Tag Archives: Children Incorporated

What do we mean when we talk about special projects at Children Incorporated? Our special projects come from a variety of requests from our volunteer coordinators at our affiliated sites, but they all mean one thing — crucial support for children, families and communities.

“Furthermore, our special projects allow our donors to help more than just one child or one family – often the projects we support help hundreds of children or members of a community by creating jobs and improving the overall structure of a place or location.”

“We consider three different types of support when we talk about the ways that our donors can help some of the most vulnerable people in the world,” explains Children Incorporated’s Director of Development, Shelley Callahan.

“First, our sponsorship program partners sponsors with individual children. Secondly, our special funds focus on certain aspects of helping children and families with, for example, warm clothes or emergency assistance — necessities that are beyond sponsorship.”

“Thirdly, our special projects range from infrastructure to renovations to building projects that are vital to us having access to the children we support, making sure they have a safe place to live and learn and that even more of their basic needs are meet,” Shelley continued.

“Furthermore, our special projects allow our donors to help more than just one child or one family – often the projects we support, such as building a dorm or an agricultural school or renovating an old kitchen in a group home, help hundreds of children or members of a community by creating jobs and improving the overall structure of a place or location.”

“Over the years, donations to our special projects have allowed us to hire teams of engineers to build greenhouses, playgrounds, and additions on schools. On a smaller scale, our special projects offer things such as art supplies for summer camps or reading materials for libraries — items that fill in the gaps that our coordinators are missing in making their programs that support our children successful,” expressed Shelley.

The Dandora Center in Kenya celebrates the new renovations on multiple classrooms thanks to our donors

Read more about our special projects around the world from past years and find out how you can support future projects through your generous donations!

A Place to Call Home

In partnering with our nearly 300 affiliated sites around the world, including Casa Central, it is our goal at Children Incorporated to work with our volunteer coordinators to provide everything that we can for children in our program so they can receive an education – including offering them a safe and stable place to live.

“Casa Central is a social service center located in the center of the city but serves and supports children from the peripheral, struggling areas of Guatemala City,” explained Children Incorporated Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet.

“Many of our sponsored children live in shacks, and the support through our sponsorship program has given them food, clothing, and educational supplies. Yet our volunteer coordinator, Sister Estefania, recognized that some of the children, despite the resources we offered, are still struggling due to the terrible housing conditions they live in. Through her immense efforts, she was able to secure titles for land in different areas of the city, and Children Incorporated was able to fund the construction of eight houses which have offered stable homes for eight children in our program,” said Luis.

“The houses are simple, but of permanent nature, made of cinder block, metal trusses and metal roof, two metal exterior doors, and protected from the weather. The families selected are so grateful and thankful for this support.”

Children Incorporated was able to fund the construction of eight houses which have offered stable homes for eight children in our program.

A New Playground and New Supplies for Students in Richmond

Children Incorporated staff members Renée Kube, Shelley Oxenham, and Chuck Smith helped rebuild a playground at G.H. Reid Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia, where we partner with Communities in Schools of Richmond (CIS) to support sponsored children in the Richmond area, near our headquarters.

Just a few months prior, over summer break, the old playground was set on fire, and it spread around the equipment, melting and disfiguring most of it, and leaving the 750 Richmond public school children with few options for outdoor play.

Renée, our Director of U.S. Programs, explained that the playground rebuild project was able to happen thanks to KaBOOM, a national nonprofit that builds playgrounds, especially in low-income areas.

The CarMax Foundation also stepped up to contribute funds and materials for the build, and Renée attended the volunteer workday, along with her Children Incorporated coworkers Shelley, U.S. Programs Specialist, and Chuck, U.S. Sponsorship Manager.

About 250 volunteers built the playground from the ground up in just one day. One of the jobs Renée, Shelley, and Chuck were assigned was painting maps and game boards onto the playground surface.

Renovations at the Lou Ann Long Hostel made the kitchen safe for staff and children.

By the end of May, we had $1,000 to donate to G.H. Reid, and we couldn’t wait to present the check to them, as well as contribute some supplies to get them started.

A New Kitchen for the Lou Ann Long Girls’ Hostel in India

In many developing countries, food is often cooked over open fires in poorly ventilated kitchens. It is estimated that 3 billion people worldwide cook over an open flame, which releases toxic smoke that is dangerous to health and safety.

