Tag Archives: coal mine

Offering Much-Needed Consistency for Kids

* Note: This blog was written prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although much has changed regarding our sponsored children’s learning experience in the past months, our On the Road stories remain relevant in regards to our volunteer coordinator’s work and the impact of sponsorship on children in our program thanks to our sponsors. We are pleased to continue to share stories with you about our work.

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Martha Jane Potter Elementary School is located in Kona, Kentucky and has been a Children Incorporated affiliated project since 2005 — our first partnership in Letcher County.

“Our volunteer coordinator at Martha Jane Potter is Teresa, who has been our coordinator since we began working together over 15 years ago,” explained our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

Teresa is a hardworking coordinator who greatly appreciates our sponsorship program.

“Through the years, Teresa has developed long and stable relationships with the families in her community, and they trust her a great deal.”

A program that can provide

According to Renée, Teresa works hard to connect with partners to bring resources to students in need at her school. And although she does have luck finding small businesses, individuals, and churches to help in her efforts, one of her biggest issues is that often the support is temporary or is a one-time gift.

Several years ago, Teresa was contacted by a mega-church in Georgia. They provided her with 500 backpacks, which she shared with the other coordinators at our affiliated schools in Letcher County — yet they ran out before they were able to provide for all the children in need, which disappointed Teresa and the children.

“When I met with Teresa at Martha Jane Potter, she told me that the Children Incorporated program is her favorite program because it provides consistent monthly support so that she can budget and plan,” said Renée.

“I mentioned to Teresa that applying for funding from our Back to School Fund might interest her so she could buy more backpacks and give one to every child that needed one for the upcoming school year. That way, she won’t have to worry about some kids not getting school supplies.”

“When Natalie receives cards from her sponsor, she gets very excited. Her sponsors provide financial assistance and emotional support for Natalie, and she loves having them in her life,” exclaimed Renée.

The value of great partners

Even though some of her partners aren’t able to provide the same consistent support that Children Incorporated can, Teresa doesn’t value their help any less. She expressed to Renée how especially proud she was of a particular partnership with an organization that brings dental care to underserved neighborhoods in Kona.

The dentists also come to school via a mobile van to do exams, x-rays, fillings, and simple extractions.

After their meeting, Teresa introduced Renée to one of our sponsored children, Natalie.* Natalie is sponsored by a couple who has been part of our organization since 1970. She has two brothers, and they are all being raised by their grandparents. Natalie’s grandmother is retired, and her grandfather has cancer and is unable to work.

“When Natalie receives cards from her sponsor, she gets very excited. Her sponsors provide financial assistance and emotional support for Natalie, and she loves having them in her life,” exclaimed Renée.

*Name changed to protect the child.

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How do I sponsor a child in Kentucky?

You can sponsor a child in Kentucky in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Our Spring 2021 Newsletter

We are happy to share with you our Spring 2021 Newsletter, highlighting our work around the world thanks to our sponsors and donors and their generosity and dedication in helping children in need. Enjoy!

Tablets Are Bringing Education to Children Around the World

Many children in our sponsorship program are experiencing exceptional difficulties during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, as schools have had to shift to virtual learning. These adjustments have been hard on parents, teachers and children — especially for those students who don’t have the technology they need at home to keep up with their course work.

We are happy to share with you our Spring 2021 Newsletter, highlighting our work around the world thanks to our sponsors and donors and their generosity and dedication in helping children in need. Enjoy!

Thankfully, because of our amazing donors, Children Incorporated has been able to provide tablets to children in our program in Latin America, India, and in the United States over the last few months so that children can continue learning until schools are back to in-person learning in the near future. These tablets will allow students to keep up with their studies and do not have to be returned when classes resume so children can keep learning at home after the pandemic as well!

Bringing Joy to Children During the Holiday Season

Our sponsors and donors are often the only reason children in our program receive holiday gifts, and for that, we are incredibly grateful — especially after an exceptionally difficult year for so many families.

On behalf of all our volunteer coordinators around the world, we would like to share a message from Sandy at Beaver Creek Elementary in Kentucky to express our gratitude for the holiday gifts you provided:

“Thank you for all the support you give our children. You are our backbone. We couldn’t survive without Children Incorporated. Merry Christmas to all Children Incorporated staff and sponsors!”

