Tag Archives: back to school

Often called the Bluegrass County of the Mountains, Morgan County is situated amid Kentucky’s picturesque, mountainous Eastern Coal Fields region. The county itself was first settled by Scotch and Irish immigrants during the eighteenth century and derives its name from an homage to Revolutionary War hero General Daniel Morgan.

“The East Valley community is generally more in need than other communities in the area, as many families are struggling with generational poverty that they just can’t get out of.”

Despite its natural beauty and rich history, Morgan County suffers the socioeconomic issues associated with the widespread, debilitating poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment so tragically typical of Appalachia. There are few economic opportunities in the small rural town of Crockett today, where our affiliated project, East Valley Elementary School, is located. Thankfully, students and their parents can rely on the dedicated staff at the school that serves children in this area, offering them a safe environment and the chance to obtain a well-rounded education — which can provide them a path out of the poverty that their families have faced for decades.

A community in need

East Valley Elementary School educates around 144 children in grades Pre-K through 5th grade — many of whom come from impoverished households.

“The school is located in an older building but is very well maintained. The Family Resource Center Coordinator, Angela, who is also our volunteer coordinator, is very experienced at her job,” explains Children Incorporated’s Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“On my last visit to the school, in late 2019, Angie told me that the East Valley community is generally more in need than other communities in the area, as many families are struggling with generational poverty that they just can’t get out of.”

An article published by the North Carolina Community Action Association defines generational poverty and describes it effects:

Parents were poor, their kids are now poor, and their grandkids kids will grow up poor. Like genetics, families in this situation seem to pass down poverty from one generation to the next. These families tend to be stuck in the cycle of poverty which means they and their children will continue to live in poverty until an external influence can help them escape. 

Thanks to Angie, children in our program received much-needed resources throughout the year.

Generational poverty only requires that a family lives in poverty for at least two generations. Generational poverty persists mostly because of internal psychological factors, although financial issues are the external force that create these psychological barriers. It’s a combination of hopelessness, scarcity mindset and toxic stress.

Almost all of the psychological issues with generational poverty are centered around finances. Many parents work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. This lack of a fundamental resource — money — creates a “scarcity mindset”. The people trapped in poverty struggle to think of the future because they are so focused on surviving for the next few days or weeks. In this mindset, neither adult nor child are thinking about college, careers or higher achievements. Even if they are, they often feel that these dreams are unattainable to them, and their lot in life is to just try to survive. 

Living in constant worry about money can also cause toxic stress which can damage the learning, behavior and health of people living with it. For children, the effects span their lifespan.”

Keeping kids interested in learning

According to Angie, many parents of her students place a low value on education, because they are preoccupied with trying to survive day-to-day, and don’t often have time to consider much for the future — both because they never imagine one for themselves and because they can’t imagine offering a different future for their children.

Living in constant worry about money can also cause toxic stress which can damage the learning, behavior and health of people living with it. For children, the effects span their lifespan.”

“Angie is incredibly grateful for our sponsorship program because it gives her the chance to offer children food, clothing and school supplies which will hopefully keep students in school and interested in learning — and it gives her access to them so she can encourage them to stay in school and consider higher education,” said Renée.

“Fortunately for Angie, the loving teachers at East Valley Elementary School keep a close eye on the children and serve as Angie’s ‘eyes and ears.’ Some report the kids come to school on Monday mornings dirty and ravenously hungry — when she hears this, she makes sure to focus on those children who are really struggling so they know they cared for and that someone is looking out for them.”

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How do I sponsor a child in Kentucky?

You can sponsor a child in Kentucky 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 in Kentucky that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

We are happy to share with you our Fall 2021 Newsletter, highlighting our work around the world thanks to our sponsors and donors and their generosity and dedication in helping children in need. Enjoy!

Thanks to our sponsors and donors, we have been able to help them in their efforts to keep children and teachers safe and healthy.

Providing an Abundance of Support to our Projects in 2021

Around the world, our volunteer coordinators at nearly 300 affiliated projects continue to navigate how they can best support children in need through the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to our  sponsors and donors, we have been able to help them in their efforts to keep children and teachers safe and healthy while they work hard to provide impoverished students with a well-rounded education — whether at home or in the classroom.

Although the last school year has been like no other in Children Incorporated’s history, we have continued to provide children in our program with the resources they need to overcome the obstacles they face during the global pandemic. It is with a great deal of gratitude that we thank each and every one of our supporters for their role in these efforts.

