Tag Archives: child poverty

Brookland Middle School in Washington, D.C. serves children in grades sixth through eighth. It is located in Ward 5. This is one of the largest wards in the city, with more than 90,000 residents. It contains two railroad lines, and several major city streets go through this ward. Thus it has a large concentration of “industrial use” land. There are over 20 distinct neighborhoods of which its residents feel a lot of pride.

Children Incorporated is just the right organization to help me purchase bulk items like winter coats, gloves, and hats for our families in dire need.

Brookland Middle School is one of four affiliations in D.C. with our organization. In addition to its academic curriculum, the school offers programs in educational enrichment (including STEM and a Socratic Seminar); wellness and fitness (including Girls on the Run and Man Up); and Art and Culture (instrumental and choral music, dance, art and design).

The school demographics are 83% black, 17% Hispanic/Latino and 1% white. 12% of students are English language learners and 57% are identified as at-risk due to poverty. Most qualify for TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Some of the students are homeless or are in foster care.

The children’s test scores are low, but they are making progress. More are taking Algebra I than in past years, and those who are taking the class are passing it. This is a uniform school. Sixth graders wear orange shirts, seventh graders wear teal, and eighth graders wear purple shirts.

There are 21 children enrolled in our sponsorship program currently, with four unsponsored. Although I wasn’t able to visit Brookland Middle on my last trip to Washington, D.C. our volunteer coordinator, LaTroy, wrote to me to express her appreciation for why sponsors are so important to students at her school, who are struggling to have their basic needs met throughout the year. 

In LaTroy’s Words

Interior photo courtesy of architects’ websites.

Brookland Middle School is a wonderful school of about 327 students in Ward 5 of Washington, D.C. The principal, school administration and partners are the true backbone of the school. They work to ensure that all students feel loved, challenged and prepared.

This year, we have increased our focus on making sure our students feel “loved.” After conducting a Panorama Survey at the end of the school year 2021-22, the results indicated that only 44% of our students reported “feeling loved at school.” Therefore, this year we are ensuring that whenever able we are exhibiting messages of love toward our students. Whether through hugs, verbal affirmation, signage or our consistent presence, we want them to know how much we love them here at Brookland.

This pouring of love could not have been more needed. In the New Year, our student body experienced a tremendous sudden loss from the murder of one of our scholars on January 7th. This was followed by the sudden death of a former student on January 21st. Upon immediate notice, our principal assembled a team of grief counselors and community support to be present. On January 25, 2023, we hosted a Memorial Breakfast in honor of the two students. During that breakfast, we announced that there would be a garden dedicated to those students in spring 2023, on school grounds.

 Currently, our primary challenge is attendance. During the winter months, we’ve been experiencing a spike in unexcused absences. Since then, the school attendance team has identified those students and families with over five unexcused absences and began to call parents and talk to students to identify any barriers. The most common finding has been basic needs. Students and parents have shared that they lack the essential winter clothing to combat the winter elements. We are also experiencing more and more students who require food over the weekend. Many immigrant families are currently enrolled here at Brookland and are food insecure.

Children Incorporated is just the right organization to help me purchase bulk items like winter coats, gloves, and hats for our families in dire need, as well as help us with the items needed for our Weekend Food Pantry. Children Incorporated sponsors also help our students with school uniforms, which are required here at Brookland Middle.

(Photo credits: https://www.hartmancox.com/)

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How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

You can sponsor a child 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 that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

written by Renee Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renee's stories

We are thrilled to announce our partnership with AllPeople Marketplace!

AllPeople Marketplace is a sustainable shopping platform that offers a curated selection of products from ethical and socially responsible brands. Its mission is to positively impact the world by promoting sustainable shopping practices and supporting charitable organizations.

AllPeople Marketplace is partnering with Children Incorporated because they strongly believe in our mission to provide life-changing resources to children worldwide.

AllPeople Marketplace believes that businesses have a responsibility to prioritize the well-being of people and the planet, and it is committed to providing a transparent and fair platform that promotes small and independent brands. AllPeople Marketplace is dedicated to creating a community of conscious consumers who share the goal of creating positive change.

Giving back to charities

AllPeople Marketplace recently launched a new online platform dedicated to sustainable and socially responsible shopping. The marketplace provides a one-stop shop for consumers looking to support businesses that prioritize the well-being of people and the planet while also giving back to charitable organizations. The company simultaneously announced the hiring of its new CEO, Keith Barrows.

