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The Complete Guide to Sponsoring a Child

Child sponsorship is one of the most effective ways to help a child living in poverty and it also has many rewards for the sponsor. We want to offer a comprehensive guide on why sponsoring a child has such a lasting effect on impoverished children and how you can get involved in changing a child’s life.

Child sponsorship is one of the most effective ways to help end child poverty.

What is child sponsorship?

Child sponsorship involves pairing a supporting donor with a child in need. The donor (who we refer to as the sponsor) donates every month to support their sponsored children with basic needs such as food, clothing, hygiene items, and educational assistance such as tuition or school supplies. 

Does child sponsorship work? 

Child sponsorship is one of the most effective ways to help end child poverty. When you sponsor a child for $30 a month, you are not only meeting the most immediate basic needs of that child, but you are providing them with an education that will allow them to go on to higher education or obtain employment in the future.

The sponsorship relationship enables a sponsor to help support an impoverished child through monthly contributions and the exchange of correspondence with a sponsored child if the sponsor so desires. A sponsor’s friendship and encouragement are priceless to a child in such circumstances. Indeed, many children value the relationships they establish with their sponsors as much as they appreciate the financial support they receive from them. There is also an opportunity to build a relationship between a sponsor and a child that can be quite profound.

Who implements the Children Incorporated sponsorship program?

Our sponsorship program is managed by our staff in our office and our 300 volunteer coordinators at our affiliated projects in 21 countries around the world. Our volunteer coordinators work closely with our sponsored children to ensure their particular needs are met and relay those needs to our sponsors.

How long can someone sponsor a child?

Ideally, a child is sponsored throughout their school years leading up to higher education or when they leave our sponsorship program between 18-20 years old. Due to the transient state of many families and the difficult circumstances of the regions where they reside, we cannot always guarantee how long a child will remain enrolled in the Children Incorporated sponsorship program. However, we make every effort to provide services to children for as long as possible. 

What information does a sponsor receive about their sponsored child?

We will send you updated information and an updated photo about once a year, although the frequency may vary depending on the child’s location. The typical progress report includes information about the child’s grade level in school, hobbies, and interests.

In what ways does a sponsor correspond with their sponsor child?

Corresponding with your sponsored child can be a delightful experience, and we encourage letter writing between sponsors and their sponsored children. Our project volunteers will translate your letter, if necessary, and deliver it to the child you sponsor. You are welcome to write as often as you would like.

Your sponsorship can have an amazing impact on children living in poverty. Consider sponsoring with Children Incorporated today.

The children enjoy learning about the lives of their sponsors. Writing about your own family (children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, etc.…) is always a good place to start. The children also like to learn about your part of the world, what you do for a living, your hobbies and interests, and about any pets you may have.

How do you choose a child to sponsor?

It is entirely up to you! Sometimes our sponsors chose a child based on age or location, or they chose a child who has been waiting the longest for a sponsor. The decision is yours. We work in 21 countries with children from ages 5-20 years old who are enrolled in schools worldwide. We would love to work with you to match you with a sponsor child that will give you both a meaningful relationship.

What is the best child Sponsorship organization?

Children Incorporated, of course! For more than 55 years we have been providing resources to children in need in the United States and abroad because we passionately believe that every child deserves education, hope and opportunity. As a recognized reputable organization, we believe in full transparency of our financial management. This protects the trust that you place in us as stewards of your generosity.

Are you ready to make a difference in the life of a child in need? Become a sponsor with Children Incorporated today!

SPONSOR A CHILD

A New Lease on Life in Colombia

Last year, Children Incorporated Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, and Director of Development, Shelley Callahan, visited our affiliated project, the Centro de Orientacion, in Manizales, Colombia.

“It was terrifying to think that these children and their mother lived in such an unsafe place,” said Callahan.

During their trip, they met with a family of two of our sponsored children who were living in a difficult and dangerous situation — and one from which they desperately wanted to escape.

“The home was in terrible condition. The children showed us a hole in the floor where the shack flooded every time it rained. They were at risk of the entire structure being destroyed in the rain. It was terrifying to think that these children and their mother lived in such an unsafe place,” said Callahan.