Offering Hygiene Items to Girls in Kenya 

Our sponsors have provided thousands of children with school supplies this fall.

More recently, some of the most important items we have been able to offer to children in our program has been hygiene items — masks, soap and hand sanitizer – for them  to take home and use in their daily lives to help prevent illness and protect children and their families against all kinds of disease, most specifically COVID-19. Additionally, when we consider the needs of our sponsored children, we especially need to consider the particular needs of young girls who might not have access to feminine hygiene products — most likely because their families can’t afford them. When young ladies don’t have access to sanitary napkins, they often skip school to stay home which can be detrimental to their education.

This year, we have focused on providing three-month supplies of sanitary napkins to all girls at our affiliated project, the Dandora Community Centre in Kenya, on a continuous basis so that they may remain in attendance at school throughout the year.

Supplying Vitamins During COVID-19 in Guatemala 

Children in Guatemala are pictured with their vitamin supply

In the last months, thanks to a contribution by our partner, Altar’d State, to our COVID-19 Relief Fund, we were able to provide funds to the Juan Apostol School in Guatemala for a three-month supply of vitamins containing vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc for all 102 children enrolled in our program. And, because our volunteer coordinator was purchasing these items in bulk for the benefit of children, the local pharmacy provided a four-month supply of vitamins to our coordinator at the cost of just a three-month supply.

We are incredibly grateful for the support from Altar’d State, as well as for all contributions that donors have made to our COVID-19 Relief Fund.

 A Blessing During the Pandemic in Lebanon   

We recently received a letter from our volunteer coordinator at the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf (FAID):

“A blessing came out of COVID-19. Several lockdowns reduced our face to face teaching time severely. So, we needed to find another way to help our children and their parents develop their educational skills. Our staff made several videos each week. Each video had a particular topic. The video “OPPOSITES,” for example, explained all about up and down, in and out, high and low, etc. These videos, made for WhatsApp, were easy for parents to use.

COVID-19 helped parents in Lebanon become teachers of their deaf children. Increased parental involvement enhanced building family bonds, which stimulated the children’s development even more, and most of all, reduced the emotional trauma that exists in families having children with special needs.

Providing audiology support, hearing aid maintenance and batteries during COVID is very challenging. Again, because of the help we received from Children Incorporated donors, we could put in the safeguards and precautions to make it possible. Thank you for all of your support in helping children at FAID.”

Supporting Agriculture in Bolivia 

Throughout the year, our affiliated projects from around the world share with us proposals for special projects that will help improve the lives of not only the children that we support but their families as well. Thanks to our Hope In Action program, we are often able to support many of our projects so they can grow their programs and offer skills training and other important resources to impoverished communities in which we work.

We are incredibly grateful all contributions that donors have made to our COVID-19 Relief Fund.

One such proposal we received in 2021 was from the Montero School in Bolivia, in which our volunteer coordinator requested funds to construct an agriculture school on the same property as the existing school.

“This area is mainly an agricultural area, and many children and adults have to go to nearby cities, and even a few hours away to Santa Cruz to get better training,” explains our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet.

A sponsored child in Arizona poses with her new book bag thanks to our Back to School Program.

“With the support of this training institution that is being implemented, Children Incorporated is contributing to the whole community. The agricultural school will include a barn with cows, a pigpen, and a chicken coop in which students and their parents can learn how to take care of animals as well as grow food which they can then apply to their own lives to better their employment opportunities or income in the future!”

Time for Back to School Around the world

 At the end of the summer this year, students at some of our affiliated projects returned to in-person learning for the first time since the spring of 2020. As our volunteer coordinators work hard to re-connect with these children as they see them on a regular basis for the first time in over 16 months, we are especially grateful that our sponsors have remained consistent in their lives during the difficulties they faced while being out of school and adjusting to a new life-style.

Welcome back to all the students who have returned to the classroom! We wish you a wonderful 2021-2022 school year!

READ THE FULL NEWSLETTER

My mom and dad were hard-working, lower middle class people, and they did everything in their power to provide for my brother and me. Though their financial situation had improved greatly by the time I reached my teen years, they endured some very difficult times early on. At one point, when I was a small child, my dad lost his job, and with no income being generated, he was unable to pay his bills. His ability to obtain credit was temporarily blocked, and repercussions from that situation haunted him for years to follow.

My mom and dad were hard-working, lower middle class people, and they did everything in their power to provide for my brother and me.