With a growing selection of products ranging from personal care and wellness to home goods and fashion, AllPeople Marketplace is designed to meet the needs of conscious consumers who are looking for a convenient and trustworthy source for sustainable shopping. The marketplace also offers a range of resources and educational content to help shoppers make informed purchasing decisions.

“We’re thrilled to launch AllPeople Marketplace and to provide a platform for consumers to easily discover and shop from ethical and sustainable brands,” said Bill Wollrab, AllPeople Marketplace founder. “We believe that by making it easy for consumers to shop sustainably and support charitable causes, we can create a positive impact on the world.”

Our partNership with AllPeople

AllPeople Marketplace is partnering with Children Incorporated because they strongly believe in our mission to provide life-changing resources to children worldwide. Customers can choose to support Children Incorporated at checkout, and 5% of the proceeds from every purchase will be donated to our organization at no extra cost.

“We believe that businesses have a responsibility to create positive change in the world, and we’re committed to supporting our partners in that mission,” said Wollrab. “By creating a community of like-minded businesses and consumers, we can work together to build a more sustainable, equitable, and compassionate world.”

AllPeople Marketplace is now live and accessible to shoppers in the United States. To learn more about the marketplace and its mission, please visit allpeoplemarketplace.com.

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written by Children Incorporated

We provide children living in poverty with education, hope and opportunity so they have the chance for a brighter future. Thanks to past and current supporters around the globe, we work with 225 affiliated sites in 20 countries to offer basic needs, emergency relief, and community support to thousands of children and their families each year.

» more of Children's stories

Cardozo Educational Campus is now Children Incorporated’s longest affiliated site in Washington, D.C. It is also our only affiliated site in Ward 1. This ward has a rich architectural and cultural heritage. It is a true melting pot, with immigrants from all over the world. It is the modern heart of the city’s Hispanic/Latino community. It is also home to many of the city’s African American and Asian American small businesses. This ward has 12 historic districts, and its landmarks include Rock Creek Park and the National Zoo.

The school has been renovated in more recent years and can house over 1000 students.

One of the architectural treasures is the Cardozo Education Campus. It began its historic renovation in 2011, which included exterior renovation, roofing, HVAC, ADA improvements, technology design and sustainable design. It can house 1100 students.

About Cardozo

Cardozo Education Campus currently serves about 625 students from sixth to 12th grade. It has a middle school, an International Academy, and a comprehensive high school. Students come from many backgrounds, from those born in Washington, D.C., to students from Central and South America. This diverse population makes Cardozo very special. The school’s demographics are 49% black, 46% Hispanic/Latino, 3% Asian, 1% white, and 1% other.

There are AP classes, Army JROTC, sports, and arts and cultural clubs and activities. One of the most interesting things about Cardozo is its TransSTEM Academy. Students receive hands-on technical training in electricity, electronics, and electromechanical technology. There is also a pre-engineering module where students can explore aeronautics, biomechanics, and other applied math science occupations and skills.

The children who are enrolled in our sponsorship program are the ones who need the most support. This includes providing them with clothing, school supplies, hygiene products and food.

Cardozo has two Communities In Schools site coordinators, Jovan and Florangel. After arriving at the school for our meeting, Kristen Walthall and I heard from both Jovan and Florangel, who explained that CIS plans ahead when it comes to running our sponsorship program. Starting every March, they conduct needs assessments with the families. Over summer break, they analyze the results and discuss any adjustments to current initiatives or the creation of new ones.

Meeting with our coordinators

At Cardozo, their two biggest goals are currently in-seat attendance and academics. The students have many stressors and competing priorities. Some must care for younger siblings. Some are essentially homeless and they couch-surf with friends and relatives. Regular school attendance isn’t always a priority. Jovan and Florangel offer incentives for the students to come to school each day. They also work on parent engagement. The children who are enrolled in our sponsorship program are the ones who need the most support. This includes providing them with clothing, school supplies, hygiene products and food.

The interior courtyard of the Cardozo Education Campus

During our meeting, Robert,* a sixth grader, was brought in to meet us as a student body representative. This was no doubt due to his outgoing personality. Robert didn’t have a shy bone in his body. He had no problem chatting with Kris and me, and it was lovely to meet him as one of our sponsored children.

