Tag Archives: children in poverty

Michael and Sandra Ruddick are a family that I have had the pleasure of spending time with over the last 20 years, although their support of our organization far exceeds the time that I have been with Children Incorporated. I recently took some time to ask them some questions about how they became dedicated donors and what drives them to continue to be involved in our work so many years later.

“It impressed me that a sponsored child in the program received most of the donation and only a small portion was used for the organization’s administrative overhead.”

– Sandra Ruddick

RC: You started with Children Incorporated in November 1980. Do you recall how you initially found us?  

Sandra: I saw a newspaper clipping about Children Incorporated when I was 20 years old. Jeanne Clarke Wood was the founder and director at the time. The small not for profit organization appealed to me since the children in the program were not orphans but had families whose parents needed a little financial assistance to help with some basic necessities and also with educating their children.

RC: And what led you to contact us and begin sponsoring with us?

Sandra: It was a long time ago, but I just remember wanting to help a child in a small way that could make a difference. It impressed me that a sponsored child in the program received most of the donation and only a small portion was used for the organization’s administrative overhead.

RC: You currently sponsor a dozen children with us. What do you find most rewarding about child sponsorship?

Sandra: Michael and I, along with our own children and our aunt (who lived in Rungue, Chile where she ministered the elderly and partook in parish work) were warmly welcomed when we visited one of our sponsored children in Talca. Our own children took up a collection of beanie babies in their high school. We brought the beanie babies as well as school supplies with us on our visit. The children in the home each took their turn choosing a beanie baby and their excitement was touching. Although we cannot visit each of our sponsored children, we can imagine each child and their family’s appreciation of our sponsorship.

RC: You’ve sponsored many children with us over the decades. Are there any specific children you’ve aided who stand out in your memory? 

Sandra: A girl named Monica was the first child I sponsored in Chile. I was able to visit Monica at her home. I was traveling with a girlfriend, and we were visiting two additional friends who lived in the Santiago area where they were doing missionary work.  Monica’s family was gracious enough to have us all come to their humble home for lunch. My friends and I weren’t sure what to expect but were deeply moved and honored as we were treated as very special guests where the food was plentiful. I’ll never forget the experience. Monica aged out of the program, obtained a good job and moved into her own apartment. Stories like Monica’s are part of why Michael and I now continue to support many children.

RC: You’ve also supported a number of our special projects. How have you decided which projects to support, and what has the experience been like for you?

Sandra: We have supported projects Children Incorporated has identified as those of greatest need with strong local partners to help ensure the funds are well invested — things such as helping build a school in Honduras, funding a building project at the Visayan Center in the Philippines, and contributing to feeding and warm clothing funds. It’s gratifying to know our donations have made a difference in the lives of many.

RC: If you were asked to describe Children Incorporated in just a couple of sentences, what would you say?

Sandra: Though Children Incorporated Incorporated is a small organization, their dedicated staff does much to improve the lives and futures of countless children around the world.

RC: Thank you so much for your time and all that you do for children, families and communities we support! 

***

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.

After spending a little more than a week together visiting our affiliated sites in Sucre and Santa Cruz, it was time for me to depart and return home from Bolivia, as our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, stayed to visit two more of our sites by himself — the Pedro Poveda School in La Paz and the the Lourdes School in Santa Ana del Yacuma.

“Our sponsors are providing their children with support, so that they have a sound education at Pedro Poveda.”

I had the pleasure of visiting Pedro Poveda in 2016 on my first trip to Bolivia with Children Incorporated, and I remember what a great affiliation it was, which it remains today. I have fond memories of visiting with our volunteer coordinator, Josefina, and I was excited for Luis to get the chance to see her again and get updates about how our sponsors are helping children in this part of the country.

Luis’ Visit

“Pedro Poveda is the only school in the capital city of La Paz affiliated to the Children Incorporated program,” explained Luis.

The study room at Pedro Poveda is available for children to receive support with their school work during and after school.

“This school is located in the area of La Paz called Villa Armonia, a section of the city that suffers from land movements due to bad drainage systems in this very mountainous area. Most homes, and even the school, suffer with constant deterioration and cracking of walls and floors.” “Families of our sponsored children at Pedro Poveda are very poor, and most are living in housing with the same issues.”

“The local government will not do anything to address this problem. At this moment, there is a section of the school with four classrooms that has been condemned because of this problem. The school goes from 6th through 12th  grade, and children attend primary school at a government institution next door,” said Luis. “Our sponsors are providing their children with support, so that they have a sound education at Pedro Poveda.”

Help from our sponsors

Children Incorporated support is utilized to provide school supplies and any fees the children need to attend the school. They are also provided with food items, clothing and shoes after all educational needs are met. While I was visiting, the children expressed the importance of our support so that they can complete their education. I am hoping to help them with repairs needed at the school if at all possible,” explained Luis.

“Beyond the education they are receiving, the school has tutoring programs, and also a program to support children from the area with special education needs. It also has a collection of textbooks and other resources to support many children with research and completion of educational projects.”