My mom, ever willing to work, moved through several low-paying positions, working at a fast-food restaurant for a while, then as a cook for a church daycare center, and later clerking in a retail store. There was very little money, yet my brother and I never went without decent and clean clothing and adequate amounts of food. My parents, along with our large extended family of aunts, uncles, grandparents, and good church folk, made sure that we had all that we needed.

Striving for Success

Each fall, as a fresh school year rolled around, we received new clothes, though I clearly remember my dad worrying about how he and my mom would pay for those items. My mom insisted that my brother and I both receive new pants, shirts, a coat, and even shoes for the start of the school year. My mom recognized that without those items — clean clothes and nice shoes, in particular — my brother and I would stand out in a negative manner. We would be looked down upon and judged for what we were — or weren’t — wearing. Other children and even some teachers might treat us as less-than, and our sense of self-esteem and belonging would be poorly impacted. My mom realized that these things would all work together to the detriment of our success in school.

Our Back To School Funds provides children with resources to not only go to school, but feel good while they are there.

Decades have passed since our family endured those hardships, yet the situation I described absolutely exists today, perhaps greater than at any other time. In many of the communities where Children Incorporated operates and provides its sponsorship programs, devoted parents struggle to provide for their children’s daily needs. Unlike my mom and dad, who were always able to secure jobs — even if they were low paying positions — and bring in enough money to somehow make ends meet, jobs are quite scarce in many areas of our country, so working for a living is not always a viable option.  Additionally, everyday expenses these days far outweigh what one can earn from working at a fast food restaurant or clerking at a dollar variety store. For those families with multiple children, the cost of childcare alone is often greater than the limited salaries earned by the primary breadwinners. Just providing the basics for everyday living is a huge challenge; thus, the idea of back-to-school shopping and new clothes for a fresh school year is little more than a distant dream.

Making things a little easier

Children still need to belong. They still need to fit in. They still need to have strong self-esteem to thrive and succeed in school.  What they wear and how they feel about themselves in those clothes matters. That is why our Back To School Fund is so very important. The items we provide to impoverished children and youth put them on an equal, or at least increased, playing field with others. We take the funds you provide and use them to make going back to school perhaps a little easier, fitting in less of a challenge, and concentrating on learning — as opposed to focusing on being set apart — the primary goal of the students. Additionally, our Back To School Fund also provides school supplies and educational assistance where needed.

Your generosity now, in support of our Back To School Fund, will allow us to get assistance out to our network of volunteer coordinators ahead of the upcoming school year, so that they can be ready to meet the needs of children and youth as they return to classes in the fall. Your help is requested and much-needed. Please consider making a donation to our Back To School Fund today.

DONATE

 

We are happy to share with you our Spring 2021 Newsletter, highlighting our work around the world thanks to our sponsors and donors and their generosity and dedication in helping children in need. Enjoy!

Tablets Are Bringing Education to Children Around the World

Many children in our sponsorship program are experiencing exceptional difficulties during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, as schools have had to shift to virtual learning. These adjustments have been hard on parents, teachers and children — especially for those students who don’t have the technology they need at home to keep up with their course work.

We are happy to share with you our Spring 2021 Newsletter, highlighting our work around the world thanks to our sponsors and donors and their generosity and dedication in helping children in need. Enjoy!

Thankfully, because of our amazing donors, Children Incorporated has been able to provide tablets to children in our program in Latin America, India, and in the United States over the last few months so that children can continue learning until schools are back to in-person learning in the near future. These tablets will allow students to keep up with their studies and do not have to be returned when classes resume so children can keep learning at home after the pandemic as well!

Bringing Joy to Children During the Holiday Season

Our sponsors and donors are often the only reason children in our program receive holiday gifts, and for that, we are incredibly grateful — especially after an exceptionally difficult year for so many families.

On behalf of all our volunteer coordinators around the world, we would like to share a message from Sandy at Beaver Creek Elementary in Kentucky to express our gratitude for the holiday gifts you provided:

“Thank you for all the support you give our children. You are our backbone. We couldn’t survive without Children Incorporated. Merry Christmas to all Children Incorporated staff and sponsors!”

Our Warm Clothing Fund Brings Smiles to Children in Need

Brain poses for the camera with this new clothes.

Every year, your donations to our Warm Clothing Fund do more than just keep children properly clothed — it also brings immense joy to children who otherwise might never get new winter clothes.