At one of our affiliated sites, the Lou Ann Long Girls’ Hostel in India, the cooks prepared meals for the students in a small, dark one-room kitchen with only one small window that was continuously filled with thick smoke. The kitchen was badly in need of updating, but the administration did not have the necessary funds.

Thanks to our donors – just like you – Children Incorporated was able to renovate Lou Ann Long’s kitchen. New gas stoves with proper ventilation systems were installed, and modern sinks and updated windows and floors now provide more space, a cleaner environment, and natural light for the kitchen staff.

***

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

It’s hard to believe that almost exactly 6 years ago we launched our On the Road blog series with this introduction:

“Today, Children Incorporated announced the launch of its inaugural blogging series — On the Road. Starting this week, the international child sponsorship organization will take readers on a real time, virtual journey to actual sites as far as Bolivia and Kenya and as close to home as Kentucky.”

We are getting close to announcing our new blog series, which we can’t wait to share with you. In the meantime, enjoy some of our best posts from On the Road!

Just as we planned, the On the Road series followed our work across the world, highlighting just how helpful our donors’ contributions were — and are — to children living in poverty. As stated by our CEO and President, Ron Carter:

“We rely on the support of sponsors and donors to provide the basic essentials to children in need around the globe. We want people to see the true impact of their support on the ground.”

Today, we want to share some of our favorite On the Road blogs as we gear up to make some changes to our blog series in the next few weeks. But don’t worry! We fully intend to continue to bring you stories of inspiration from our affiliated sites and volunteer coordinators around the world in the true fashion of On the Road, while our new series will allow us to expand on just how vast the work we do really is — all thanks to our supporters.

We are getting close to announcing our new blog series, which we can’t wait to share with you. In the meantime, enjoy some of our best posts from On the Road!

Paying It Forward: Life After Sponsorship

Aimee learned a lot of things too early in life as she watched her father nearly succumb to leukemia, his resulting painkiller addiction, and the financial and psychological quicksand her family struggled with as a result.

Our blog series has taken our supporters with us around the globe to show them how their donations are changing the lives of children in need.

Growing up in a small town in Eastern Kentucky, Aimee was surprised to find herself and her family staying with neighbors while her dad suffered in a nearby hospital. It seemed so sudden, the onset of his illness, and she remembers an earlier childhood of warmth and togetherness.

That wouldn’t be Aimee’s lot in life for several more years, unfortunately. She was in the sixth grade when her father was diagnosed, and her memories of his painful experience with a bone marrow transplant are still very acute. It was a troubling time for both Aimee and her younger sister, and she had a lot on her mind when the volunteer coordinator at her school told her she now had a Children Incorporated sponsor.

“I didn’t think much about it at the time,” she remembers. “Except that it was nice to get money at Christmastime, and it was nice having someone to write thank-you notes to. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I really recognized the importance of giving, and the importance of helping others in need.”

Never Forgetting Where She Came From

When Norah Quinn McCormick reached out to us in the new year about sponsoring a child, she told us a heartfelt story about how her grandmother first got involved with our work many years ago, largely due to the fact that she grew up in Appalachia and “never forgot where she came from.” Now, Norah wants to carry on the legacy of helping children in need.

To hear more about Norah’s story, our Director of Development, Shelley Callahan, hosted a virtual interview with Norah during which we found out about her, her grandmother, and how they both came to believe in the power of sponsorship.

SC: WHERE DO YOU LIVE AND WHAT DO YOU DO FOR WORK?

NM: I live in Washington, D.C. and work as a fundraiser for the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland.

SC: HOW DID YOU FIRST FIND OUT ABOUT CHILDREN INCORPORATED?

NM: My Granny, Bonnie Hobbs Barron, sponsored children for as long as I can remember. I used to see pictures of sponsored children on her refrigerator. I also remember my mom sponsoring a child shortly after my Granny passed away.

SC: CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR GRANDMOTHER?

NM: My Granny, Bonnie Hobbs Barron, was born near Big Stone Gap in Wise County, Virginia in 1916. She grew up in a one-room log cabin without plumbing or electricity. As a child, she owned only one dress and one pair of shoes, and occasionally had to offer labor in exchange for food. Her father passed away when she was 6, and she often had to take care of her two younger siblings. She was orphaned by the age of 15, and unable to finish high school until the age of 21.

