Tag Archives: cikids

Expanding Opportunities in the Philippines

The city of Tagaytay, where the Pinagpala Children’s Center is located, is on the island of Luzon, where many Filipino families suffer from extreme poverty. To help support the community, in 2000, members of a local church there established the Pinagpala – meaning “Blessed” – Children’s Center to provide educational assistance to local needy children and their families.

The Pinagpala Children’s Center recognizes that providing for the educational needs of impoverished children is an important step in giving them the tools they require to break the cycle of poverty.

The Pinagpala Children’s Center recognizes that providing for the educational needs of impoverished children is an important step in giving them the tools they require to break the cycle of poverty; and thanks to support from Children Incorporated, the center not only supports children with basic needs, but it also helps families through various skills training programs and educational activities.

Our Hope In Action Fund in action

Initially just a one-story structure, the Pinagpala Children’s Center received support from Children Incorporated’s Hope In Action Fund to construct a second story. As a result, the center’s programs were expanded to further support children, families, and the community beyond our sponsorship program. On a recent visit to the Philippines, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, visited the center to see the completed second floor of the building. He also spoke with our volunteer coordinator there about how the new floor is being utilized.

Currently, the new addition is being used for feeding children in mornings and afternoons; for after-school tutoring in the evenings; and during the day, for hosting a small daycare center for parents who work during the day. The center’s partnership with Children Incorporated has been instrumental in not only educating our sponsored and unsponsored children, but also in helping to progress the overall development of the community in which they live as a whole.

One program teaches parents how to recycle old materials to make rags and garments to sell.

Plenty of achievements

What Luis found on his visit greatly exceeded his expectations. As he continued to talk with our volunteer coordinator, he was informed that the administrators at the Pinagpala Children’s Center have also started income-generating programs for the parents of children enrolled in our program. One such program teaches parents how to recycle old materials to make rags and garments to sell. There is also a small organic vegetable garden at the center where parents can learn gardening skills to grow produce to sell to other families in the community, as well as an income-generating project where pigs are raised for later sale.

The center also recognizes the need for supporting the locality with a community-based rehabilitation and drug addiction program to help young addicts break their drug habits. The local police chief there has even become involved with it, teaching workshops and hosting seminars to emphasize to the community the importance of not getting involved in drugs.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN THE PHILIPPINES?

You can sponsor a child in the Philippines 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.

Books of Their Very Own

Mitchell County, nestled in the rugged western mountains of North Carolina, serves as a tourist destination for thousands who flock to the region each year to glimpse its spectacular vistas. The area’s breathtaking beauty and rich culture, however, belie a tragic truth: in this smallest and least populous county of all of North Carolina reside some of the nation’s poorest families.

We are incredibly proud that our sponsorship program not only provides weather-appropriate school clothing and supplies to kids on a regular basis, but it also promotes literacy and fosters a love of reading.

A community in need

Years ago, this region boasted a number of productive feldspar and mica mining operations. Today, those minerals no longer bring in the profits they once did; mines have closed, and many workers who earned their livelihood by mining are now jobless. With little in the county to attract industry – and inadequate highways to encourage development in the mountains – Mitchell County has few economic prospects.

Many families in this rural area live well below the federal poverty line, and the overwhelming poverty there has debilitating effects on the children of the region, negatively affecting their self-esteem, health, and overall well-being. For these reasons, Gouge Elementary School and its resource center, as well as our sponsorship program, are a great help to the surrounding community, providing students with a sound education, quality teachers, and the basic needs they would otherwise go without.

 Helping children to read

Recently, thanks to their sponsors, children enrolled in our program at Gouge Elementary School were able to participate in the Spring Book Fair, during which they chose books to take home and keep. One of our organization’s core values is education, and many of our kids had never had books of their own until they were matched with sponsors. We are incredibly proud that our sponsorship program not only provides weather-appropriate school clothing and supplies to kids on a regular basis, but it also promotes literacy and fosters a love of reading.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN NORTH CAROLINA?

You can sponsor a child in North Carolina 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.

Excited About What the World Has to Offer

One of our favorite aspects of what we do at Children Incorporated is pairing special individual sponsors with children to create lasting relationships, where each benefits from the other – the sponsor from knowing that they are helping a child in need, and the child from knowing that someone cares about them and their well-being, and is willing to support them so that they may obtain an education.

“I want to thank you for helping me with everything. It helped me get this far, and it has been a huge help to my parents that you are in my life. I hope that one day I can return the favor or pass it on.”
– Josh

We recently received a beautiful letter written by a sponsored child, Josh*, to his long-time sponsor, Mr. Edwards*, where Josh expresses his deep gratitude for the support he received over the years. Josh began in our program at Glade Creek Elementary School in western North Carolina, and then continued to our affiliated school Alleghany High School, where he was provided with consistent monthly support and regular additional gifts, thanks to Mr. Edwards. For Josh, the support that he received through our sponsorship program has made all the difference in the world.

Introducing Glade Creek Elementary School and Alleghany High School

Just south of the Virginia-North Carolina boundary, Alleghany County is nestled amid idyllic mountains, only a few miles from the only roadway to be designated a U.S. national park: the Blue Ridge Parkway. Thousands of tourists pass through Alleghany County each year to glimpse its spectacular vistas. For many there, however, it is a struggle to earn enough of an income to get by.

Josh has had a sponsor since he was young.

Today, there are a few textile mills that provide employment, and there are some small businesses and service industry jobs in which Children Incorporated kids’ parents work – but they are often only part-time jobs. The largest employers in Alleghany County are the Board of Education, the county government, a yarn mill, a nursing home, and a hospital.

Out of town, in the countryside, there are some small timber operations and a growing number of Christmas tree farms. As tourism in the area has increased, many have purchased land and built vacation cabins on it. There are some gated communities there, too – and a growing gap between the “haves” and the “have nots”.

Many whose families had farmed for generations cannot make a living anymore by working the land alone. It is not uncommon for someone to hold a minimum wage service job in town while trying to maintain a small family farm. Many commute quite a distance to work, even across state lines into Virginia. For these reasons, Glade Creek Elementary School and Alleghany High School are incredibly important to the surrounding community, providing a nurturing environment for and a well-rounded education to students.

 On the path to success

 Upon graduating, Josh wrote to Mr. Edwards:

“Dear Sponsor,

I want to say thank you for all your help. I am not sure that I would have been OK without your help. You put food on our table. My mother would pay all the bills, and then we wouldn’t have any money for food to cook. I was able to use the money to buy enough groceries for the week. That really put a smile on my mother’s face. I can never thank you enough for that.

I will be attending Appalachian State University in the fall. I want to major in pre-medical studies. I am super excited, and my family is super proud. I am the first in my family to ever attend college. I am very happy about it.

I want to thank you for helping me with everything. It helped me get this far, and it has been a huge help to my parents that you are in my life. I hope that one day I can return the favor or pass it on.

I am very excited to graduate in a few weeks. I am excited to see what the world has to offer. This is the biggest opportunity I have had in my life. I am glad to say that you played a part in this opportunity. Thank you again for all the help you have given me.

Sincerely,

Josh”

Sponsorship provides tangible assistance, and also intangible support through dreaming and planning for a better life. This hope is what Children Incorporated is all about.

*Names changed for individuals’ protection.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN NORTH CAROLINA?

You can sponsor a child in North Carolina 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.

The Impact of Generosity

When we received a very significant donation from our partner International Student Exchange (ISE) last year, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, wasted no time in working to ensure that the donated funds would make a positive impact on the lives of as many children as possible in the United States. Thanks to this important partnership with ISE and to Renee’s wonderful efforts in working with our domestic affiliated projects to support children in need, we were able to do the following:

– At the Hanaadli Community School Dormitory in New Mexico, eight laptop computers were purchased for the children there to check out and use. It is vital for youth on the remote Navajo Reservation to have access to technology and a window to our global community.

Students at the Pinon School work on their the area where grape vines will be planted.

– At the Pinon Community School in New Mexico, funds went towards labor and materials for the installation of flooring in the new outdoor reading pergola, where native canyon grape vines were planted. Students use the fruits from those vines make grape jelly. The school was also provided with supplies and materials to start up a student-run equestrian feed and supply store in collaboration with the agriculture and math teachers.

– At the St. Michaels Association for Special Education in Arizona, donations went towards labor and materials for a well that provides clean, good-tasting water for physically and mentally handicapped children. The water that comes out of all the taps there is usually either yellow, brown, or black, and it smells and tastes bad. Funds also went to hardscaping the area in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, which included materials for that work, like concrete and wire mesh; and labor costs for installing a sidewalk from the main building to the playground for wheelchair-bound students. This outdoor access has heightened their spirits and increased their activity.

– At Warfield Elementary School in Kentucky, funds from ISE went towards the purchase of hand tools for the school garden, soil for the greenhouse, and plants and seeds for both.

At the Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus in Washington, D.C., funds went to providing nutritious food for the weekend backpack feeding program there. This school has a high percentage of impoverished students, many of whom are homeless.

– At Glade Creek Elementary School in North Carolina, funds paid half a semester’s worth of tuition for most children enrolled in our program – entire tuition costs for those whose parents couldn’t afford to pay half – for an after-school program put on by the Junior Appalachian Musicians. The program is run by recognized experts, and the children who participate in it take lessons in playing a traditional instrument, like the banjo, dulcimer, guitar, or mandolin; and they take a course in an area of Appalachian cultural enrichment as well.

– At Broad Rock Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia, funds went towards purchasing LEGO base plates and LEGOS for the library for the installation of a LEGO wall. The librarian and math teachers collaborate in using the wall for lessons on coding for classification purposes, logistical and higher-level thinking, artistic expression, and cross-curricular work.

– At the Francis L. Cardozo Education Campus in Washington, D.C., funds went to providing nutritious food for the weekend backpack feeding program there. This school has a high percentage of impoverished students, many of whom are homeless.

– At Charles Hart Middle School in Washington, D.C., donations from ISE went towards providing nutritious food for the weekend backpack feeding program there, and for fresh fruits and vegetables for the school’s monthly market. Ward 8, where Charles Hart Middle School is located, is a food desert, with mostly just convenience stores nearby, which sell junk food and a small selection of boxed and canned foods; there is only one full-service grocery store in close proximity. There are barriers to transportation there as well, so many children have very limited access to fresh produce otherwise.

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 HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD WITH CHILDREN INCORPORATED?

You can sponsor a child with Children Incorporated 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 who is available for sponsorship.

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.

One of the worst storms in a hundred years

We are grateful that we were able to help Filipino families after the typhoon, thanks to our amazing donors, and we continue to be proud of what the Visayans Community Center at Bliss offers to children beyond sponsorship today.

At the Bliss housing project in Sagkahan – a community established by the Filipino government for Tacloban’s poor – only fifteen percent of residents actually own the land on which they live. Most inhabit concrete dwellings; but many others live in shacks fashioned from nipa palm shingles, bamboo, and boards. Amid this devastating poverty and its socioeconomic effects, the Visayans Community Center at Bliss supports children living in poverty.

Founded by the local group Volunteer for the Visayans, the center is dedicated to facilitating community development, providing healthcare, and promoting education. The center was especially important to children and their families in the wake of the devastation inflicted by Typhoon Haiyan – one of the worst storms to hit the area in 100 years – which struck the Philippines in November of 2013. In the aftermath, Children Incorporated was able to support families in their efforts to rebuild their homes, thanks to donations to our Hope In Action Fund, while still providing basic needs to children through our sponsorship program.

The letter below from one of our sponsored children whose family received help after the typhoon depicts just how important it was for that community to receive help during its recovery:

“Dear Children Incorporated,

I am writing to say thank you for all the things that we received from you. We encountered a big tragedy, a super typhoon named Haiyan. After the typhoon, we couldn’t do anything; we were just doing our best to get by and to help ourselves so that we could stay healthy and be strong. We are thankful for you – because Children Incorporated helped us through the Hope In Action Fund. It helped a lot for all my personal needs, like shoes, pants, and other clothes. After my personal needs were met, we bought some other things, like materials for our house – plywood, nails, and other materials that were used to fix our house. Thank you for caring enough to help us!

Sincerely yours,
Imee*”

Helping families beyond sponsorship

At the center, children receive support after school and on the weekends.

We are grateful that we were able to help Filipino families after the typhoon, thanks to our amazing donors, and we continue to be proud of what the Visayans Community Center at Bliss offers to children beyond sponsorship today. Not only do children there receive basic needs, thanks to their sponsors, but the center also provides medical check-ups and medicine through volunteer doctors, as well as local medical volunteers. The center also offers tutoring for children every Saturday – particularly for students who are identified as having difficulty with school lessons, and who therefore need extra attention. These one-on-one tutoring sessions are conducted by older sponsored and formerly-sponsored children who are in high school and college.

The center also provides swimming and guitar lessons for children, and its staff conduct school and home visits to track students’ progress, and to ensure that children and families have good relationships with teachers. Children also participate in various craft-making activities and games, as well as in neighborhood clean-ups. Administrators offer special seminars and workshops, which help to equip children for day-to-day challenges, and teach them to prepare for disasters. Parents are also encouraged to attend monthly meetings at the center to discuss the children in the program, and to receive updates and learn about concerns school staff may have.

*Name changed for child’s protection.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN THE PHILIPPINES?

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

A Quality Education for Children in Bolivia

The small landlocked nation of Bolivia comprises the rugged Andes Mountains and vast high-altitude plateaus to the west, including a portion of Lake Titicaca – the largest high-altitude lake in the world. To the east are the lush lowland plains of the Amazon Jungle. Despite its wealth of natural beauty and resources, Bolivia bears the scars of centuries of conflict, beginning with the Spanish conquistadors, and followed by almost 200 years of wars and internal military coups. Political and economic instability have brought about considerable poverty there, resulting in widespread malnutrition, crime, and disease.

Yotala, an agricultural suburb of Sucre, is no exception to these hardships. The area is prone to drought, which not only diminishes crop yield, but it also forces families to purchase water for drinking and bathing. Many people in this community are very poor; they rarely manage to grow enough food to feed their families, much less to sell at the market. The Santa Rosa School was founded to assist the children of Yotala’s subsistence farming families. The school teaches core academic subjects, and it has received recognition in Bolivia with high honors for its biology and geography classes.

Children need to attend school to succeed; but more critically, they must attend schools where they are being taught by trained professionals – which is just the case at the Santa Rosa School.

A great institution

Children need to attend school to succeed; but more critically, they must attend schools where they are being taught by trained professionals – which is just the case at the Santa Rosa School. There are sixteen professors at the school – a large number compared to many schools – which means that the children there are attending a great institution where they learn daily and are prepared for moving on to receive a higher education.

Not only is the Santa Rosa School acclaimed for its academics, but it also offers skills training in such areas as weaving, agronomy, dressmaking, carpentry, computer literacy, and hairdressing. The school encourages parental involvement. Since many parents of students there are illiterate or only speak Quechua, the school offers them educational courses, along with general courses on parenting skills and nutrition – all of which afford them the opportunity to obtain better jobs and earn a greater income, which is helpful for their entire families.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN BOLIVIA?

 

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