Tag Archives: children in poverty

Dear Friends, 

In my 21 years with Children Incorporated, I have noticed that older children in our sponsorship program are often quite difficult to pair with sponsors, even though their needs are just as great as those of our younger children. We find that older teens, with just one or two years remaining in high school, face many trials and challenges, and their needs are equal to, if not greater than, those of their younger counterparts. They desperately need motivation to stay in school and to complete their studies, and the encouragement they receive from their sponsors — just from knowing that someone actually cares — may help to determine if they graduate.

You, my friends, have the potential to change the life of one of these youth.

Today, I am reaching out to you, our loyal supporters, to request that you consider adding one of these older teenagers to the children you already assist. We currently have approximately 50 such teens who are in their last few years of high school, and they can greatly benefit from the support of a caring sponsor like you. Your support will mean a great deal to them as they transition from childhood into their adult years and make important decisions about their future. If you could take on an additional child for even one or two years, it would make a world of difference. 

One of our amazing volunteer coordinators recently shared the following words with us, and I wish to share them with you:

“You give children relief. Relief from the burden of standing out due to their stained or ripped clothing and shoes. Relief from wearing clothes that do not fit, or clothes that leave them cold in the winter. Wearing clean, well-fitting clothes gives a child dignity, and it eases the fear of standing out or being picked on. It removes a barrier to their learning, and removing this burden from their small shoulders brings a lightness back to their childhood.”

Sponsorship matters and sponsorship makes a difference, perhaps in no greater way than in the lives of impressionable youth on the verge of adulthood. You, my friends, have the potential to change the life of one of these youth. Thank you for considering my request. 

From the heart,
Ronald H. Carter

***

HOW DO I SPONSOR An older CHILD WITH CHILDREN INCORPORATED?

You can sponsor an older 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 with the filter “13 or older.”

SPONSOR A CHILD

Over the years, Children Incorporated has been affiliated with a total of 10 Washington, D.C. public schools. The affiliations began in approximately 2009, when our U.S. Programs Urban Division Director at that time, Ron Carter, sought to expand upon the relationship he had made possible between Children Incorporated and Communities In Schools (CIS) of Richmond.

Being pleased with CIS as a partner, and ready for Children Incorporated to grow to its next urban affiliations, Ron reached out to the Executive Director at Communities In Schools of the Nation’s Capital at that time. Our organization’s first affiliation was at Ferebee-Hope Elementary School, and our organization’s impact has grown from there.

Understanding our capital city

It is ironic that in the richest nation in the world, there are children who are literally growing up in the shadow of the White House, who are living in bitter poverty, and who have never experienced the cultural and educational offerings in the city.

Asjya is pictured with one of our sponsored children.

However, despite the poverty, there is also a huge sense of pride. Many communities have been established for decades and have a strong sense of identity.

Some U.S. cities are divided into districts; others (like New Orleans) have parishes and Washington, D.C. has wards. There are eight wards currently in Washington, D.C. The city is bordered by Maryland to the north, east and west; and Virginia is to its south, on the other side of the landmark Potomac River.

There is also a smaller and lesser-known river named the Anacostia that runs through the city. For decades, the Anacostia River split Ward 7 and Ward 8 from the others. That divide was not only geographic, but economic, too. Ward 7 and 8 have had the highest poverty rates. There are children who have lived their whole lives without crossing the Anacostia River. These two wards also have had higher rates of violence than others.

Changes being made in recent years

However, the city began to redraw its wards based on the 2020 federal census. There are now small “bumps” on the tops of Ward 7 and Ward 8 that expand them north of the river for the first time ever. Ward 8 now includes gentrified areas such as Navy Yard and Southwest Waterfront. As The Washington Post stated in 2021, “The end of the days of exclusively east-of-the-river wards is inevitable, a result of a decade of explosive development in some Washington, D.C. neighborhoods and near-stagnation in others that has left the city’s eight wards unbalanced.”

With many neighborhoods becoming increasingly gentrified, there is an increasing inequity between “the haves and the have-nots.” Housing costs are skyrocketing, and the influx of new residents makes parking very difficult. There is still a shortage of grocery stores south of the Anacostia River. Food insecurity and transportation barriers go hand in hand. Additionally, Washington, D.C. does not provide school buses for students. Families must drive, walk or take a city bus. Transportation is a significant barrier for the children, and many absences are related to these ongoing challenges.

Providing regular, consistent support can truly make a difference in children’s well-being and healthy development, and we are seeing that through our affiliations in Washington, D.C.