Our volunteer coordinator, Monica, at Gouge Elementary School in North Carolina wrote to us about Brian*, after she provided him with warm clothes, thanks to his sponsor: 

“I showed Brian the new clothes I bought him, and he is loving it. He said, ‘I just love clothes!’ And I took the picture in that moment. The mask is hiding his laughter. We both got tickled because he got so much clothes, he couldn’t hold all of it.  The socks are in his book bag.

This was definitely the highlight of my week. Thanks to Children Incorporated sponsors for all you do, and for letting me be a part of this!”

*Name changed to protect the child.

 An Interview with Board Member, Liz Collins

Our President and Chief Executive Officer, Ron Carter, recently sat down with our Board Chair, Liz Collins, to discuss her long and valuable relationship with Children Incorporated.

RON: Liz, you first became involved with Children Incorporated in 2003 when you accepted a job as a sponsorship coordinator. You later served as Director of Marketing and Development. What are your recollections of your time as an employee of Children Incorporated?

I loved being able to share all of the amazing work that went on in our programs with our donors.  As a result of their giving and the tireless efforts of our volunteer coordinators, we changed a lot of lives.

Liz Collins, Board Chair

LIZ:  I loved being able to share all of the amazing work that went on in our programs with our donors.  As a result of their giving and the tireless efforts of our volunteer coordinators, we changed a lot of lives.

RON: Do you have any special memories of that time?

LIZ: I do. The stories of the children who graduated from high school and went on to college are special to me. I recall one particular story of how we were able to send funds to have a child’s driveway paved so that he could use his wheelchair to get to the bus. Before that, his brother had to carry him down the driveway to the bus each day. I also think about the incredible artwork of Roberto Andrade, one of the children in Latin America who benefitted from our program. There are so many more wonderful  memories!

RON: You left Children Incorporated in 2010, shortly after your son, Noah, was born, but I asked you to return to Children Incorporated as Board Member at the start of 2015, and you willingly agreed.  Just a few months after you joined, Steve Holton, our then chair, was forced to resign due to health reasons, and you were selected as Board Chair. In your wildest dreams, did you ever see that coming?

LIZ: No! I was truly taken by surprise with the sudden turn of events, but honored and humbled to be able to serve the organization in a new way.

RON: As Board Chair, what are your impressions of Children Incorporated? What are you most proud of? What is it about Children Incorporated that you most value?

LIZ: Children Incorporated might be among the smaller sponsorship organizations, but it is by far the most personable. That’s what I love, and I truly believe our donors and volunteer coordinators value that attribute as well. We’re transparent in our funding, and we’re extremely conscientious about our overhead so that much more of every dollar raised can go to the children, families, and communities we serve.

RON: I agree that our personality as an organization, as well as our transparency, are the keys to our continued success. But I also have to say that we have a wonderful network of volunteer coordinators, and our small but loyal staff really is incredible.

Emily was very excited to receive school supplies thanks to her sponsor.

LIZ: Yes, I agree completely. That old saying “It takes a village” really applies. That is how I see Children Incorporated. The staff, our donors, and the volunteer coordinators, all working together, make it all happen. And, it’s a village I’m very proud to be a part of and to serve in.

Still in Need of Ordinary School Supplies  

School closures have meant big changes for families and children in our program, but despite the adjustments that the pandemic required, students still need the most basic items that Children Incorporated has always provided for them.

While many of our sponsored children are learning remotely at home, either partially or wholly, they still need ordinary school supplies, especially the younger ones. Emily*, received a bundle of new supplies at home thanks to her sponsor and promptly wrote to him to say that she loved everything — especially the dry erase board and matching magnets. From her photos, you can see that Emily’s sponsor has made her  incredibly happy as she adjusts to home learning!

*Name changed to protect the child.

A Special Thank You to Our Partner, the Jeunesse Kids Foundation

 In January 2021, we were approached by the Jeunesse Kids Foundation to participate in a fundraiser they were hosting virtually. Jeunesse Kids is dedicated to creating a positive impact in the lives of children worldwide, and the foundation is funded and supported by a vast community of caring individuals who are passionate about building a better tomorrow for young people in underprivileged communities around the world — which very closely aligns with Children Incorporated’s mission and vision.

We are very proud of you, Kris!

Thanks to the efforts of all of the Juenesse Family, their fundraiser raised over $102,000 for Children Incorporated from donors around the world over the course of a weekend which will go towards purchasing tablets for virtual education children in Peru, Argentina, the Philippines, Kentucky and New Mexico, repairing a greenhouse at the St. Michaels Special Education School in Arizona, and towards expanding on skills training programs at the Montero School in Bolivia. We are incredibly grateful for their support!

