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Helping Children from a Hidden Community

Kenya is a country with a large population — estimated at 53.783 million — in which overcrowding of major cities has become a huge issue. Due to a lack of job opportunities in more rural areas of the country, Kenyans are migrating into cities where they hope for employment — but instead, find a lack of adequate housing and essential services like education and healthcare.

For decades, Children Incorporated has offered support to children and their families in both rural and urban areas of Kenya in an effort to fill gaps where the government is not providing for its citizens.

For decades, Children Incorporated has offered support to children and their families in both rural and urban areas of Kenya in an effort to fill gaps where the government is not providing for its citizens.

“All of the five Children Incorporated affiliated projects in Kenya have an educational component to support the children, either as a day school or as a children’s home/school, and all have a school in the premises, directly providing the so much needed knowledge to survive,” explains our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet.

“The families of the majority of our children live under these difficult circumstances; they live in shacks with little or no water, sanitation, electricity. They need all the help they can get — hardly any of these needs are provided from the local government, mostly due to lack of tax revenue or because of misuse of funds due to government corruption.”

“Kenya suffers from the affection of several tropical diseases, like malaria, dengue, that are preventable, but the lack of medical care in the country makes these illnesses more problematic for families. The lack of sanitation also creates heavy contamination, resulting in intestinal illness, as well as other affections for this population,” said Luis.

Families with little or nothing at all

“One of our affiliated projects in Kenya, The Msamaria Mwema Centre,  is located in a more affluent area of Nairobi, yet the Centre serves impoverished children that are “hidden” from the community,” said Luis.

Administrators at the Msamaria Mwema Centre work hard to offer many services to students and their families.

“The parents of our sponsored children are employed in meager paying jobs by wealthier citizens that live in nearby neighborhoods. They work as house cleaners, drivers, and yard workers. They make very little money and are absent from their homes for long periods of time, and their children often do not receive the care they need.”

“The only housing available to these low-wage workers is hidden off the main roads and shacks. Thankfully, the Msamaria Mwema Centre has a small boarding home so children can live full-time at the Centre and attend school. The school on the premise offers kindergarten, primary and middle school education,” said Luis.

Help from administrators and sponsors

“The school is currently being run by a non-profit organization specializing in education, providing a better environment and educational programs to the children.  In the past few years, the administrators have seen a lot of progress in the children. Their grades and test scores are up, and they really feel that considering the circumstances, the children are receiving the best education possible,”

“Additionally, our sponsorship program provides the children with mosquito nets every year to protect them against mosquito-borne illnesses, pays for their uniforms and books, and ensures the children are receiving shoes, school supplies, and meals every day.”

“Lastly, because of the cost of running the Centre, administrators have instilled a few income-generating activities such as a water purification plant that produces bottled water for sale and potable water for the children to drink. They also have their cows so they can provide milk for the children.”

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How do I sponsor a child in Kenya?

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

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Connecting Kids with Resources They Need

Parents who are raising kids while living in poverty often don’t have much time to participate in their children’s lives like other parents might. Instead of driving them to piano practice or to the soccer field, parents who struggle to make ends meet are working long hours or multiple jobs — or trying to find resources in their free time to provide food and clothing for their families.

“One-hundred-percent of students at our affiliated project, Lucy Ellen Moten Elementary School in Washington, D.C., come from economically disadvantaged homes,” explains our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“One-hundred-percent of students at our affiliated project, Lucy Ellen Moten Elementary School in Washington, D.C., come from economically disadvantaged homes,” explains our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“It is nearly impossible for parents to get involved in school activities for their kids, but thankfully, the school focuses on not only academic development but arts-integrated instruction and social and emotional development as well.”

Introducing Connected Schools

Our volunteer coordinator, Jamarl, works hard to ensure the needs of our sponsored children our met. 

Located in the Fort Stanton neighborhood of Ward 8, Moten Elementary School serves 323 students from PK3 and PK4 (pre-kindergarten for three-and-four-year-olds) through fifth grade. The children benefit from having a Literacy Lab, a Young Playwrights program, art, music, choir, and a mentorship with the Washington Ballet. Despite all these excellent programs, more help and support are needed for kids because they struggle to meet D.C. standardized tests’ guidelines. Just 38% meet math benchmarks, and only 50% meet English benchmarks.

“This is one of the reasons D.C. Public Schools chose Moten Elementary School as one of the 10 D.C. Connected Schools,” said Renée.

“According to the District of Colombia Public Schools website, Connected Schools works to ‘accelerate outcomes for our students [in] 10 schools across the city [that] will become resource hubs in their community to meet our students’ and families’ needs in and out of the classroom. Connected Schools take a whole child, whole school, whole community approach by making schools spaces that support not only a student’s academic development, but a family’s overall wellbeing through access to resources related to health, employment, housing, and more. This model builds on the full-service community school model and is grounded in national research and educational best practices.’”

 “Our Volunteer Coordinator, Jamarl, at Moten, also works as a Connected Schools Manager. The program is geared towards getting more kids into case management, and they are working hard on parent and community engagement and involvement as well,” explained Renée.