“When we returned to the United States, Luis spoke with our volunteer coordinator, Pilar, at Centro de Orientacion, to find out if the home could be repaired. She came back to him with the news that it couldn’t because the family didn’t own the property and therefore couldn’t make improvements on it. We were sure at the time there was nothing that we as an organization could do help improve their home.”

“What we didn’t realize at the time, is that Pilar was determined to get this family out of [harm’s way]. She contacted the local government to find out about housing options for the family, and within a few months, they were able to move. Once they relocated, Children Incorporated was able to provide support with household items as well as funding  for some smaller necessary items so they could enjoy their new and safe home.”

About Colombia

Situated in the northwestern corner of South America, Colombia is rich in natural beauty, comprising rugged Andean mountains, lowland plains, sprawling Amazon rainforest, and coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Archeological evidence suggests that humans have called this land home for thousands of years. Its modern history begins at the end of the fifteenth century, when Christopher Columbus and the first Spanish explorers arrived in the region, subsequently establishing the area’s first successful Spanish settlement in 1508. Spanish colonization continued for over 400 years.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Colombia gained its independence and established itself as South America’s first constitutional government. However, political instability in the mid-to-late-twentieth century led to the uprising of guerilla groups which have wreaked havoc through all manner of social injustice. Tragically, their targets are most often children. Kidnappings, human trafficking, recruitment as soldiers into paramilitary groups, and forcible participation in drug-trafficking rings are all too common realities for vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Colombia.

Kidnappings, human trafficking, recruitment as soldiers into paramilitary groups, and forcible participation in drug-trafficking rings are all too common realities for vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Colombia.

About Our affiliated projects

Rondon Center
Bogotá, Colombia

The Rondon Center serves as a beacon of hope to the surrounding community in Bogotá. The center’s mission is to provide a safe environment for the children of working mothers. By looking after the children’s immediate needs while providing the foundation for a brighter future, the center helps deserving families rise above the difficult circumstances from which they come.

Centro Primavera
Medellín, Colombia

Located in the large, industrial city of Medellín, Centro Primavera fills multiple roles, serving as a daycare and an afterschool enrichment center. While children receive nutritious food, medical care, and skills training, working mothers savor the peace of mind knowing that their children are safe, well cared for, and receiving the guidance and encouragement they need to become productive citizens.

Centro de Orientación
Manizales, Colombia

Centro de Orientación offers a source of hope in the large, central-highland city of Manizales. Established by an order of nuns, the center offers a place of protection and safety for impoverished mothers and their children. The facility functions as a community center to rehabilitate mothers who have fallen victim to the ravages of poverty, while helping their children become mature, confident, and educated young adults.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN COLOMBIA?

You can sponsor a child in Colombia 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 donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in Colombia that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Overcoming Personal Challenges in D.C.

Washington D.C. boasts some of the highest rents in the country and is home to many wealthy Americans. Yet, for many families, food security and affordable housing are constant issues. In areas where our affiliated project is located, there are often more convenience stores than grocery stores with healthy food items. In terms of housing, rent in D.C. tends to be higher than the national average. A family is considered rent overburdened when they pay more than 30% of their gross income on rent, and 46% of the households that rent are overburdened in Washington. For these reasons, support from Children Incorporated, and our sponsors, is crucial to children living in poverty.

Our partner in D.C.

In Washington, D.C., Children Incorporated is affiliated with an outstanding implementing partner, Communities In Schools (CIS).

“CIS is a national organization whose focus is building relationships that empower at-risk students to stay in school and become achievers, not just academically but also in life,” explains our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“CIS is a national organization whose focus is building relationships that empower at-risk students to stay in school and become achievers, not just academically but also in life,” explains our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“The Communities In School’s mission is complementary to our mission, and our collaboration has been a natural and successful fit. The CIS site coordinators around the United States serve as Children Incorporated’s volunteer coordinators.”

“Our coordinators in D.C. often tell me about how the support is greatly needed and valued by the students and administrators, and in fact, all of our programs — sponsorship, Hope In Action, and our Higher Education Fund — are making a difference in the lives of the children and their families in our nation’s capital,” said Renée.