After Robert returned to class, it was time to tour this beautifully restored school that offers so much for the children. We toured the International Academy hall first. It was founded in 2014 through a partnership with D.C. Public Schools and the International Network for Public Schools (INPS) in NYC. According to the school’s website, “The academic model is based on decades of proven, research-based instructional approaches designed to work with recently arrived immigrant students. Students are grouped into teams and travel as a cohort throughout the day. Through the International Academy, students experience a complete integration of language and content development, heterogeneous grouping and ongoing collaboration, strategic use of students’ native/dominant language when working with peers, as well as the intentional bridging of the student’s native language and the target language of English.” We also saw classrooms, the gymnasium, and the beautiful interior courtyard of the school.

In Florangel’s words

After our tour ended, Florangel told Kris and I more about how our program helps children at Cardozo:

 “Some of the challenges that Cardozo has faced are receiving students from Venezuela. Many students live at shelters and have recently arrived in the United States. Welcoming new migrant students has been challenging, but not impossible, in connecting each student to the right services. Students can connect to the health clinic and receive clothes and shoes from our partners, like Children Incorporated.”

Florangel also shared a sweet story about two of our sponsored children:

Seth and Lewis* are both newly arrived in the United States. They both have parents who requested resources immediately so Seth and Lewis could feel comfortable attending school. One of the items they both received was a coat. The students and their families have never experienced the cold weather, so they had expressed concern about how the weather would be during the wintertime. Seth likes to play soccer, so we were able to provide soccer clothes. Lewis enjoys dancing, so we provided new shoes for him. Many more students and parents have expressed gratitude for things they cannot afford or help while working to save money.

*Names changed to protect the children.

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How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

You can sponsor a child 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 that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

written by Renee Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renee's stories

Arlie Boggs is a kindergarten through eighth-grade school. It has a small population of just 128 students. It’s located in the community of Eolia, which is in the southeastern part of the county. It’s in a very rural area, sandwiched between Bad Branch State Nature Preserve and the Virginia state line. There is a lot of poverty in this community – 84% of the children come from low-income families. The children are also struggling academically. The test scores average just 33% in reading and 17% in math.

This is an older school that sits on a hill right next to the road. In the foreground is the Family Resource Youth Services Center trailer. This is a new affiliation with a new volunteer coordinator, Miranda. When I arrived, Miranda welcomed me warmly and offered to give me a tour. We walked around the building and grounds, talking all the way. Miranda showed me the STLP [Student Technology Leadership Program] station. She is the faculty/staff sponsor for this program, which teaches participating students to use technology to help their fellow students. Miranda helps the students with their broadcasts to the classrooms.

We then entered the middle school wing of the building. Like most kindergarten through 8th grade schools, the older children and younger children have their own separate areas. The playground is behind the school, at the top of a hill, and is usually accessed by these stairs. After a recent storm caused downed branches and some damage, caution tape was put up and the stairs cannot be used until repairs can be made. In the meantime, the children access the playground by taking a longer walk to the far end of the grounds, climbing the hill, and going in the far gate. The greenhouse needs hand tools, soil, seedlings and other supplies and Miranda is interested in applying for a Hope In Action Program grant.

Also during the tour, Miranda took me to the office of the two workers with Partners for Rural Impact. I had not yet heard of the organization. They explained its mission is to ensure rural students have the opportunity to fulfill their educational aspirations. The organization is presently working in three states: East Texas, Appalachian Kentucky and New Hampshire. In the first two states, the organization offers a “Cradle to Career” Partnership and in New Hampshire, the organization offers a statewide Family Engagement Center. In Kentucky, the organization is partnering with Arlie Boggs, and Miranda said that two workers were placed at the school to collaborate with her on many goals and they are mutually supportive. I plan to learn more about this organization.

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How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

You can sponsor a child 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 that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

written by Renee Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renee's stories

It is amazing to us what our volunteer coordinators can do to help children in need when given the freedom to determine what is best for children in our program, which is something we are proud to offer to them. Today we hear from Scott at Lewis County Middle and High Schools, about some of his students who benefited from our sponsorship program in a way that he feels shows an investment in their success and their futures.

“We realize the importance of setting our youth up for success and understand that it will only serve to improve our county in the future.”