Meeting with Jamarl

“I met with Jamarl over a FaceTime appointment. We had a great virtual meeting. I asked him about his students’ ongoing needs. He explained that uniforms are optional in D.C., although virtually all the schools have chosen to use them. However, Moten’s new principal has eliminated the requirement, and so what Jamarl could previously order in bulk, simply by gender and size, is an entirely different matter now. He said the kids are wearing the same few outfits day after day, to school and at home, and on weekends. They are getting a greater amount of wear and tear. He could always use extra funds for clothes. He would especially like to have spare socks and underwear for those PreK and kindergarten accidents. He could also use extra funds for school supplies.”

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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.

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No Place for Homeless Kids in D.C.

It’s difficult to comprehend that children can continue to go to school when they don’t have a home — but for some students at John Hayden Johnson Middle School in Washington, D.C., they don’t have an option.

We hear from Children Incorporated Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, about how homeless children in our nation’s capital manage to stay in school and how administrators at Johnson Middle are supporting them.

We hear from Children Incorporated Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, about how homeless children in our nation’s capital manage to stay in school and how administrators at Johnson Middle are supporting them.

A newer affiliation

“Johnson Middle is one of our newer affiliated projects in Washington, D.C,” explained Renée.

“The school is located in the Douglass neighborhood of Ward 8. It is adjacent to the old, historic St. Elizabeth’s Psychiatric Hospital, which opened in 1855 as the first federally operated psychiatric hospital in the United States. The back of the school grounds borders the hospital’s east and west cemeteries.”

“The school serves 275 children in grades sixth through eighth. The make-up of the student body is 97% black and 3% Hispanic/Latino. Sixty-two percent of students come from within the district’s boundary — and every student at the school is considered economically disadvantaged,” said Renée.

Meeting Jason

“Our Volunteer Coordinator at the school is Jason. It has taken him a while to build rapport and trust with his parents, but he is obviously a very caring person and wants to make a difference.”

John Hayden Johnson Middle School supports kids who are struggling as homeless teens.

While visiting with him, Jason told me that the school has a large percentage of homeless families, mostly single mothers, and their children. The shelters in Washington, D.C. will often get too full and overcrowded, and most are not safe places for children as they offer little protection,” said Renée.

“Jason continued to explain that Washington D.C. City Council has established a program for homeless women and children where the family is put into a motel room, and the city pays the motel rates. The children ride the city buses free to their schools so that they can continue to go instead of dropping out due to a lack of transportation. He said almost all of the kids he has put on our program are homeless.”

A need for enrichment for kids

“Before we concluded our meeting, I asked Jason how Children Incorporated could further help him in his efforts to support homeless children at his school,” said Renée.

“Jason said his biggest needs as a coordinator are food, especially nutritious snacks, hygiene kits, and good old fashioned “play clothes,” which will keep the students’ uniforms in better shape for a more extended period of time. He told me that many kids are wearing their uniforms when they get home in the evenings and on the weekends because that’s all they have.”

“Finally, Jason informed me that he wished for a way to provide enrichment outside of the neighborhood for kids. Ward 8 is lacking in anything cultural for the children to enjoy after school,” said Renée.

“Jason dreams of taking his students into Ward 2, which can be seen from the hills near the school grounds. Ward 2 has the National Mall, the White House, the monuments, and the museums.  It’s what tourists experience, but not what his students have ever seen in person. He feels that it is incredibly important for kids living in D.C. to get to experience all that the city has to offer by taking them on field trips that will show them a world that exists outside of their impoverished neighborhood.”

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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.

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Taking Care of Her Own

We are fortunate that we often get news from our volunteer coordinators that really brightens our days.

Today, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, shares a  sweet story about two brothers who were recently enrolled in our sponsorship program and are waiting for sponsors.

Today, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, shares a  sweet story from our volunteer coordinator, Genevieve, about two brothers, Brandon and Alex*, who were recently enrolled in our sponsorship program and are waiting for sponsors.

A story about Brandon and Alex

“Genevieve called the other day and wanted to tell me about the boys’ stepmom, Patricia,” said Renée.

“Brandon is in second grade and Alex is in first. These brothers are hard of hearing, and neither speaks. They have a special teacher for the hearing impaired, and they can sign. Their mother abandoned the family when the boys were very young, and their single father was struggling to raise them. In order to care for his children, the boys’ father hired a babysitter to care for his sons so he could work, a young woman who he knew through extended family.”

The family’s home in Kentucky

“It’s not too surprising that after talking daily about the boys’ well-being and progress, their father and the babysitter grew close, and eventually they fell in love and got married. Now they have a little one of their own!” exclaimed Renée.

“I was so happy to hear this amazing story, but Genevieve saves the best for last. Before we ended our call, she told me that the boys’ stepmother, Patricia, is actually a former sponsored child from the Children Incorporated program!”

“Although they now have two loving and responsible parents, their family continues to struggle. The father lost his restaurant job after it cut staff due to the pandemic. So, they are really struggling now, and getting sponsors for the boys, Brandon and Alex, will be a big and appreciated help.”

“We love heartwarming stories such as this and would love to get these boys sponsored as soon as possible. We love that our program often comes around full circle for families and communities and especially in difficult times such as these, we are so pleased to be able to share special stories such as this one,” said Renée.

Please contact us directly today if you would like to sponsor Brandon or Alex today!

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

SPONSOR A CHILD

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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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 sponsored 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