Our Warm Clothing Fund Brings Smiles to Children in Need

Brain poses for the camera with this new clothes.

Every year, your donations to our Warm Clothing Fund do more than just keep children properly clothed — it also brings immense joy to children who otherwise might never get new winter clothes.

Our volunteer coordinator, Monica, at Gouge Elementary School in North Carolina wrote to us about Brian*, after she provided him with warm clothes, thanks to his sponsor: 

“I showed Brian the new clothes I bought him, and he is loving it. He said, ‘I just love clothes!’ And I took the picture in that moment. The mask is hiding his laughter. We both got tickled because he got so much clothes, he couldn’t hold all of it.  The socks are in his book bag.

This was definitely the highlight of my week. Thanks to Children Incorporated sponsors for all you do, and for letting me be a part of this!”

*Name changed to protect the child.

 An Interview with Board Member, Liz Collins

Our President and Chief Executive Officer, Ron Carter, recently sat down with our Board Chair, Liz Collins, to discuss her long and valuable relationship with Children Incorporated.

RON: Liz, you first became involved with Children Incorporated in 2003 when you accepted a job as a sponsorship coordinator. You later served as Director of Marketing and Development. What are your recollections of your time as an employee of Children Incorporated?

I loved being able to share all of the amazing work that went on in our programs with our donors.  As a result of their giving and the tireless efforts of our volunteer coordinators, we changed a lot of lives.

Liz Collins, Board Chair

LIZ:  I loved being able to share all of the amazing work that went on in our programs with our donors.  As a result of their giving and the tireless efforts of our volunteer coordinators, we changed a lot of lives.

RON: Do you have any special memories of that time?

LIZ: I do. The stories of the children who graduated from high school and went on to college are special to me. I recall one particular story of how we were able to send funds to have a child’s driveway paved so that he could use his wheelchair to get to the bus. Before that, his brother had to carry him down the driveway to the bus each day. I also think about the incredible artwork of Roberto Andrade, one of the children in Latin America who benefitted from our program. There are so many more wonderful  memories!

RON: You left Children Incorporated in 2010, shortly after your son, Noah, was born, but I asked you to return to Children Incorporated as Board Member at the start of 2015, and you willingly agreed.  Just a few months after you joined, Steve Holton, our then chair, was forced to resign due to health reasons, and you were selected as Board Chair. In your wildest dreams, did you ever see that coming?

LIZ: No! I was truly taken by surprise with the sudden turn of events, but honored and humbled to be able to serve the organization in a new way.

RON: As Board Chair, what are your impressions of Children Incorporated? What are you most proud of? What is it about Children Incorporated that you most value?

LIZ: Children Incorporated might be among the smaller sponsorship organizations, but it is by far the most personable. That’s what I love, and I truly believe our donors and volunteer coordinators value that attribute as well. We’re transparent in our funding, and we’re extremely conscientious about our overhead so that much more of every dollar raised can go to the children, families, and communities we serve.

RON: I agree that our personality as an organization, as well as our transparency, are the keys to our continued success. But I also have to say that we have a wonderful network of volunteer coordinators, and our small but loyal staff really is incredible.

Emily was very excited to receive school supplies thanks to her sponsor.

LIZ: Yes, I agree completely. That old saying “It takes a village” really applies. That is how I see Children Incorporated. The staff, our donors, and the volunteer coordinators, all working together, make it all happen. And, it’s a village I’m very proud to be a part of and to serve in.

Still in Need of Ordinary School Supplies  

School closures have meant big changes for families and children in our program, but despite the adjustments that the pandemic required, students still need the most basic items that Children Incorporated has always provided for them.

While many of our sponsored children are learning remotely at home, either partially or wholly, they still need ordinary school supplies, especially the younger ones. Emily*, received a bundle of new supplies at home thanks to her sponsor and promptly wrote to him to say that she loved everything — especially the dry erase board and matching magnets. From her photos, you can see that Emily’s sponsor has made her  incredibly happy as she adjusts to home learning!