***

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.

written by Shelley Callahan

Shelley is the Director of Development for Children Incorporated. She is also the lead social correspondent, regularly contributing insights through the Stories of Hope blog series. Sign up for Stories of Hope to receive weekly email updates about how your donations are changing the lives of children in need.

» more of Shelley's stories

Dear Friends,

As the leader of Children Incorporated, one of my greatest responsibilities is finding the funds needed to meet the vast array of needs presented to us, almost on a daily basis. These needs come from our volunteer coordinators and those managing our programs in the field, and they are many and diverse.

Our child sponsorship program addresses a large number of the more common requests such as those for food, clothing, and school supplies for the children we serve, and our sponsors are incredibly generous in sending additional money gifts for the extra things their children want and need. But there is much more to what Children Incorporated provides. We are there when children and families lose their homes due to fires and natural disasters, and we have assisted a number of our sites with infrastructural projects such as funding housing developments and schools.

I am amazed at how far some of the gifts left to Children Incorporated have gone, and I am humbled as I see them keep on giving, year after year after year.

doing so much more

We also provide the money needed to implement skills training programs, and we have established community gardens, paid for after school tutoring programs, and made sure that children, who would otherwise go hungry, have backpacks full of food to tide them over on weekends when free school meals are unavailable. All of these things take money and it is my responsibility to secure the funds needed to meet as many of these needs as possible.

Over the years, one of our greatest assets and blessings has been the wealth of funds we’ve received from wills, bequests, and planned giving. This is the money that we often draw from to meet needs such as those listed above, and our sponsors and donors have been incredibly generous in sharing their resources. I am amazed at how far some of the gifts left to Children Incorporated have gone, and I am humbled as I see them keep on giving, year after year after year. 

living on through their gifts

I immediately think of Ms. Henkle, a sponsor who passed away nearly ten years ago. She planned in advance and left Children Incorporated a generous bequest that we continue to draw upon in addressing urgent and specialized needs of numerous children and families all around the world. Ms. Henkle’s generosity and kindness live on through her gift. And then there is the Dulin Fund, left to Children Incorporated over two decades ago that is still being used to provide monthly support to approximately 200 unsponsored children. Mr. Dulin’s generosity and kindness also live on and continue to change and improve lives, all these years after his passing.

As you plan for your future, please consider including Children Incorporated in your estate planning. Though our days on this planet are relatively short, we can make a difference that far outlives them. Long, long after our actual time here has ended, we can still offer education, hope, and opportunity to children and their families. Again, I am amazed by the generosity of those who have gone before us, and I am humbled to witness how their foresight is allowing us to address many wide-ranging needs today. 

Sincerely,

Ronald H. Carter
President and CEO
Children Incorporated

***

 Dear Friends,

I recently went on my first ever cruise to the Bahamas and Mexico, and I must say I truly enjoyed the experience. The sunrises over the ocean each morning were breathtaking, and the brush of the waves against the hull of the ship lulled me to sleep each evening. The cruise personnel was wonderfully attentive, and the entertainment on the ship – including two Broadway-type shows and an incredible singer saluting the late great Aretha Franklin – was fantastic.

Will you please consider making a contribution to our Feedings Programs Fund? Whether a little or a lot, every dollar matters in the fight to feed the hungry.

But the thing I most remember from the cruise was the food. There was food everywhere! Perhaps due to my line of work, I found the vast array of delicacies and the sheer volume of food before me to be quite overwhelming, and as I filled my face time and time again, I couldn’t help but reflect on the many children and families who go hungry on a daily basis. 

Seeing the need for myself

It’s been said that nearly 44 million people, including 1 out of every 5 children, face hunger on a regular basis. Many do not have enough food to eat, and some have extremely limited access to healthy and nutritious food. Many rely on heavily processed canned goods which have virtually no nutritional value whatsoever, and they have those items in only limited amounts. 

My co-workers and I have visited homes where the cupboards and refrigerators were absolutely bare. I clearly recall one home, consisting of two parents, a grandmother and three small children, where the only food item to be found was a half-eaten bag of potato chips. In another home, there was only a can of evaporated milk and a few day-old pastries.

At Children Incorporated, we are working to correct such heartbreaking situations. One of our greatest outreach efforts and most successful ways of meeting poverty head-on is through our Feeding Programs.

Our Feeding Programs Fund at work

Each year, we provide hundreds of thousands of dollars of food assistance to our site locations around the world. We support on-going food programs, and we aid in special as-needed situations. We regularly provide backpacks full of non-perishable food items to children who might otherwise go hungry on weekends and during breaks from school. Additionally, we provide financial assistance to programs that encourage planting home and community gardens where children learn how to cultivate and harvest their own food.

