Tag Archives: Children Incorporated

Responding to COVID-19 in the United States

Amidst school closures across the U.S., our concern has turned to how to best help children in our program who are already living in vulnerable situations.

Many kids in our program rely on school lunches and our Backpack Feeding Program to ensure they are receiving adequate meals throughout the day and on the weekends. Additionally, many children living in poverty who we support don’t live in safe and comfortable environments, and the school day is often a refuge from harsh conditions.

We would like to share some stories from our affiliated projects and our volunteer coordinators to show how your donations are helping children and families through this difficult time.

News about the COVID-19 outbreak can be overwhelming and daunting, especially when the news is about parents losing jobs in retail and the service industry — jobs that often pay so little that families live paycheck to paycheck.

We would like to share some stories from our affiliated projects and our volunteer coordinators to show how your donations are helping children and families through this difficult time.

We want our donors to know that we, along with our partnering organizations, are continuing to do the most we can for children in need.

Bags of food for high school students

We received photos from our volunteer coordinator, Karen, at Knott County Central High School of her and another staff member making food bags for kids to pick up and take home while school is closed during the COVID-19 outbreak. Children would otherwise be receiving free or reduced-cost lunches at school — meals that may not be available at home because of the abject poverty in which they live.

Breakfast and lunch for children 

A sponsored child in Arizona receives bags of food on her front porch.

Our volunteer coordinator, Jenny, of Catlettsburg Elementary School, shared with us a picture of herself with her school teammates. Their team had just returned from delivering breakfast and lunch to 53 children in the area who are from families that struggle to provide even the most basic needs to their children.

A countrywide response

Schools across the country have done a fantastic job of sending home educational packets and making schoolwork available online while our nation navigates the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, in states where we work, school staff members are feeding children by coming into the school building each morning and preparing free breakfast and lunch for the students. Many counties have arranged pickup points for parents to receive food bags. Other districts are also going out into the communities, setting up in public spaces such as church parking lots.

Beds and linens for sisters

Donations to our Beds and Linens Fund were able to help two sisters in need before they weren’t able to return to school for some time. Our volunteer coordinator, Jackie, at one of our affiliated schools, became aware that these two young girls enrolled in our sponsorship program didn’t have beds at home. With funding from Children Incorporated, she purchased blankets, sheets, mattresses, and bed frames and arranged for them to be delivered and set up in the family’s home.

Working together to make an impact

Together, we will do our best to ensure that children are looked after during this crisis and after it passes. Thank you for all that you do for children in need through your sponsorships and donations. We are incredibly grateful for your support, especially during this difficult time.

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Attending the Freshman Academy

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

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

Helping students on a path towards success

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

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

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

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

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

It takes a village

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

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

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

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

The Freshman Academy is home of the Knights.

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

Meeting Maria and Bradley

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

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

*Names changed to protect the children.

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How do I sponsor a child in Arizona?

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

Beds and Blankets for Sisters in Need

During the difficult time of changes due to the COVID-19 virus, donations to our Beds and Linens Funds from our donors — just like you —were able to help two sisters in need before they weren’t able to return to school for some time. Our volunteer coordinator, Jackie, at one of our affiliated schools in Kentucky, became aware that these two young girls enrolled in our sponsorship program didn’t have beds at home. With funding from Children Incorporated, she purchased blankets, sheets, mattresses, and bed frames and arranged for them to be delivered and set up in the family’s home.

Our Beds and Linens Fund provides for children all over the world.

Thank you for all that you do to provide for children in need through your sponsorship and donation to our Beds and Linens Fund! Because of you, these girls and other children in our program now have comfortable beds for a good night’s rest while school is out – and for after they return to school.

How do I donate to the bed and linens fund?

Children living in poverty often go without mattresses, bedding and linens. Many do not have beds of their own and sleep on cold, hard floors. Your donations will help us to provide these children with comfortable places to sleep. Every year, we provide hundreds of children with beds and linens so they can sleep comfortably at night. To make a donation, visit our Beds and Linens Fund donation page, or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.

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Faith and Joy for Students in Lima

After spending two weeks visiting our affiliated projects in Colombia and Peru, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, and I were scheduled to visit with our last school before returning home — the Villa School outside of Lima, Peru.

Located in the Villa El Salvador slum district in the outskirts of the capital, the Villa School is a “Fe y Alegría” school. Fe y Alegría schools are a federation of local organizations which offer educational opportunities to the poorest sectors of society.

About Fe y Alegría

Students wear matching school outfits with the name of the school and the neighborhood.