*Name changed to protect the child.

A Special Thank You to Our Partner, the Jeunesse Kids Foundation

 In January 2021, we were approached by the Jeunesse Kids Foundation to participate in a fundraiser they were hosting virtually. Jeunesse Kids is dedicated to creating a positive impact in the lives of children worldwide, and the foundation is funded and supported by a vast community of caring individuals who are passionate about building a better tomorrow for young people in underprivileged communities around the world — which very closely aligns with Children Incorporated’s mission and vision.

We are very proud of you, Kris!

Thanks to the efforts of all of the Juenesse Family, their fundraiser raised over $102,000 for Children Incorporated from donors around the world over the course of a weekend which will go towards purchasing tablets for virtual education children in Peru, Argentina, the Philippines, Kentucky and New Mexico, repairing a greenhouse at the St. Michaels Special Education School in Arizona, and towards expanding on skills training programs at the Montero School in Bolivia. We are incredibly grateful for their support!

From Sponsored Child to Attorney: Our Higher Education Fund at Work

We want to send our congratulations to Kris in Honduras for receiving her University Degree at the end of 2020. Kris has been in our sponsorship program since 1999. Thanks to her sponsor and our Higher Education Fund, she was able to attend school over the last twenty years and now has graduated as an attorney. We are very proud of you, Kris!

A New Roof at the Dandora Center in Kenya

While students were out of school for remote learning, we were able to continue to support our projects thanks to donations to our Hope In Action Fund so administrators could repair buildings in anticipation of the return of students in the near future.

At our affiliated project, the Dandora Center in Nairobi, Kenya, a new roof replaced an old worn one which will protect the children from poor weather and heat when they are back in classrooms.

READ THE FULL NEWSLETTER

Moms Helping in Our Schools

*Note: The school visit mentioned in this blog occurred prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we are currently conducting school visits virtually, our On the Road stories remain relevant in regards to our volunteer coordinators’ work and the impact of sponsorship on children in our program thanks to our sponsors. We are pleased to continue to share stories with you about our work.

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Located in rural and mountainous eastern Kentucky, Breathitt County is one of the 100 poorest counties in the United States. The economic prospects of Breathitt County are, at best, bleak. The coal mining industry that once dominated this area and provided employment for the majority of its population has been declining.

Children here not only struggle with lack of basic needs, such as food, clothing, and school supplies, but they are also often in dire need of encouragement and positive interaction with adults.

Today, there are few job opportunities for the area: three small factories, a community college, a grocery store, a department store, a small medical center, a juvenile detention center, and the county education system. Many families who once relied upon mining jobs for income now depend upon part-time employment at minimum wages or federal assistance such as welfare checks and food stamps.

Tragically, drug and alcohol abuse are common, both stemming from and further contributing to these difficult socioeconomic circumstances. Children here, therefore, not only struggle with lack of basic needs, such as food, clothing, and school supplies, but they are also often in dire need of encouragement and positive interaction with adults. Many of them lack positive role models who can teach them how to maintain strong moral values and to be and have friends of good character and caliber.

A loving and supportive volunteer coordinator

Thankfully, children at Sebastian Elementary School have our volunteer coordinator, Genevieve, at the school’s Family Resource Center.

“Genevieve is a caring and dedicated staff member who is thrilled to partner with Children Incorporated sponsors to better equip students with the basic essentials and offer them a  positive influence,” said Renée Kube, our Director of U.S. Programs.

Renée is pictured with one of our sponsored children.

“It is always a pleasure and a treat to spend time Genevieve when I visit Breathitt County. She is another very long-serving coordinator and was the one who brought our organization to her school in 2004. She always goes above and beyond for her students.”

Parents lending a helping hand

During her most recent meeting at Sebastian Elementary School, Genevieve introduced Renée to her parent assistant, Jennifer.

“Jennifer is a wonderful help to Genevieve — and of course to our sponsorship program,” said Renée.

“She is the fourth assistant Genevieve has worked with through a program that places mothers in part-time employment at the school. Each of the previous mothers with whom Genevieve has worked has gone on to regular, full-time employment, in part thanks to the experience they got working at the Family Resource Center. Genevieve is very proud of them,” explained Renée.

