Tag Archives: children

The Value of Respect and Encouragement

There are many reasons that children—no matter their background—deserve respect and encouragement as they grow.

But when it comes to kids from impoverished households or children who are orphaned, it is especially important to show them respect and encouragement. For these children—like the ones who live at the So Jun Children’s Home in South Korea—having adults motivate them and treat them with dignity helps their self-esteem and provides them the drive they need to achieve their goals.

According to our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, sponsorship support also helps sponsored kids to feel respected and encouraged.

So Jun Children’s Home

Located in the South Korean province of Jeollanam, the So Jun Children’s Home cares for children from ages 5 to 19 years old. The facility itself is made up of a complex of brick buildings—35 classrooms in total—with a kitchen, dining room and auditorium. The grounds include a playground and a large garden.

During the school year, children attend local public schools. After school, they participate in a variety of daily, assigned chores. They help raise ducks, chickens, doves and geese on the property. For recreation, the children play popular sports such as volleyball, soccer and baseball.

At the So Jun Children’s Home children are shown respect and are encouraged to be confident.

Thanks to their Children Incorporated sponsors, children in our program receive basic needs throughout the year. According to our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, sponsorship support also helps sponsored kids to feel respected and encouraged.

“When—thanks to their sponsors—they receive food, clothing and school supplies the children know that someone cares about them and they feel better about themselves,” said Luis.

“Along with the encouragement and respect the administrators show them while living at the home, the children at the So Jun Children’s Home are well taken care of.”

Helping kids develop

Why are respect and encouragement so crucial for children in need? Because respect helps build a feeling of trust, safety and well-being—feelings kids might not otherwise have in their home environment or have ever had in their lives.

When children are shown respect, they learn how to treat others with respect. Kids who are encouraged to be confident in their abilities will find that their efforts can result in achievement—and that is a valuable step in helping them break the cycle of poverty.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

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

How Poverty Impacts Academic Achievement

In our work at Children Incorporated, we often talk about the importance of getting an education. For children in our program, we believe education is the key to finding jobs upon graduation that will enable them to work toward breaking the cycle of poverty from which they come.

Unfortunately, statistics show that children growing up in impoverished households often perform less well academically than their peers.

The challenges of living below the poverty line

Jackie is pictured here with one of our sponsored children at Beaver Creek Elementary School.

As reported by the non-profit Operation Warm’s website, “Children living above the poverty line are entering kindergarten more prepared than those below it. High-income families are able to put more money towards their children’s cognitive development than those living in poverty.”

“Parents with low incomes, on average, have less time to read to their children, no-funds for pre-school, and less stable home environments. The difference in preparation tends to persist through elementary and high school.”

Beavers Are Achievers

According to our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, this achievement gap is prevalent in some of our affiliated schools in Eastern Kentucky, and specifically at Beaver Creek Elementary School in Knott County. Located in the small community of Topmost, families of children enrolled at Beaver Creek Elementary face rampant poverty. They struggle to overcome the common socioeconomic problems that plague Knott County such as adult illiteracy, school absenteeism, child obesity and substance abuse.

“There is no question that poverty can impact academic achievement in ways ranging from lack of books in the home to transportation barriers that make it difficult to travel to cultural and historic sites,” stated Renée. 

While visiting Beaver Creek Elementary School, Renée met with our volunteer coordinator Jackie, who Renée describes as incredibly devoted to helping her students.

During their meeting, Jackie explained that although the school motto is “Beavers Are Achievers!” the children are struggling academically as they aim to reach their goals. The school’s test scores lag behind state averages, reaching only the 51st percentile in reading and just the 38th percentile in math in state ranking.

“There is no question that poverty can impact academic achievement in ways ranging from lack of books in the home to transportation barriers that make it difficult to travel to cultural and historic sites,” stated Renée. 

Making kids feel loved

Often times while visiting our affiliated projects, Renée visits with parents of children enrolled in our program.

Jackie told Renée that one of the biggest challenges in the community — and the county as a whole — is coping with drug addiction and the lack of treatment options for it. The fallout affects many children, resulting in those who are raised by grandparents or other family members, or those who still live at home with their parents, but are being neglected and raise themselves.