Founded in 1955 by the Society of Jesus in Venezuela as a movement to promote comprehensive education and social development, there are currently Fe y Alegría schools in 19 countries around the world. Fe y Alegría schools work to strengthen education for marginalized populations through specific methods:

-Teacher Training: Ongoing training provided for teachers and school directors, including in computer technology.

-Technical Education: Fe y Alegría schools provide students with technical training that prepares them for the workforce, with the aim of promoting sustainable development.

-Higher Technological Education: Training is also provided to prepare children for technical careers that respond to the needs of the local/regional economy in which the institutes are located.

-Rural Education: Fe y Alegría schools provide capacity building in rural areas of Peru, working to develop educational materials suitable to the needs of the local region.

-Basic Alternative Education for Adults: The schools offer adults who were unable to complete their school studies the opportunity to pursue elementary and high school-level studies.

-Inclusive Education: Fe y Alegría seeks to promote the participation and integration of children with disabilities in the education system. It does so through teacher training and the development of learning materials catered to the specific needs of disabled students.

Currently, Fe y Alegría is running 79 high schools, 161 schools in 6 rural areas, 268 technical schools and workshops, 7 institutes of higher technology, and 20 centers of technical and production education.

Many spoke of how important sponsorship was to them and how sponsors helped not only the children, but the entire family.

The Villa School

When we arrived at the Villa School, we met with our volunteer coordinator, Ines, who had a special presentation prepared for us. We gathered with a few dozen of our sponsored children and their mothers in a large room where chairs had been set up in a circle.

Luis and I sat, and a group of older children performed a traditional Peruvian dance for us. When the dance was over, mothers and students expressed to us sentiments about their sponsors.

Many spoke of how important sponsorship was to them and how sponsors helped not only the children, but the entire family.

A few of the mothers became emotional as they spoke, mentioning how grateful they were to know there were people in the world willing to help their children get through school so they could have the chance at a better life away from slum neighborhoods in Lima.

Happy children all around

Afterward, Luis and I took a tour of the large school, where multiple basketball courts and soccer fields were surrounded by classrooms, carpentry workshops, and buildings with spaces for dancing, music classes and other recreational activities.

As we made our way around the rectangular path of the school with Ines, hundreds of smiling students dressed in matching Fe y Alegría School uniforms walked, ran and skipped past us gleefully. It was apparent that they were enjoying their time with their friends and teachers. I could tell this was, indeed, a place of faith and joy for all the children at this special Fe y Alegría school.

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How do I sponsor a child in Peru?  

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

SPONSOR A CHILD

 

When Seasonal Work Isn’t Enough

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

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

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

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

Getting to know our long-term coordinator at Dennehotso

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

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

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

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

Renée pictured with Lucy

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

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

A family in desperate need

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

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

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

Rewarding children in the cold winter months

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

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

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

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How do I sponsor a child in Arizona?

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

Our Shared Hope Fund

We enroll new children in our program every day, and finding enough sponsors for all of them is one of our greatest challenges.

The global need is so profound that some children wait months for a sponsor. Children Incorporated currently has about 2,000 children enrolled in our program who are still awaiting sponsorship. Helping them to get clothes, food, and school supplies give them the assistance they need now until they are sponsored.

A shared Hope story

Meet Anthony.* Anthony lives in Richmond, Virginia, and is in elementary school at our affiliated project, Blackwell Elementary.

Anthony was desperately in need of new shoes

During the warmer months, students at Blackwell wear flip flops and sandals to school. But when the weather gets colder, children start to wear tennis shoes and boots. Our volunteer coordinator at Blackwell Elementary, Jeffery, noticed that Anthony was wearing a pair of shoes that were obviously and painfully too tight. Jeffrey contacted Children Incorporated and expressed that Anthony’s need for shoes was so immediate that there was no time to get Anthony enrolled in our program and then wait for a sponsor.  Children Incorporated approved the request and sent Shared Hope Funds right away.

Jeffrey shopped around and found a good pair of gray Nikes on clearance. When Jeffrey gave Anthony the shoes, Anthony sat in Jeffrey’s office and cried. The next day Anthony brought – without having been asked – a thank you note for Children Incorporated sharing that the Nikes were the first pair of new shoes he had ever had for himself.

Jeffrey said they talked about proper shoe care, and Anthony is extremely proud of and careful with his shoes. The laces are tied, and he keeps them clean.

How you can help

Donations made to our Shared Hope Fund provide immediate assistance to children awaiting sponsorship.

$25 provides a pair of shoes for an unsponsored child

$50 provides school supplies or holiday gifts for one child

$100 provides school supplies or holiday gifts for two children

$500 fills sixty book bags full of food for children on the weekends

$1,000 provides school supplies or holiday gifts for twenty children

$2,000 provides school supplies or holiday gifts for forty children

MAKE A DONATION TODAY

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