“It’s an amazing program — mothers get to help children in our sponsorship program that are in need, and in exchange, can work towards helping to get their own families out of poverty. It’s a win-win situation.”

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How do I sponsor a child in Kentucky?

You can sponsor a child in Kentucky in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.

SPONSOR A CHILD

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

Stepping in to Help

It’s hard for people to ask for help in many situations — especially when it involves a person’s ability to care for their own family. But for families living in poverty, it is often a necessity for them, which is why our Hope In Action Fund exists to provide support when they need it the most.

Today we hear from our volunteer coordinator, Genevieve, at Sebastian Elementary School in Eastern Kentucky, about how Children Incorporated has been able to help families through our Hope In Action Fund thanks to our donors:

“As director of the Sebastian Elementary School Family Resource Center for the past fourteen years, let me say that no program does so much to help so many as Children Incorporated.

I am so thankful I work at a school Children Incorporated serves. It is a blessing, especially for the aging 61-year old grandmother struggling after surgery to raise her 6 and 7-year-old grandchildren, who attend my school. Children Incorporated stepped in and sent them money for laundry along with food boxes just to help out, blessing them with basic needs until the grandmother could get back to work. In the past, a home was devastated by fire in the dead of winter leaving seven of our students with nothing. Again, Children Incorporated stepped in and gave them clothes, shoes, and coats.

In the past, a home was devastated by fire in the dead of winter leaving seven of our students with nothing.Children Incorporated stepped in and gave them clothes, shoes, and coats.

Recently, a struggling mother asked for help, as she could not provide her daughter with an Ipad for educational support. Children Incorporated gave the blessing for that to be made possible. Thank you for helping her provide that need for her child. Her daughter was so happy as she looked at the Ipad and was absolutely jumping for joy!”

About Sebastian Elementary School

Located in rural and mountainous eastern Kentucky, Breathitt County is one of the 100 poorest counties in the United States. The economic prospects of Breathitt County are, at best, bleak. The coal mining industry that once dominated this area and provided employment for the majority of its population has been declining.

Today, there are few job opportunities for the area: three small factories, a community college, a grocery store, a department store, a small medical center, a juvenile detention center, and the county education system. Many families who once relied upon mining jobs for income now depend upon part-time employment at minimum wages and/or federal assistance such as welfare checks and food stamps. Tragically, drug and alcohol abuse are common, both stemming from and further contributing to these difficult socioeconomic circumstances. Children here, therefore, not only struggle with lack of basic needs, such as food, clothing, and school supplies; they are also often in dire need of encouragement and positive interaction with adults — positive role models who teach them how to maintain strong moral values and to be and have friends of good character and caliber.

For this reason, Sebastian Elementary School serves as a beacon of hope for the surrounding community. The school’s caring and dedicated staff is thrilled to partner with Children Incorporated sponsors to better equip students with the basic essentials, positive influence, and well-rounded education they need to break the cycle of poverty and rise above the difficult circumstances they face each day.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN KENTUCKY?

You can sponsor a child in Kentucky in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Praise from a New Coordinator

It is always nice to hear from our volunteer coordinators about the impact that our sponsors have on children in our program as they are the ones that see first-hand the power of sponsorship.

“Without your help, I would not be able to help the students and their families in this program.”

We recently received a letter from a new coordinator, Anita, from Johns Creek Elementary School about her first year working to support children in our program:

“First of all, I would like to thank Children Incorporated for sponsoring children in my school. Without your help, I would not be able to [serve] the students on the limited budget I receive from my school district.

I am a new coordinator with the Family Resource Center and Children Incorporated. The former coordinator, Mr. Smith, retired February 1st, and I began on February 12th. I am new to the Family Resource Center, but not new to our school or the children and families, as I have served as the school secretary for the past twenty years.

In the last few months, I have introduced several new resources for our students and their families. I created a school supply cart, and each morning I would take it to the front lobby of the school. As the students would come into the building, they could get any school supplies from the cart that they might need. I also created a clothing closet, a hygiene closet, and a food pantry. At any time during the day, the students can come to my office to get items privately.