Jackie feels fortunate that a local church brings food to the school’s Resource Center for her weekend Backpack Feeding Program. She says that the Children Incorporated sponsorship program is vital in helping with clothing, shoes and school supplies throughout the year. Jackie also values how sponsors make her students feel special and let them know that someone
cares for them.

Meeting two special parents

After taking a tour of the building and grounds, Jackie was happy to show Renée the Family Resource Center where she had asked two of her parents, Raven and Scottie, to thank our organization on behalf of all the parents of sponsored children.

While meeting with Raven and Scottie, Renée could tell they were both very dedicated to their children.

“Raven is a homemaker. Scottie was unemployed for a long time but has recently gotten a job at a small, local non-profit community center. The pay is meager. They told me that our sponsorship program has meant so much to their little girls, and that it warms their hearts to see the excitement their sponsors bring to their children,” said Renée.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN KENTUCKY?

You can sponsor a child in Kentucky 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.

A Decline in Enrollment

Emmalena Elementary School is located on State Highway 550 in the western part of Knott County, Kentucky just west of the community of Clear Creek.

“The community of Clear Creek was the site of a 1970s women’s occupation and protest against strip and surface mining, especially the practice that allowed coal operators to tear up private land to reach underground minerals,” explains Renée Kube, Children Incorporated’s Director of U.S. Programs.

Renée is pictured with one of our sponsored children at Emmalena Elementary School.

“Some small, independent operators had opened mines, made quick profits, and then left, leaving the community to cope with damaged land and polluted water.”

“Today the community feels loyalty to the operators who ran good mines but still mourns the loss of good jobs while hoping and looking ahead to the future,” said Renée.

Leaving home to find work

On a trip to Knott County to visit our affiliated project Emmalena Elementary School, Renée met with our volunteer coordinator at the school, Pam.

Pam told Renée that because of the mine closures, parents were forced to leave Clear Creek to find work outside of town. As a result, the school had shown a significant decline in enrollment in recent years.

Of those parents who were able to stay in Clear Creek, some found jobs in the county seat or by commuting to Hazard for work daily. Others are self-employed at a variety of work from fixing cars to cutting wood.

Unfortunately, many of these jobs are low-paying, and the community has a high poverty rate — 89% of students receive free or reduced lunch through the National School Lunch Program.

Pam feels fortunate to have other additional resources to help her find inexpensive items for the many children at her school that are living in poverty.

Shopping for kids in need

Emmalena Elementary School educates 196 children from kindergarten to eighth grade. During their meeting, Pam told Renée that she likes to take advantage of Back-to-School sales in July at stores in nearby Hazard so that she can maximize the number of clothes, shoes, book bags and school supplies she can purchase with funds provided by our sponsors.

Pam makes another big shopping trip in December for winter clothing, including warm outfits, coats and snow boots for sponsored children who would otherwise go without these important items in the cold winter months.

Pam feels fortunate to have other additional resources to help her find inexpensive items for the many children at her school that are living in poverty. One such resource is the Christian Appalachian Project, a warehouse of free overstock, discontinued or imperfect merchandise offered at a low cost. She also works collaboratively with the county extension service and health department.

Gratitude for our sponsors

During her visit, Pam arranged for Renée to meet a mom of two children in our program, Lydia.*  Lydia is a teacher’s aide at Emmalena Elementary School. Her husband is disabled, and they are both hard-pressed to provide for their kids.

“Lydia expressed to me how grateful she was for the help she receives from her children’s sponsors. It makes a massive difference for the whole family,” said Renée.

Renée  also meet a special boy named Michael.* Michael was enrolled in our program last May and is still unsponsored. He is in first grade and likes science.

Michael, his sister and his brother are being raised by their grandmother, who is a homemaker. She is raising them on a limited amount of public assistance that includes kinship care, which gives aid to people who are raising related children, keeping them out of the foster care system.

“Michael’s siblings are currently sponsored through our program. Michael is hoping that he will also have the opportunity to have a sponsor soon because he realizes how much it helps his grandmother and his whole family,” said Renée.

*Names changed to protect the individuals.

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How do I sponsor a child in Kentucky?