We always need your help in this very valuable work. It is on-going, steady, and persistent. Will you please consider making a contribution to our Feeding Programs Fund? Whether a little or a lot, every dollar matters in the fight to feed the hungry. As Mother Theresa said, “If you cannot feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

From the heart, 

Ronald H. Carter
President and Chief Executive Officer
Children Incorporated

DONATE TO OUR FEEDING PROGRAMS

Helping children in remote areas of the world is one of the ways Children Incorporated ensures that we are reaching families that are in the most need, who otherwise might not have a lot of resources to help them when they are living in poverty.

According to our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, students at our affiliated site, the Lourdes School, in Bolivia, are by far located in the most remote area in which we work — one that Luis himself had never visited until this past year.

Today, we hear from Luis as he talks about his visit to the school, and how our sponsors are offering support to children and families with no connection to the rest of Bolivia.

Luis was welcomed to the Lourdes School with a traditional dance performance by our sponsored children.

“The Lourdes School is located in the central-northern part of the Amazon valleys of Bolivia, in the town of Santa Ana del Yacuma, Beni Province, just a propeller engine plane flight away from Trinidad, the capital city of the province of Beni,” said Luis.

“This is the least connected province to the rest in the country, as roads are still not paved, and are flooded every time there is torrential rain in the area. The congregation running this program, Instituto Mariano del Apostolado Catolico, has two schools to administer in this area. They do so through a convenio (a special agreement) with the government, where the government pays teachers’ salaries, and the congregation has to maintain the schools, pay for special education, and cover additional programs. There is one more school run by Fe y Alegria, a local government alternative program financed by Spain that has a direct relationship and support from the Congregation, as they have to cover maintenance and pay for any additional programs they’d want to implement as well. All Children Incorporated enrolled children come from all these schools.”

“While visiting, I did a review of our policies and procedures with Sister Ana Vasquez, the person in charge of the congregation, and our volunteer coordinator. We discussed post pandemic issues, reports, children updates, and funding utilization. Sister Ana does a great job helping the children our sponsors support, and shared about the tremendous support that our program provides to the families,” explained Luis.

“Everyone was very appreciative of the Children Incorporated support, especially during these difficult times after the pandemic and after the more recent cost of living increase.”

“The facilities are in relatively good shape, but need some improvements that the Sister will recommend to us to see if we can support updates. I could really see how poverty is rampant among the children and families here, and the parents showed me how grateful they are for the help they receive by providing me with a small token of local food. Everyone brought a piece of the local cuisine for all to enjoy! It was truly a special cultural moment!”

“After I had a chance to taste all the food, I took some time to listen to the concerns the children had about their education. These conversations, along with touring the facility, made it easy to see how important and essential it is that our program support the children here. Before I knew it, it was time to return to Trinidad before dark, on that same small propeller plane. Everyone was very appreciative of the Children Incorporated support, especially during these difficult times after the pandemic and after the more recent cost of living increase,” said Luis.

***

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 Shelley Callahan

Shelley is the Director of Development for Children Incorporated. She is also the lead social correspondent, regularly contributing insights through the Stories of Hope blog series. Sign up for Stories of Hope to receive weekly email updates about how your donations are changing the lives of children in need.

» more of Shelley's stories

My trip to Bolivia had come to an end, but our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, still had a few more affiliated sites to visit in Bolivia before he returned to our office in the U.S. Today, Luis recounts his visit to Guarderia El Angel, located in Santa Cruz, where our sponsors are supporting impoverished children from 1st to 12th grade.

“Without the support of their sponsors, the children would have to go to government schools, which are not very good and teach very little.”

Luis’ Visit

“El Angel is a day care facility that is located on the outskirts of the city. It is a well-cared for and well-maintained group of buildings, where about 250 students attend. They provide pre-kinder, kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade education here, and there are children one through seven  years of age.  It is managed by a local Lay Congregation of Sisters.”

“Arrangements have been made so that children attending school in higher grades can continue the Children Incorporated program until graduation, and a school located next door, within the ‘Fe y Alegria’ alternative program, is now taking our students and supporting them until they graduate from high school. This school is now managed by the same congregation of sisters, but in cooperation with the local Bolivian government.”

“Our program support is used to cover school fees and to provide uniforms and school supplies. The children and parents are very grateful for the support, as they are all day vendors, homeowners, or people that have a hard time finding a permanent job. Without the support of their sponsors, the children would have to go to government schools, which are not very good and teach very little.”

Home Visits in Santa Cruz

“While visiting some homes, we noticed that the situation of the families is not encouraging. One was that of a single mother living in a rented room, in a very difficult situation and circumstances. She works as day worker. The other family was a family living in a half-finished house, with only two rooms and a small kitchen.  The father raises chickens but has only three of them to sell when it is the right time. He has day jobs, as well as the mother, and they have to sustain three children. One of them is in the Children Incorporated sponsorship program.”

***

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 Shelley Callahan

Shelley is the Director of Development for Children Incorporated. She is also the lead social correspondent, regularly contributing insights through the Stories of Hope blog series. Sign up for Stories of Hope to receive weekly email updates about how your donations are changing the lives of children in need.

» more of Shelley's stories