Staff outside of Johns Creek Elementary School ready to provide students with items to take home during the COVID-19 outbreak (photo courtesy of Facebook)

I have also started a birthday recognition program for our students. I send a card and a sweet treat to each student on their birthday. For the students sponsored by Children Incorporated, I purchase something off the child’s wish list and provide a birthday cake for the child to enjoy with their family.

After a couple of weeks of being hired as Family Resource Coordinator, I received word that some of our families of unsponsored children didn’t have the resources to provide the child a birthday cake, so I began purchasing them a cake. As word got out about the birthday cakes, I now have school staff and parents who make or purchase the cakes for all the children. I will deliver the cake to their home on their birthday or on the day the family is having a party.

The past couple of months have been difficult for our students, but they have stayed strong. They haven’t been able to attend school since March 12th. Beginning March 13th through May 15th our students participated in non-traditional days. If the student had access to the internet, they participated in online learning with their teachers and classmates. Several of our students had internet but didn’t have a reliable computer to do the work on, so we provided them a Chromebook from the school. For students who didn’t have internet, we delivered paper packets of their work and videos of the online sessions to their homes.

During this time, we have been blessed to be able to provide weekly delivery routes using our buses to deliver food and supplies to our students. We also have had Grab N’ Go Meal pickups on Thursdays at our school. We have been able to provide children 18 and under with seven breakfasts and seven lunches free of charge during this time through our School Food Service.

During this time, we have been blessed to be able to provide weekly delivery routes using our buses to deliver food and supplies to our students.

Each week, they receive a breakfast and a lunch bag. The breakfast bag usually consists of two cereal boxes, two Pop-Tarts, two chicken biscuits, a sausage biscuit, seven assorted fruits and seven assorted juices. The lunch bag usually consisted of a hamburger, a hot dog, a ham sub, a turkey sub, a chicken sandwich, a corn dog, pizza, chips, French fries, assorted veggies, assorted fruits and a gallon of milk.

With help from Children Incorporated, we have been able to provide a snack bag each week to every sponsored child in addition to the meals. The snack bags contain packs of oatmeal, boxes of cereal, beef sticks, fruit snacks, packs of macaroni and cheese, cans of soup, cans of spaghetti, sports drinks, drink mixes, and water. We also have a tote sitting outside the front entrance to our building providing food bags for any family who may need extra food.

Our last day of school for the year was Friday, May 15th and the last day we were able to use our buses for deliveries. Our School Food Service is still able to offer the same seven breakfast and lunches to any child under 18 through Grab N’ Go Meals on Thursdays from 9:30-2:00 at our school during the summer. Our school staff has stepped up and is helping me deliver meals and snack bags to any student whose family can’t come and get the meals on Thursday, and for that I am grateful!

Anita is incredibly grateful for the support of our sponsors.

To celebrate summer, I prepared each sponsored child a summer fun bag, a basket of cleaning & hygiene supplies, and a food basket and delivered those to the homes the last week of school. For the beginning of school in the fall, I have ordered each child a backpack, lunch/snack box, school supplies, school T-shirts and shoes. Without the help from your sponsors and donors, I would not be able to provide for the students and their families.”

About Johns Creek Elementary School

Nestled in the picturesque Appalachian Mountains and steeped in a rich cultural heritage, Pike County once thrived due to its coal and lumber industries. Then, in 1994, the Eastern Division of Pittston Coal Company closed its mines. Unfortunately, the mountain passes and rugged terrain have effectively blocked other types of industry from settling in this part of Kentucky. Thus, few industries and employment options remain in the area. As a result, unrelenting poverty and unemployment have taken their toll. Moreover, their debilitating effects do not only impact adults. Hunger and cold nights in bed are no strangers to many of the children of this area, as their parents struggle to make ends meet.

For this reason, Johns Creek Elementary School — the largest P-8 educational facility in the county — serves as a beacon of hope, allowing students to learn, discover and grow in a warm and caring environment that is geared towards education — the key to breaking the cycle of poverty.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN KENTUCKY?

You can sponsor a child in Kentucky in one of two ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.

SPONSOR A CHILD