After high school, she worked as a housekeeper and caregiver for a family in Norton, until she married my grandfather in 1941. My grandfather benefitted from his participation in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), as well as through military service, and had a job opportunity in Washington, D.C. They relocated and eventually settled in Mount Rainier, Maryland, where they raised five children. My Granny lived to be 89 years old and passed away in 2006. However, she never forgot where she came from in Appalachia.

A Future for Children in a Kentucky Without Coal

Nobody’s better at wearing a brave face than a kid — whether they know it or not. If you drive around Eastern Kentucky, you’ll see children at school playing outside and laughing. At first glance, it’s not likely that you’ll truly understand the impact that increasing poverty is having on their families.

“We rely on the support of sponsors and donors to provide the basic essentials to children in need around the globe. We want people to see the true impact of their support on the ground.”

– Children Incorporated CEO and President Ron Carter

It’s coal country here, with mining dominating Kentucky’s industries since 1820. The Western Coal Fields, part of the Illinois basin, and the Eastern Coal Fields here in Appalachia, have been the historical centers of what was once an almost guaranteed career for able-bodied Kentuckians. For a long time now, coal has put clothes on the backs and shoes on the feet of generations of Kentucky residents.

Coal mining in Kentucky reached its peak in 1949. Since then, jobs have become more automated and mechanized, and with environmental regulations encouraging the use of cleaner fuels, the industry has been in decline. As a result, mines have closed. And when big coal companies pull out of a town, it’s nothing short of devastating for families.

Children Incorporated Volunteer Coordinator Terrie Simpkins, who works at Sheldon Clark High School in Martin County, Kentucky, says that the impact on the community has been shattering.

“Families lost their cars and then their homes. Our families have deep ties here, and they waited as long as they could before many gave up, and left for work in other states,” said Terrie.

As in any struggling economic system, less take-home pay means less to spend at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and other local businesses. Those stores close up shop, more jobs are lost, and daily life becomes a struggle. The Appalachian population is in decline, as former miners of Kentucky coal move elsewhere to seek better lives near the cleaner, low sulfur coal mines of Wyoming, the gas fields of North Dakota, or the auto assembly plants of Louisville, Kentucky or Marysville, Ohio.

Some of those who stay do so to care for aging parents; some feel they don’t have the education or training to compete for jobs in other areas of the country; some can’t afford to move; and some simply feel a strong connection to the land they have always known.

***

 

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

Over the years, our supporters have heard numerous accounts of families we work with needing emergency support when natural disasters strike. From flooding to earthquakes to hurricanes to volcanic eruptions, those living in impoverished areas of the world are more affected in negative ways than those not living in poverty.

“When families are living in old houses or in areas that are not protected from natural disasters, many types of hazards can increase their risk of damaged property or harm to themselves.”

“At its most basic level, poverty increases vulnerably,” says Children Incorporated’s Director of Development, Shelley Callahan.

“When families are living in old houses or in areas that are not protected from natural disasters, many types of hazards can increase their risk of damaged property or harm to themselves.”

“Additionally, when families are suffering from poverty, they might not have a lot of insurance to cover damage to their homes or property — because they often have to make hard decisions about how to spend their meager incomes. In other instances, countries don’t offer insurance at all so families that lose their homes can be completely devastated and without support other than the local community and from organizations like Children Incorporated,” explains Callahan.

“It is our goal to help families who are suffering during or after a natural disaster so they may recover more quickly — each and every day without being able to go work because you are trying to clean water damage in your home or clean up after a storm creates more problems for low-income familes. Furthermore, the expenses associated with recovery are usually enormous, and something many families can’t afford.”

“We are endlessly thankful for donations to our Hope In Action Fund which allows us to directly respond to the immediate needs of families after a natural disaster,” states Callahan.

Below, you can read more stories of how donations have helped families during emergencies in the past few years — something we could not do without you!

Hope After Haiyan

The Philippines comprise a vast island nation in Southeast Asia. This archipelago of more than 7,000 islands boasts sandy beaches, towering mountains and volcanoes, tropical rainforests, and an incredible wealth of natural resources and biodiversity. Humans have called these islands home for thousands of years, predating historic records.