From Sponsored Child to Attorney: Our Higher Education Fund at Work

We want to send our congratulations to Kris in Honduras for receiving her University Degree at the end of 2020. Kris has been in our sponsorship program since 1999. Thanks to her sponsor and our Higher Education Fund, she was able to attend school over the last twenty years and now has graduated as an attorney. We are very proud of you, Kris!

A New Roof at the Dandora Center in Kenya

While students were out of school for remote learning, we were able to continue to support our projects thanks to donations to our Hope In Action Fund so administrators could repair buildings in anticipation of the return of students in the near future.

At our affiliated project, the Dandora Center in Nairobi, Kenya, a new roof replaced an old worn one which will protect the children from poor weather and heat when they are back in classrooms.

READ THE FULL NEWSLETTER

We are fortunate that we often get news from our volunteer coordinators that really brightens our days.

Today, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, shares a  sweet story about two brothers who were recently enrolled in our sponsorship program and are waiting for sponsors.

Today, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, shares a  sweet story from our volunteer coordinator, Genevieve, about two brothers, Brandon and Alex*, who were recently enrolled in our sponsorship program and are waiting for sponsors.

A story about Brandon and Alex

“Genevieve called the other day and wanted to tell me about the boys’ stepmom, Patricia,” said Renée.

“Brandon is in second grade and Alex is in first. These brothers are hard of hearing, and neither speaks. They have a special teacher for the hearing impaired, and they can sign. Their mother abandoned the family when the boys were very young, and their single father was struggling to raise them. In order to care for his children, the boys’ father hired a babysitter to care for his sons so he could work, a young woman who he knew through extended family.”

The family’s home in Kentucky

“It’s not too surprising that after talking daily about the boys’ well-being and progress, their father and the babysitter grew close, and eventually they fell in love and got married. Now they have a little one of their own!” exclaimed Renée.

“I was so happy to hear this amazing story, but Genevieve saves the best for last. Before we ended our call, she told me that the boys’ stepmother, Patricia, is actually a former sponsored child from the Children Incorporated program!”

“Although they now have two loving and responsible parents, their family continues to struggle. The father lost his restaurant job after it cut staff due to the pandemic. So, they are really struggling now, and getting sponsors for the boys, Brandon and Alex, will be a big and appreciated help.”

“We love heartwarming stories such as this and would love to get these boys sponsored as soon as possible. We love that our program often comes around full circle for families and communities and especially in difficult times such as these, we are so pleased to be able to share special stories such as this one,” said Renée.

Please contact us directly today if you would like to sponsor Brandon or Alex today!

*Names changed to protect the individuals. 

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How do I sponsor a child in Kentucky?

You can sponsor a child in Kentucky 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 in Kentucky that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Joseph*, like many of our sponsored children, is being raised by his grandmother.

Joseph and his siblings live in Arizona and were abandoned by their mother after their father died. Suddenly, Joseph’s paternal grandmother found herself raising children again with no income and no means to support them. She can scarcely provide food and shelter for her grandkids, and she has virtually no money to keep them clothed properly. Thankfully, Joseph has a caring sponsor who provides him with the items he needs as he rapidly grows into a young man.

Joseph with his new shoes.

Recently, our volunteer coordinator at Joseph’s school called him into her office to present him with brand new shoes, along with other items he needed. Joseph is young and plays hard, and his old shoes were badly worn. Joseph was ecstatic, and proudly stood for a photo of him with his new shoes.

Thank you for all that you do to make sure children’s basic needs are met each and every day! We are incredibly grateful for your support.

*Name changed to protect the child.

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Sponsoring a child in Arizona

You can sponsor a child in Arizona in one of two ways – call our office and speak with one of our sponsorship specialists at 1-800-538-5381, or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.

The sponsorship relationship enables a sponsor to help support a needy child through monthly contributions, and through the exchange of correspondence with a sponsored child, if the sponsor so desires. A sponsor’s friendship and encouragement is priceless to a child in such circumstances. Indeed, many children value the relationships they establish with their sponsors as much as they value the financial support they receive from them. There is an opportunity to build a relationship between sponsor and child that can be quite profound.

Our current monthly sponsorship rate is $30, and it goes toward providing basic necessities such as school supplies and fees, food, clothing, and access to healthcare, among other services.

SPONSOR A CHILD