The child poverty rate in Wards 7 and 8 is over 50%. Children who grow up in poverty are often exposed to high levels of trauma, which can have adverse effects on their development. Adding the stress of the pandemic years made a bad situation worse for impoverished students. Many children saw family members become very ill and even die. They worried what would happen to them. There were extra financial benefits provided, which improved child poverty, but those have now expired.

All these reasons are why the benefits of our sponsorship program are so important. Providing regular, consistent support can truly make a difference in children’s well-being and healthy development, and we are seeing that through our affiliations in Washington, D.C.

Visiting Burrville Elementary School

Children Incorporated’s Assistant Director of U.S. Programs, Kristen Walthall, and I visited our affiliated sites in Washington, D.C. in early 2024. Our first appointment was scheduled for Burrville Elementary School. After stopping for gas near the school, we drove around for some time looking for a place to park. This was complicated by road repairs by the school, with a street blocked off.

We arrived at the school a bit breathless, but excited. We were greeted by the Executive Director of Communities In Schools of the Nation’s Capital, Dr. Rustin Lewis, who had driven across town to welcome us personally. But he had to leave and return to the office immediately. We were also greeted by the Communities In Schools of the Nation’s Capital’s Program Director, Monique, and our volunteer coordinator Asyja, who runs the Children Incorporated sponsorship program at Burrville Elementary School.

To start our visit, Asyja took us on a tour of the school building. It’s an old structure, but it is well maintained. Due to its age there are few windows and thus no natural light, but the faculty has worked hard to make things cheerful with colorful bulletin boards and posters. The hallways are named after universities; Asyja explained to us that the school wants to plant the seed of higher education in the children’s minds from the beginning.

Burrville Elementary School offers a beacon of hope for children in the community.

During our walk, we were introduced to one of our enrolled children, Brooks.* Brooks is seven years old and is in the second grade. He loves playing soccer, practicing rap, and the color red. That’s a good thing, as it matches the school color. Brooks lives with his mother, stepfather, two older sisters, one older brother and one younger brother. His mother makes and sells bead necklaces for a living. His stepfather is currently unemployed. After Asyja sent Brooks back to his classroom, she said this family is one she works with a lot. Brooks and his older brother are enrolled on our sponsorship program. She is working on enrolling the two older sisters as well.

After our tour of the school, we all went to Asyja’s office, where Kris and I got a better idea of how Burrville is able to support children in the community. The school itself serves children in grades PK3 through fifth. (PK3 is prekindergarten for three-year olds. The “regular” prekindergarten is for four-year olds.) According to Asyja, the school offers several supplemental programs for its students. These include Reading Partners, the Joyful Market (a Children Incorporated favorite and past beneficiary of our Hope In Action Fund grants) and a variety of clubs, including a gardening club.

Asyja said her students’ greatest need is clothing. She is doing home visits and knows at least one child who needs a real bed. She will reach out to me or Kris once she gets an estimate on the cost of the bed and request Hope In Action Funds to purchase it. Asyja said she also sees food insecurity and works to address that. The average rent is $1,724 monthly, which means many families are paying a tremendous share of their limited income toward housing. She also said that a lot of Burrville Elementary School families are employed in service jobs (such as fast food), and some work in sales or for the government (such as in the clerical and tech support fields). Almost 30% don’t have cars and take public transportation into the downtown area and its work environs.

Ultimately, Children Incorporated helps provide a foundation that removes barriers and improves the social and emotional challenges that negatively affect our students.

– Asyja

Hearing from Asyja

Upon returning to the Children Incorporated office after our visit to Burrville Elementary, I received the following email from Asyja:

 Approximately 258 students are enrolled at Burrville currently. 92% are African American and 7% Hispanic/Latino. English language learners make up 6% of the student population, 17% of students have an Individualized Education Program and 100% of the students receive free/reduced price meals.

Family engagement is a priority at Burrville. We conduct home visits, set up parent/teacher conferences and communicate with our families consistently. We also host annual events that our families and community members enjoy participating in. These activities include: Family Movie Night, Literacy Night, Fall Festival, Black History Month Programs, Family Game Night and Field Day. Burrville has partnerships with D.C. Scores, Teens Run D.C., Martha’s Table, Raising a Village and Boys Town, as well as Communities In Schools and Children Incorporated.

Homelessness, poor attendance and inadequate resources are the challenges at Burrville that impact the well-being and education of our students. Many of the struggles occur due to a lack of basic essentials and necessities in this high-poverty, low-income environment. Moreover, these challenges contribute to an evolved mental health population that affects the overall behaviors of our youth. Children Incorporated helps by providing additional support and resources to the students and their families to aid in breaking this cycle. Further, these supports and resources can empower our youth to matriculate appropriately through their educational career. Ultimately, Children Incorporated helps provide a foundation that removes barriers and improves the social and emotional challenges that negatively affect our students.