Today, the Philippines incorporate a staggering number of languages, ethnic groups, religions, and cultures. Despite its status as an emerging market, however, nearly half of all Filipinos still earn less than $2 a day. Adequate sanitation and access to healthcare and potable water are still daily challenges in this widely underdeveloped country, which is also prone to typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic activity. The large port city of Tacloban, where the Visayans Community Center at Bliss is located, is no exception to these maladies.

Sending Relief After Flash Floods

Wayne County lies nestled amid the vast natural beauty of the Allegheny Mountains, which still conceal deposits of the coal that once made this a rich and populous area of the Mountaineer State. Automation of mines and the ecological stigmas attached to coal as a fuel source have seriously damaged Wayne County’s economy. With coal mining almost shut down, all businesses that once depended on mining – and the buying power of the miners — have closed. Unemployment continues to rise, and industry development remains at a crawl.

When flash floods hit West Virginia a few years ago, none of the families of our sponsored and unsponsored children could have prepared for what was going to happen.

Like many small towns in this rural part of West Virginia, Dunlow is remote, located far from any sizeable town or city. A few strip mines still produce coal, and there are some sawmills that cut lumber. Overall, however, Dunlow’s economy is struggling, with high unemployment and a lack of industry development. Many residents in this region live well below the poverty line, plagued by all the socioeconomic struggles that accompany poverty. One of our affiliated schools in the area, Dunlow Elementary School, offers a place where children can count on support, encouragement, and a nutritious warm meal not only every day, but also in cases of emergency, such as flash flooding — thanks to the help they received from our Hope In Action Fund.

As soon as we heard news of the volcanic eruption, Children Incorporated asked our amazing supporters to donate emergency relief funds that we could send directly to Sagrada Familia.

Emergency Relief After a Volcanic Eruption

 In early June, the eruption of the Volcano of Fire near Antigua, Guatemala caught residents living nearby by surprise. By the time the eruption was over, more than one million people had been affected; approximately 3,000 people had been displaced from their homes, and about 250 people were missing. The eruption caused direct damage to five villages in the area surrounding the volcano, including the town of Antigua, where our affiliated project Sagrada Familia is located. The aftermath of the eruption engulfed the neighboring towns not only in thick smoke, but also in heavy ash and hot gases. In addition, huge rocks tumbled down the volcano, blocking roads and destroying homes along their paths.

The Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), a Guatemalan government agency for disaster reduction, quickly set up fifteen shelters after the catastrophe to help displaced residents who were in need of food, cleaning supplies, hygiene items, and bedding during this time of crisis. As soon as we heard news of the volcanic eruption, Children Incorporated asked our amazing supporters to donate emergency relief funds that we could send directly to Sagrada Familia, where our volunteer coordinators were working hard to provide daily support for families who had lost their homes and were living in shelters.

***

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

 

Beyond what we are able to do through our sponsorship program for children living in poverty, we are also able to help make improvements to the affiliated sites, thanks to our sponsors and donors.

At Children Incorporated, we feel that it is just as valuable to support infrastructure projects, such as building repairs, as it is to help our children and their families — largely because without our affiliated sites, we wouldn’t have access to the children in need.

A concern that we discuss when it comes to ensuring we can provide basic needs to our children is also ensuring that our affiliate sites are able to function safely and efficiently. If any of our affiliated sites around the world are falling into disrepair, we worry they could be dangerous to use or could even face closure — meaning we would no longer have contact with the children that so desperately need our help.

Repairs done to the infrastructure at Maria Reyna will ensure that the Home is safe for children and staff.

For these reasons, our Hope In Action Fund allows us to fulfill requests from our affiliated sites as needs arise — such as those at the Maria Reyna Home in Honduras. In recent months, our volunteer coordinator at the Home submitted a request for funding to repair and repaint a wall that was crumbling outside the home, as well as for funds to purchase new kitchen utensils so that the kitchen staff could prepare meals for our sponsored children.

Now, both the Maria Reyna Home administrators and our sponsors can feel confident about not only the home being safe for the children, but about children being properly cared for for many more years to come!

About Honduras

 Nestled in northern Central America, Honduras was once home to several Mesoamerican peoples – most notably the Maya. This ecologically diverse land – with its rainforests, cloud forests, savannas, mountain ranges, and barrier reef system off the northern coast – teems with life.