“Starting in the 2019-2020 School Year, Communities In Schools of our Nation’s Capital has worked with D.C. Public Schools in an initiative called ‘Connected Schools.’ This is based on an effective program in Philadelphia. The goal is to accelerate better outcomes for students who are furthest from opportunities. Ten schools were identified to become Resource Hubs in their communities to meet the students’ and families’ needs both inside and outside the classroom.”

“There is better recognition by DCPS that academic success and student well-being do not happen in a vacuum. Students who are homeless and hungry will not spend much time studying their spelling words or times tables. This is obviously what Children Incorporated is all about, too, and our partnership is truly appreciated in this new, greater effort,” said Renée.

Visiting Cardozo

As a part of their yearly visits to meet with our volunteer coordinators, Renée, along with U.S. Sponsorship Specialist Shelley Oxenham, visited the Cardozo Education Campus — one of four of our affiliated projects in Washington D.C.

Monique show Renée and Shelley her supply closet where she keeps items for our sponsored children.

“We were warmly escorted to the school by the Communities In Schools Director of Programs & Data, Sully Washington. Sully told us how much she values the partnership with Children Incorporated, which has meant so much to the students,” said Renée.

“Cardozo is located in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Ward 1. The building is an old, historic high school building. It houses a regular 6th — 12th-grade school and a parallel International Academy for the large population of English language learners.”

“This school is the most diverse of our D.C. sites. Its 746 students are 51% Hispanic/Latino, 46% black, 2% Asian, and 1% white. A very high 44% are English language learners. A sobering 100% come from economically disadvantaged households. It’s also interesting that only 37% come from within the neighborhood. The other 63% come from outside the boundary,” explained Renée.

As they continued their meeting, Renée could tell that through Sully’s description of his work, the school’s officials were committed to helping the children in any way they could. Sully explained to Renée and Shelley that in addition to the International Academy, there is also a 9th Grade Academy to aid the transition to high school, and a STEM Academy. The school offers AP classes, a night school for credit recovery, Air Force JROTC, indoor and outdoor sports, and numerous arts and cultural clubs.

Meeting our coordinators

After their meeting, Sully introduced Shelley and Renee to the Communities in Schools Team, who all work together to support our sponsored children in D.C.: Monique, Diogenes, and Fabi.

“We had a great conversation with the CIS coordinators. They shared that a lot of the kids need help with their education. Nearby Howard University has provided tutors for after-school efforts. They also told us that the mix of students’ backgrounds has sometimes collided into misunderstandings, tensions, arguments, and fights. Due to this, Cardozo’s principal instituted a unity program called “One Cardozo,” with a variety of activities and mediations to help. Our coordinators said things have gotten much better in this regard,” said Renée.

“For all of our sponsored children, homeless or not, Children Incorporated’s goal is to provide funds to help with materials and supplies that support their health, well-being, and education, so they stay in school, achieve their diplomas, and have hope for a brighter future,” said Renée.

“Monique, Dio, and Fabi shared that the students have many personal challenges that often mean their studies get put on the back burner. There is a high percentage of homeless students. They bounce from sleeping at shelters, to couch surfing at friends’ houses, to staying for a night here and there with a relative. Some have slept in cars for weeks at a time. Some are with a parent, and some, sadly, are all by themselves. It is hard for them to keep up with their clothes and meager personal possessions, which they must usually store in trash bags. They cannot leave these items behind at the shelter.”

“For all of our sponsored children, homeless or not, Children Incorporated’s goal is to provide funds to help with materials and supplies that support their health, well-being, and education, so they stay in school, achieve their diplomas, and have hope for a brighter future,” said Renée.

“Sponsorship and Hope In Action Program funds that our organization provides goes towards providing food, hygiene supplies, air mattresses and bedding, and laundry detergent. The kids are very embarrassed when their uniforms are no longer clean, and the laundry aid helps them feel neat and proud of their appearance and supports their regular attendance in school.”

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How do I sponsor a child in Washington, D.C.? 

You can sponsor a child in Washington, D.C. 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 Washington D.C. that is available for sponsorship.

Themes From Childhood

We are pleased to invite you to a very special fundraising event to be held virtually on September 12, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. EST.

Themes from Childhood: A Classic Concert for All Ages will feature Children Incorporated Board Member Theresa P. Steward along with special guests and will benefit our COVID-19 Response Fund.

