs her over $700 a month in rent. Not long ago, she was presented with the opportunity to purchase a used trailer for $3000 and place it on the land she already owns. This would save her the $700 rent each month and give her and her children more room. At the time of Mr. Carter’s visit, Carlotta had about $500 saved up to purchase the trailer.

“Understanding that the purchase of a trailer would be life-changing for Carlotta and her kids, I agreed to provide the family with Hope In Action Funds for the remaining amount,” explained Mr. Carter

A few weeks later, our volunteer coordinator Elouise reported to Mr. Carter that the trailer had been purchased, and there were funds were left over to buy materials for some small repairs and buy a refurbished propane stove.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN ARIZONA?

You can sponsor a child in Arizona 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.

SPONSOR A CHILD