One of our students lost everything in a fire, except the clothes she had on. We were able to provide the student with clothes; she was provided with shirts, pants, socks, underwear, pajamas and a jacket. The family reported that because of the assistance they were able to comfortably finish the school term. Two other students did not have housing and stayed in a hotel for 60 days until they were moved into permanent placement. We were able to provide Christmas gifts for them, along with groceries, all thanks to the support these children receive from Children Incorporated.

*Name changed to protect the child.

***

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

As our Director of International Programs Luis Bourdet continues his visits to our affiliated India, we hear about his visit to the English Medium Hostel, where learning the English language is a focus for students.

Welcome to Dornakal

“Within the Dornakal Diocese, Children Incorporated provides support to six programs. One is a child care center and five are homes or hostels, including the English Medium Hostel. All our affiliated sites are administered by the Church of South India (or CSI), through the bishop in charge, and from its offices in Dornakal. This Diocese is in charge of over 1500 small and big churches and compounds (including schools and hostels) around the Diocese territory,” explained Luis.

“The Bishop of the Diocese, Rev. Dr. K. Padma Rao, who was appointed almost two years ago, is responsible for the upkeep of all churches and facilities within the Diocese. Children Incorporated support allows the children to stay at each center or hostel, and they are provided with food, clothing, boarding and educational support.”

“Children Incorporated support allows the children to stay at each center or hostel, and they are provided with food, clothing, boarding, and educational support,” explained Luis.

“English Medium Hostel is a small facility that accommodates about 30 to 35 children who are selected to attend the English Medium School. All are boys who come from remote areas but are taking the initiative to learn English, as the new government mandates, and attend this school to get more adept with the language from an early age,” said Luis.

“The hostel occupies a small area with two main buildings — one is a small two-story dorm, and the other is a kitchen and dining hall, with an adjacent set of toilets. The children have a busy schedule here, as they start their day early at around 5 a.m. by having breakfast, then attending school, and returning back to the home for a brief rest. Then they bah homework time, some cultural recreational activities, and are off to bed for the next day,” explained Luis.

Visiting English Medium

“The new volunteer coordinator Ms. Aruna Devi is the superintendent and is in charge of the home. During my visit, she had the opportunity to learn more about our sponsorship program requirements.”

“After a short presentation from the children and a meeting to discuss the importance of writing letters, providing reports and making sure the funds are properly distributed to the children, Ms. Devi and I discussed many areas of how Children Incorporated is helping children at the school. Ms. Devi shared with us in detail about how she distributes the funds and what they cover. After meeting with the children and touring the facility, we ended our visit,” 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 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

Our Higher Education Fund helps young people pursue their dreams of completing certificate programs or obtaining a degree from a university or college. Many of our Higher Education Fund beneficiaries have returned to their communities in positions as teachers, nurses, social workers, accountants, architects, counselors and speech therapists.

Today I want to share with you three special stories about students in our sponsorship program who are graduating — two of which are benefiting from our Higher Education Fund thanks to our amazing sponsors and donors.

Monica’s story

Monica* is graduating from 12th grade at our affiliated site Shonto Preparatory School in Arizona. She was enrolled on our sponsorship program in 2012 as a first grader. For her entire “school career,” Monica has had the same sponsor.

Monica is shown proudly holding her diploma.

Monica has had good attendance and good grades. She has participated in extracurricular activities over the course of her school years ranging from 4-H, hike club, bike club, dance club, study club (co-founder), volleyball (player and manager 2022), sophomore class council secretary, junior class council secretary and senior class council secretary.

When asked about nominating a strong candidate as a recipient of our Higher Education Fund, our volunteer coordinator at Shonto Preparatory School Orleta recommended Monica right away. The girl’s Higher Education Program application arrived on time and in good order. Monica wrote that her father ingrained the value of education in her soul. Monica shared she has many academic interests, but her favorite is archaeology. Digging through the dirt to discover the past brings her a sense of calm pleasure. She discovered that passion as a young girl, and she is determined to pursue it as her profession. Monica wrote that she is coming from a single-parent, low-income household that she is a minority Native woman, and she needs and values this opportunity. Monica has been accepted at the University of Arizona.

Orleta wrote a stellar letter of recommendation, stating the girl demonstrates outstanding academic and leadership skills. Orleta also shared that Monica has taken a couple of college courses online while juggling her regular high school class load and her extracurriculars. Monica has always had a strong interest in learning. She would always stay after school for extra tutorials. Orleta calls Monica “trustworthy, hardworking, devoted and good humored.”