JOIN THE CONCERT

We hear from Children Incorporated President and CEO, Ronald H. Carter, who discusses more about the event:

“Theresa P. Steward is a member of the Children Incorporated Board of Directors.  She is a classically trained musician; she holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Theresa also serves as pianist and organist at Grace (American) Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, which is also the church that I attend.

Grace Baptist has been a loyal supporter of Children Incorporated for more than a decade, supporting our work each December with funds raised from their mission market. They have also partnered with us on our work to support families in need in Puerto Rico.

Theresa and various other musicians have staged four previous concerts at Grace Baptist for charitable purposes. Those concerts, which were held in person, have been great successes, raising thousands of dollars in support of various missions and ministries. Themes from Childhood is the first of these concerts to be held virtually, and Theresa has designated that all profits from it will be donated to Children Incorporated in support of our COVID-19 Response Fund.

I have had the pleasure of attending all of Theresa’s concerts at Grace Baptist Church, and I have been astounded by the talent she and the other musician’s display. I have been blown away by what Theresa shares. She chooses music that is familiar, fun, and uplifting, and her performances are warm and welcoming. I encourage all fans of good music, whatever their tastes may be, to tune in and share in this event.”

Please plan on tuning in on Saturday, September 12th at what will surely be an unforgettable event!

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How to attend the event

Please visit either the following Facebook or YouTube link on Saturday, September 12th to watch live:

https://www.facebook.com/gbcrichmond

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChAd9AwM8gzX7Tc6_oT6jCw

While Waiting for a Sponsor, Children in Need are Not Forgotten

Dear Friends,

People often ask me how the Children Incorporated sponsorship program works.

I love having the opportunity to share with them, for it’s my belief that our operation is one of the best. For more than half a century, we have been addressing the most basic and immediate needs of children in the United States and in numerous other countries.

I love having the opportunity to share with them, for it’s my belief that our operation is one of the best. For more than half a century, we have been addressing the most basic and immediate needs of children in the United States and in numerous other countries, and our work has been honored with superb ratings from all of the major charitable monitoring groups as a result.

One thing that I value is that, unlike other child sponsorship programs, Children Incorporated does not pay our coordinators who work directly with our sponsored children. We work with a network of caring individuals, already employed by the schools and centers with which we are affiliated, and they include our program in their targeted efforts to improve the lives of those in their communities. This allows us to keep the portion of funds that go directly to helping children as high as possible, and for nearly 55 years, due to our system of using volunteer coordinators, we have succeeded in this effort.

Without your help, unsponsored children go without life-changing basic needs.

Additionally, our volunteer coordinators know the children and families we serve, often on a personal basis. They usually live within the same communities, and in many instances, have known or been familiar with the children included in our sponsorship program for a number of years.  Many of the communities remain small and either church- or school-centered, so our coordinators develop a keen awareness of the families’ struggles and observe these struggles on a first-hand basis. In many of our international programs, as well as at some of our Native American sites, the children attend boarding-type schools where they actually live with those who work as Children Incorporated volunteer coordinators. This personal knowledge adds a special layer of uniqueness to the type of services we provide, for rather than dolling out cookie-cutter benefits to the youngsters, Children Incorporated addresses the needs of each child individually.

When we connect with a school or child-care center, we ask the coordinators to identify a group of their most needy or most at-risk children for enrollment in our sponsorship program. The coordinators work with the children’s parents and guardians to get them added to our roster of children who become available for sponsorship, and we then begin seeking caring individuals and groups to meet the needs of the children and families. Sometimes it takes months or longer for us to find enough sponsors for each child, so we created the Shared Hope Fund so that all of the children begin receiving the assistance they need as quickly as possible. The Shared Hope Fund is now one of our most important funds because it allows us to provide for those children enrolled in our sponsorship program, though not yet linked to individual sponsors, as they wait. The dollars raised for Shared Hope make it possible for unsponsored children to receive the very same benefits as sponsored children, sometimes for months on end.

Will you please help us by supporting the Shared Hope Fund today? It truly makes a difference in the lives of children whose needs would be unmet without Children Incorporated’s assistance.

Every donation today changes the life of a child tomorrow. Please consider donating to our Shared Hope Fund.