You can sponsor a child in Kentucky 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.

Conserving Energy in South Korea

It is more often than not that our affiliated projects, especially outside of the United States, are not housed in modern, state-of-the-art structures.

We at Children Incorporated many times see dormitories that are run down, kitchens that are outdated and schools that are in need of fresh paint. This is not the case at the Dong San Children’s Home and the Jin Woo Children’s Home in and near Busan, South Korea, however.

When funds are scarce and money is stretched thin, our volunteer coordinators must focus on making sure our sponsored and unsponsored children are receiving everything they need to succeed, not leaving much for updating infrastructure or repairing buildings.

Because of this, we at Children Incorporated many times see dormitories that are run down, kitchens that are outdated and schools that are in need of fresh paint.

Modern buildings in Korea

This is not the case at the Dong San Children’s Home and the Jin Woo Children’s Home in and near Busan, South Korea, however.

According to our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, both homes have received government support to modernize their buildings.  This includes making them energy efficient — meaning in the long run, the administration is saving money that can then be used to better support the orphaned and underprivileged children in attendance.

The Dong San Children’s Home

Children Incorporated supports twenty of the 46 children living at the Dong San Children’s Home located in South Korea’s second largest city of Busan.

“The Dong San Children’s Home was one of the first to introduce solar panels to the home in Korea,” said Luis.

“In recent years, they have remodeled some of the buildings to conserve energy. This saves money on their electric bill and utilities in general.”

Children in our sponsorship program in South Korea are provided with fruits and other nutritious foods throughout the day.

Upon visiting the home, Luis found that it also had heated floors, new dormitories and an updated nursery. On the grounds of the compound, large green spaces, trees and beautiful landscapes had been created for the children to enjoy, as well as a memorial dedicated to the founder of the home and a little chapel where children can pray.

Motivating kids to strive

Not only is the Dong San Children’s Home concerned about the children’s comfort, they also understand the importance of motivating students to strive to do well in school.

“There is a big emphasis on tutoring in the home because our coordinator has noticed that many children who are coming from difficult circumstances need additional motivation to increase their self-esteem,” explained Luis.

Support from Children Incorporated sponsors is mostly used for tutoring and educational support and to provide clothes and shoes for the children. According to Luis, the government continues to support the home with food and maintenance expenses, making it one of the better-maintained homes he has seen in South Korea.

“Both the Dong San Won Home and the Jin Wood Home are wonderful examples of how support from sponsors combined with a great living and learning environment, means children have the opportunity to overcome the barriers that poverty creates.”

 

-Luis Bourdet

The Jin Woo Children’s Home

About an hour outside of Busan, the Jin Woo Children’s Home was relocated from its original building in the city to a brand new and extremely energy-efficient home away from the busy downtown area.

“The home is in great shape. The new buildings now have offices, dormitories and a daycare center,” stated Luis.

“This is probably the most efficient home I have visited in South Korea. They have considered insulation and other efficiencies in the building process. The children are very well-cared for here in this modern setting.”

Of the 23 children at the home, our sponsors support fifteen of them. Children receive food, educational support and clothes and are provided with fruits and other nutritious foods throughout the day.

“Both the Dong San Children’s Home and the Jin Woo Children’s Home are wonderful examples of how support from sponsors combined with a great living and learning environment, means children have the opportunity to overcome the barriers that poverty creates,” says Luis.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

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

Taking Care of the Youth of Today

Making sure young people have positive influences around them is crucial to their development.

This is especially true for children coming from difficult circumstances like the orphans and children from impoverished backgrounds living at the Kang Nam Children’s Home in South Korea.

After a visit to the home, our International Director of Programs Luis Bourdet reported that the sixty children living at this Children Incorporated affiliated project meet with local university students every week. The college students not only help the kids with their homework but also serve as role models and mentors.

Apart from having more than twenty-six staff members, the local university volunteers spend their free time at the home tutoring and participating in sports activities with the children.

These interactions with caring adults outside of their supervisors and teachers help the children learn valuable life skills and teach them behavior that will prepare them for the outside world once they are grown up.