Many of our Higher Education Fund beneficiaries have returned to their communities in positions as teachers, nurses, social workers, accountants, architects, counselors and speech therapists.

I am so happy to welcome Monica to our Higher Education Program as she graduates from Shonto Preparatory School!

Tracy’s Future Path

Tracy is graduating from 12th grade at our affiliated site Shelby Valley High School in Kentucky. She was enrolled on our sponsorship program in 2009 at Valley Elementary School. For her entire “school career,” Tracy has had the same sponsor.

In high school, Tracy chose to focus on her future career goals rather than clubs or sports. Tracy took classes to become a Medication Nursing Assistant (MNA).  While a senior, she took more nursing classes, including college credit classes.

When asked about nominating a strong candidate, our volunteer coordinator Rachel recommended Tracy right away.  Rachel shared that neither of Tracy’s parents was capable of caring for her. Tracy was raised by and still lives with her grandmother, alongside 10 other siblings and cousins. It is a tremendous struggle for the grandmother to have 11 children under her roof, but she has persevered and has instilled good character and values into the children.

Tracy is pictured in her graduation cap and gown.

One week before the state CNA exam, Tracy’s father died in a very tragic way. Despite her grief, Tracy made herself go to the examination — and to her happiness and her grandmother’s pride, Tracy passed. She graduated with her high school diploma and as a certified nursing assistant.

Tracy has been accepted at Big Sandy Career & Technical College. She plans to obtain an associate degree in nursing and to pass the national exam, which will allow her to become a registered nurse (RN).

Melissa’s Success

For this school year, Melissa took not only her 11th grade classes, but all of her required 12th grade classes, too. She graduated last week from Breathitt County High School in Kentucky.

Melissa completed both junior and senior years at same time while maintaining a 3.5 average and working each school day as a bus monitor. She was also a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps [JROTC] at the high school.

She has been accepted into Morehead State University and its ROTC program. Melissa plans to enlist in the Army after her graduation from MSU. Her future career plans are to be either an Army nurse or a military prosthetist (a health care provider who makes and fits prosthetic limbs for current and/or former service members).

Congratulations to Melissa on graduating!

*Students’ names have been changed for their privacy.

***

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

Dear Children Incorporated,

This is a huge thank you to all of our donors and you all at Children Incorporated. Here at Huguenot High School we have so many students in need. This year you all have provided support for our sponsored children and all Huguenot students through Hope In Action by providing Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)  kits midyear. We have many students dealing with anxiety and social issues on a regular basis and because of our SEL kits purchased with your donations many of them have been able to pick up items that help them get through the day and focus.

Our children are able to feel special and feel loved by people they don’t ever know or get to meet and that is something amazing.

We have also observed many individual students helped by the generous donations of Children Incorporated. For example, we have a student who lives with her uncle because her father has passed and her mom is incarcerated. She often needs to buy undergarments and clothing for herself because he just doesn’t know what to get her. So she is comfortable coming into our office and asking me for help to get whatever she needs especially when she needs advice on what to get.

Another student we have at the works and goes to school and doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on herself. She has to help pay rent where she lives and often wears the same clothes over and over again. Due to your donations I was able to get her necessary hair products, clothes and even a few extra gifts for herself that she would never get if it wasn’t for you all.

There is no way any of the students would be able to help support themselves without the funds of Children Incorporated. Our children are able to feel special and feel loved by people they don’t ever know or get to meet and that is something amazing. You all help build self-confidence and self-worth, and help children see the world from a different perspective and create graduates where there may not have been one. Thank you and your donors for their continued support. You are changing the world one gift at a time!

With gratitude and appreciation,

Casey

***

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

Being a resource coordinator there are many things that we are supposed to do and incorporate into our job. Hygiene, self-care, self-love and understanding the impact and importance of this is something I try to educate my students on.

Children Incorporated helps eliminate some of the challenges these students and their families face.

The Children Incorporated sponsorship program has such a wonderful impact on my students. Children Incorporated helps me to make sure students’ needs are met every day they attend school. I love how the students receive gifts on their birthday which makes the student feel special and not forgot about. The anticipation and excitement on the students’ face is very rewarding. Thanks to the sponsors for making this happen.

Building a relationship with these students is my top priority. I love being able to earn the students’ trust. I am able to pull them into my office and ask what their specific needs are. With the combination of my Family Resource Center and Children Incorporated, everything we do is and can be life changing for these students.

I truly believe that if some of these students didn’t have sponsors then they wouldn’t be able to attend school. Children Incorporated helps eliminate some of the challenges these students and their families face. Thank you for everything.

Sincerely,
Paula

***

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 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