Its wealth of natural resources is equally impressive, including a variety of minable minerals and agricultural exports (such as coffee, tropical fruit, sugar cane, and lumber). Moreover, its growing textiles industry serves an international market. The nation’s wealth of natural beauty and resources, however, belies the dire poverty in which its people live. In fact, Honduras holds the unfortunate distinction of being one of the poorest nations in Latin America. This is due in part to its longstanding political instability, social strife (including the world’s highest murder rate), and economic issues (fluctuating export prices, rising inflation, and unemployment).

Other contributing factors include frequent natural disasters (hurricanes, mild earthquakes, and flooding), widespread poverty, disease, and inadequate education, which results in a high rate of illiteracy. San Pedro Sula, where the Maria Reyna Home is located and Honduras’s industrial center and second-largest city, is no exception to these maladies.

At Children Incorporated, we feel that it is just as valuable to support infrastructure projects, such as building repairs, as it is to help our children and their families.

About the Maria Reyna Home

Founded in 1942 as a girls’ orphanage, the Maria Reyna Home cares for the area’s orphaned, abandoned or neglected children.

The Home serves as a safe haven, away from the slum housing, hunger, disease, crime, and pollution that are all-too-tragic realities in this region. Through education and moral support, these deserving girls receive the opportunity to rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances from which they have come.

***

How do I sponsor a child in Honduras?

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

SPONSOR A CHILD

As we always strive to do, I am pleased to share with you highlights of our work around the world over the past two years. In this report, you will find information about our programs, lists of our board members and staff, testimonials from our volunteer coordinators, and other information about the effectiveness of our work and how it truly changes the lives of children in need.

We are honored to share a glimpse of our successes with you.

It is our goal to always stay and remain in full compliance with all of the major charitable monitoring groups, as well as meet and exceed all of the requirements and expectations of our annual audit by the professional team of Young, Hyde, and Barbour’s CPAs and consultants. Additionally, as we strive to remain as transparent as possible with our donors and supporters, we also post our annual IRS Form 990 and audited financial statements on our website where they remain accessible to the public year-round.

We believe passionately in what we do, and our staff is dedicated to continual improvement and growth. We know that Children Incorporated remains a vital organization, now in its 58th year and still going strong. We are honored to share a glimpse of our successes with you.

Sincerely,

Ronald H Carter
President and CEO
Children Incorporated

READ OUR FULL ANNUAL REPORT

When children living in poverty are facing difficulties in life on a regular basis, they not only need help with basic necessities, but they also need words of encouragement, so they can realize their worth and value in the world.

Ms. Wheeler came by the school to meet with students as a local celebrity, but also to offer them words of encouragement and hope.

Recently, our volunteer coordinator, Genevieve, at Sebastian Elementary School, sent us a letter and photos after a visit from Haley Wheeler, the current Miss Kentucky. Ms. Wheeler came by the school to meet with students as a local celebrity, but also to offer them words of encouragement and hope.

A letter from Genevieve

“Ms. Wheeler came to Breathitt County, where our school is located, on one of her publicity tours just a few weeks back. She is from Powell County, but she has extensive relations here in Breathitt County, and we are all very proud of her.

Ms. Wheeler poses for a photo with sponsored child Caleb.

She is a graduate of Western Kentucky University and is currently a graduate research assistant at WKU studying communication disorders and speech pathology. She wants to become a geriatric medical speech pathologist. Miss Wheeler was crowned in June 2021 and has been very busy with pageant activities on top of her other responsibilities. She has been promoting Kentucky agriculture, alongside her personal platform, which involves battling Alzheimer’s disease. She will crown her own successor in June 2022.

We were thrilled when Miss Wheeler visited our own little school. She spoke to the students about determination and the importance of education, and they really enjoyed it. Afterwards she had time for photo ops with a handful of students before she had to leave – and two Children Incorporated sponsored children, brothers Mark and Caleb* were among them! The boys were dazzled. I have enclosed a couple of pictures that I hope you’ll enjoy.”

*Names changed to protect the children.

***

How do I sponsor a child in Kentucky?

You can sponsor a child in Kentucky in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Kentucky that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD