Tag Archives: ciontheroad

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.

***

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.

***

 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.

***

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.

***

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.

Protecting Children in Kenya from Disease

In Kenya, children need mosquito nets to protect them from mosquito-borne illnesses so that they’ll be healthy enough to attend school. Each year, we purchase thousands of nets, thanks to donations to our Mosquito Net Fund, which we distribute to our sponsored children and their families.

A mosquito net offers protection against mosquitos and the diseases they may carry. Examples of mosquito-borne illnesses include malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, Zika virus, and various forms of encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), including the West Nile virus (WNV). For the net to be effective, the mesh must be fine enough to exclude these insects without reducing visibility or airflow. It is also possible to further increase the effectiveness of a mosquito net greatly by treating it with an appropriate insecticide or mosquito repellant. Research has shown mosquito nets to be an extremely effective method of malaria prevention, having averted approximately 451 million cases of malaria between the years 2000 and 2015.

In Kenya, children need mosquito nets to protect them from mosquito-borne illnesses so that they’ll be healthy enough to attend school. Each year, we purchase thousands of nets, thanks to donations to our Mosquito Net Fund, which we distribute to our sponsored children and their families.

About mosquito-borne illnesses

– Malaria infects around 250 million people worldwide each year

-In 2015, malaria caused 438,000 deaths

– Worldwide incidents of dengue have risen 30-fold in the past 30 years – and more and more countries are reporting their first outbreaks of the disease

– The Zika virus, dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever are all transmitted to humans by mosquitos

– More than half of the world’s population lives in areas where disease-carrying mosquitos are present

– The most effective means of preventing malaria is by sleeping under a mosquito net

About Kenya

Located in the African Great Lakes region of eastern Africa, Kenya is perhaps best known for its fertile highlands and grassy savannahs, teeming with an abundance of wildlife – and, of course, for its namesake peak, the glacier-laden Mount Kenya. Its economy relies heavily on agriculture and tourism. Kenya is also a cradle of civilization, rich in cultural heritage and diversity. The nation’s wealth of natural beauty, resources, and culture, however, belie the poverty in which most of its residents live. Tragically, destitution and weak government institutions allow for frequent human rights violations. Moreover, Kenya is plagued by a severe shortage of healthcare workers, which contributes to lower life expectancies, high infant mortality rates, and widespread preventable diseases.

Introducing St. John’s Community Center

A mosquito net offers protection against mosquitos and the diseases they may carry.

These maladies are, perhaps, most pronounced in Nairobi’s poorest and most dangerous neighborhood, Pumwani. Plagued by extreme poverty, disease, and crime, this area is home to thousands of needy children in desperate need of assistance. Many of these children live in slum conditions and suffer from malnutrition, abuse, and neglect. For these reasons, St. John’s Community Center serves as a safe place for our sponsored and unsponsored children to receive an education.

The center was established in the late 1950s following a violent period known as the Mau Mau Uprising. Its mission is to provide long-term social services to the needy – regardless of age, tribal affiliation, or faith. By providing for children’s immediate needs as well as investing in their future through education, St. John’s Community Center offers children the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. Through sponsorship, we are able to support these children with basic needs, and with the additional support from our Mosquito Net Fund, we are able to provide them with mosquito nets to keep them healthy so that they can attend school.

***

HOW DO I CONTRIBUTE TO THE MOSQUITO NET FUND?

 You can contribute to our Mosquito Net Fund 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 donate to our Mosquito Net Fund.

References:

 https://www.unicef.org/supply/index_39977.html 

https://www.againstmalaria.com/WhyNets.aspx

 http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/vector_ecology/mosquito-borne-diseases/en/ 

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/outdoor/mosquito-borne/default.html

 https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/malaria/index.html

Fresh Produce for New Orleans Students

In New Orleans’ historic Tremé neighborhood, the Phyllis Wheatley Community School building was decimated during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. However, the spirit of the school and surrounding community has proven resilient. The new and improved Phyllis Wheatley Community School opened its doors to students in 2013 with a two-fold mission: first, to provide individualized support for each student’s academic and social and emotional learning; second, it strives to serve the surrounding low-income community, fostering the involvement of students’ families in school activities, as well as reaching out to their neighbors.

The Phyllis Wheatley Community School maintains an Edible Schoolyard garden, which students can help to tend, and which provides fresh produce for the school cafeteria.

One way in which the Phyllis Wheatley Community School does this is by maintaining an Edible Schoolyard garden, which students can help to tend, and which provides fresh produce for the school cafeteria. Moreover, the school makes the fruits and vegetables available for students, their families, and community members monthly to take home.

Our newest project in New Orleans

The Phyllis Wheatley Community School is our newest affiliated project in New Orleans. Children Incorporated began our affiliation with the school at the end of the 2017 school year. As a pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school, the number of children in attendance is rapidly growing, and is almost up to 900.

While visiting the school last year, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, met with our Volunteer Coordinator Max, who described the school as a “high-need school,” meaning many children in attendance are lacking basic needs such as adequate food and clothing. Max said that Children Incorporated is very helpful in that many students at his school come from low-income families in its surrounding neighborhoods. He told Renée that our sponsorship program provides uniforms, books, shoes, and other essential items to kids.

Our Volunteer Coordinator Max with a sponsored child at the Wheatley School

At the beginning of the school year, each student received a backpack full of supplies as well. Max also participates in the Lollipop Book Club, a children’s book of the month club. In addition, he is planning to use sponsorship funds to help provide Thanksgiving meals to our sponsored children’s families in the fall.

More children in need

After visiting with Max, Renée met with Amanda, the new President of Communities In Schools (CIS) of New Orleans, our affiliate and school dropout prevention organization. As they discussed the Children Incorporated sponsorship program, Amanda and Renée both agreed that there are plenty of children in New Orleans who could benefit greatly from having sponsors, and that they would really appreciate the personal involvement that comes with sponsorship.

Renée also discussed the possibility of providing Hope In Action funding for schools in New Orleans. Past assistance to our affiliated projects there went to amazing programs such as the before and after school program Champ Camp. Renée expressed that future assistance could go towards addressing food insecurity by assisting with the implementation of more school gardens. Amanda agreed that was a good idea, because, as she explained to Renée, many of the schools in the city have made health and wellness as much of a priority as academics, because children respond so well to programs such as school gardens.

***

HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN NEW ORLEANS?

You can sponsor a child in New Orleans 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.