Kang Nam Children’s Home

Located on the south side of Seoul, the Kang Nam Children’s Home provides orphaned and underprivileged children in this region of South Korea with a safe, nurturing environment, nutritious food and medical care.

Children are often placed in the home after having been through the country’s welfare system. Many of them are coming from broken homes or have only lived in an orphanage, having no living parent. Because of this, many of the children we support have already had very challenging lives considering their young ages.

Thankfully, the administrators of the Kang Nam Children’s Home, with help from our sponsors, make sure the children receive food, clothes, housing and an education.

College students help kids at the Kang Nam Children’s Home with their homework and serve as role models and mentors.

“On top of support from sponsorship funds, the local government provides money to cover staff salaries and building maintenance. The Korean Welfare Foundation also supports the home for any incidental expenses,” says Luis.

The home also has some corporate sponsors and individual local sponsors. Because of all this, Luis reports that the physical buildings in the home are in great shape, and the children are well cared for by many different individuals and groups.

“To further support the children’s psychological development and give them a sense of family life, the facilities have been divided into ‘houses’ where six to nine kids share the house along with a housemother, who is always a university-educated social welfare worker,” continued Luis.

Volunteer to give back to kids

Apart from having more than twenty-six staff members, the local university volunteers spend their free time at the home tutoring and participating in sports activities with the children, helping with psychological evaluations or leading field trips to local parks.

Combined with the knowledge that they have a caring sponsor, the university students and the fantastic staff of the Kang Nam Children’s Home ensure that our sponsored and unsponsored children are surrounded by dozens of encouraging adults who are helping the youth of today grow up to be influencers of tomorrow.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

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

Time to Depart

After spending nearly a month visiting all seventeen of our affiliated projects in South Korea, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, visited the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home and the Yong Jin Children’s Home as his last stops before returning to the United States.

As he prepared to return home, Luis thought about how genuinely essential the support of the Children Incorporated sponsorship program has been for young people in South Korea.

The Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home

 Located in Okcheon, the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home serves 34 underprivileged and orphaned children. The home itself is made up of three spacious buildings. Our sponsorship program provides support for 13 children at the home. The local government pays for the salaries of the 18 staff members.

Differing from many of the other homes we partner with in South Korea, the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home focuses on helping children who have physical or mental health conditions. The dedicated staff of the home is professionally educated and trained to provide the children with the special care they need.

“The children at the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home require much more attention than children at the other homes we support,” explained Luis.

“I was pleased to see the staff is well-equipped to provide special care for the children.”

The Yong Jin Children’s Home

Located in the city of Gwangju, the Yong Jin Children’s Home serves children ages five to nineteen years old.

Luis was pleased with all of our projects in South Korea in how well they were supporting children in our program.

Situated on the slope of a mountain overlooking rice paddies below, the cluster of brick and stucco buildings that make up the home houses dormitories, an auditorium, a dining room, kitchen and offices. The grounds include a vegetable garden and apple orchard.

According to Luis, the home also has a small museum in which bones and artifacts are on display for the children to see at any time.

“The Director of the Yong Jin Children’s Home is the son of the founder of the home, Mr. Min. Mr. Min had a love for archeology, so he started collecting dinosaur bones and other fossils from various countries around the world,” said Luis.

“Soon after his son graduated as a social welfare worker, Mr. Min sent him to archeology school, and between them they have a great collection of bones and fossils. Local school children often visit the home for educational tours.”

“This is a very well run home. The children get to enjoy a lot of field trips outdoors, camping and searching for fossils and bones,” explained Luis.

Thanks to our amazing sponsors, hundreds of children are being cared for and looked after every day while also receiving much-needed support as they grow up.

Getting to meet our sponsored kids

During his final two visits, Luis was pleased to get to meet with the children at both homes after their school days were over.

“It was great to interact with them. The children were truly approachable and not shy at all. They even tried to practice their English with me since I do not speak Korean!” exclaimed Luis. “It was fun to communicate with them.”

As he prepared to return home, Luis thought about how genuinely essential the support of the Children Incorporated sponsorship program has been for young people in South Korea. Thanks to our amazing sponsors, hundreds of children are being cared for and looked after every day while also receiving much-needed support as they grow up.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

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