From the heart,

Ronald H Carter
President and Chief Executive Officer

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How you can donate to 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. Donations made to our Shared Hope Fund provide immediate assistance to children awaiting sponsorship.

DONATE TODAY

Children Incorporated Fall 2020 Newsletter

We are pleased to share with you our 2020 Fall Newsletter! Thank you for support children in need around the world during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Amidst school closures across the U.S. this past spring due to COVID-19 lockdowns, our concern turned to how to best help children who are already living in vulnerable situations.

Fighting Against Hunger During the Pandemic 

Amidst school closures across the U.S. this past spring due to COVID-19 lockdowns, our concern turned to how to best help children who are already living in vulnerable situations. 

Many children in our program rely on school lunches and on our Backpack Feeding Program to ensure they are receiving adequate meals throughout the day and on the weekends. Without the support they receive at school, they risk facing hunger at home.

Children in Guatemala have been receiving food thanks to donations from our amazing donors.

Thankfully, because of our sponsors and donors, and the hard work of our volunteer coordinators in the U.S., students continued to receive food through the spring and into the summer and fall. 

Thank you for all that you do to help children in need! 

Our Response to COVID-19 in Guatemala 

We are grateful for the support that our sponsors and donors are providing to families in Guatemala — and all over the world — through donations to our COVID-19 Response Fund.

Thanks to you, our affiliated projects in Guatemala have been able to purchase food, hygiene items, and other necessities for children and their families during the pandemic. This help is crucial for Guatemalans at this time, as our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, explains: 

“Almost half of the population in Guatemala are low-income earners, and the percentage of people receiving aid is minimal. No one having an income above the minimum wage of about US $220 a month has received any government support.”

We are grateful for your vital support during the COVID-19 crisis — we couldn’t provide life-changing support to children in need without your help. 

Alleviated Suffering in Bolivia During a Difficult Time

We heard from our volunteer coordinator at our affiliated project, Cristo de Rey in Bolivia, about the support our donors are providing to children and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak:

Protective and hygiene items have been just some of the supplies children have received during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Good afternoon! I want to inform you that the Children Incorporated program is supporting children with the distribution of food and hygiene items. 

The situation of the pandemic in Bolivia is very complicated. Families suffer a lot because they are people with very low resources. They generally live on what they earned from what little they sell. Now it is forbidden to go out to sell and they have nothing to subsist on. As you can imagine, the families are very grateful for the help and support they received. Thank you for your help!”

Children Incorporated Happenings

*The Children Incorporated family mourns the loss of George Saunders, a long-time employee who passed away on June 6, 2020. Mr. Saunders served as our accountant and bookkeeper for a period of 27 years, prior to his retirement in 2009. He maintained close contact with Children Incorporated in the years that followed, often attending employee functions, as well as sponsoring children. He will be greatly missed.

*Our Board of Directors welcomed three new members in May. Mr. Wayne Huggins, Ms. Salley Mountcastle, and Dr. Theresa Steward will now work alongside our seven existing members in supporting the work of our organization as we strive to improve the lives of children and families, both in the U.S. and abroad. 

*Children Incorporated has once again been awarded 4 Out of 4 Stars by Charity Navigator. This is the fifth consecutive time that our organization has received this honor. 

Children Incorporated has once again been awarded 4 Out of 4 Stars by Charity Navigator. This is the fifth consecutive time that our organization has received this honor.

*We would like to send congratulations to our long-time sponsor, Rosanne Cash, who has been selected to receive the prestigious 61st Annual Edward McDowell Medal. The award, which has previously gone to such luminaries as Aaron Copeland, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Berstein, and Georgia O-Keefe, honors artists who have made outstanding contributions to American culture, as Rosanne surely has through her music and compositions. We thank Rosanne for sponsoring children and changing lives through her support of our organization, now for thirty years and counting.

*Children Incorporated continues to work towards expanding our sponsorship program to include projects in Puerto Rico, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, plans have been postponed. We remain committed to getting the program off the ground as soon as possible and continuing our work on the island, which has been hard hit by natural disasters. If you would like to be added to our waiting list of those who wish to sponsor a Puerto Rican child, please contact us today. We will share further details about our work in Puerto Rico as it becomes available.

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