Scott’s Story

“We would like to thank Children Incorporated for their continued support of the students at Lewis County High School. Because of their willingness to altruistically invest in our students, two specific siblings have now completed the first steps necessary to building a successful future. Our Youth Service Center would like to share their recent success story.”

“While the state unemployment rate for Kentucky is currently 4%, Lewis County, a rural county in northeastern Kentucky, reports an unemployment rate of 7.4%. The discrepancy between the state average and the county average is something that every family in Lewis County feels in some way.”

“Two of our sponsored children, Brian and Taylor*, have a family that is no exception to that. However, with the help of Children Incorporated, they have recently been able to obtain employment at a fast-food restaurant in a neighboring county. Without the funds from their sponsors and the Children Incorporated program, neither Brian nor Taylor could have secured employment. With the funds provided, both young men were able to acquire the mandated work attire, consisting of two pairs of black jeans and non-slip tennis shoes or boots. Brian and Taylor are doing well in their new employee roles, and we hope they continue to do so as they carry on with their lives.”

“Brian, Taylor and the Lewis County Youth Service Center are incredibly grateful and fortunate to be a part of the Children Incorporated program. We realize the importance of setting our youth up for success and understand that it will only serve to improve our county in the future.”

*Names changed to protect the children. 

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How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

You can sponsor a child 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 that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

written by Children Incorporated

We provide children living in poverty with education, hope and opportunity so they have the chance for a brighter future. Thanks to past and current supporters around the globe, we work with 225 affiliated sites in 20 countries to offer basic needs, emergency relief, and community support to thousands of children and their families each year.

» more of Children's stories

During my visit to Letcher County, I first visited Jenkins Independent Schools. Jenkins Independent Schools comprises two schools: Burdine Elementary and Jenkins Middle-High. Several years ago, at the request of our coordinator, Angela, Children Incorporated “administratively merged” Burdine Elementary into Jenkins Middle-High. They operate as one affiliated site. Angie looks over both schools; they share one Family Resource Youth Services Center. Angie travels between the two regularly.

Burdine Elementary School was damaged during the flood, but officials agree it could have been worse. There were 3 feet of water outside, but all the doors held. About 4 inches of water was pushed in throughout the building. However, the flood did destroy the separate preschool building. Outside, all the fencing and playground equipment was destroyed and swept downstream.

When elementary school children first enroll, many of them are not school-ready. The pandemic years also caused a learning loss. At present, elementary school children are not performing well in state standardized tests. The children are not only struggling academically but also financially. 82.3% come from low-income families.

After a tour of both campuses, Angie and I had a meeting at her high school office. She said the enrollment at the elementary school is about 203. At the middle-high school, it’s about 236. Angie does plan to add more children in the new school year and may include the preschool children, too.

Angie shared that her students are dealing with persistent poverty. 86% come from low-income families. There are no more active coal mines in Jenkins. The best jobs are with the school system or at the small regional hospital. The remainder of available work is small retail or service jobs, such as at dollar stores, gas stations and fast food restaurants.

After the pandemic learning loss, the students are slowly gaining ground. The middle school children are still struggling, but most of the high school students have hit average benchmarks.

Angie likes to do much of her Children Incorporated shopping at Sam’s Club. She will mostly purchase clothing, hygiene items and food. Then she called a student into the room for me to meet, Jacob.* Jacob is polite and very well-spoken. He is ready to graduate from high school and is still thinking about what he wants to do for his future. Jacob said that he is frankly tired of the school routine and is ready for a break and a change. A part of him wants to take a “gap year,” where he can work and get a paycheck. Another part of him wants to plow through and just get college done and behind him. At the time we spoke, Jacob had applied to a couple of places but hadn’t heard back.

Happily, in mid-May Angie called me with the very good news that Jacob had just received an acceptance letter from Alice Lloyd College, which is in adjacent Knott County. The college is tuition-free! The costs are funded by donations from across the country. However, there are costs for room and board, textbooks, fees, and other miscellaneous expenses. Angie asked if she could nominate Jacob for our Higher Education Program. I gave them an extension and they told me to get the application to me soon. I am thrilled for Jacob to have this opportunity.

*Name changed to protect the child.

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How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

You can sponsor a child 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 that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

written by Renee Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renee's stories