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An Overwhelming Positive Change

Today, we want to share a letter of hope and inspiration from one of our many incredible volunteer coordinators from around the world. If there was ever any doubt of the power of sponsorship, Teresa, at Floyd Central High School in Kentucky, confirms with a sweet letter just how much sponsors mean to children in our program:

If there was ever any doubt of the power of sponsorship, Teresa, at Floyd Central High School in Kentucky, confirms with a sweet letter just how much sponsors mean to children in our program.

“Dear Children Incorporated Staff and Sponsors,

First of all, I want to say thank you for everything that your organization does for our students. Your sponsorship program has been such a blessing. I am not a big fan of shopping; however, I love seeing the students’ faces when they are given new clothes and shoes. They especially enjoy receiving items for their birthdays and Christmas. Because of their sponsors’ generosity, all of my Children Incorporated-enrolled kids receive new clothing and shoes at back-to-school, Christmas, and springtime. In addition, each receives a Thanksgiving and Christmas food basket.

Our school was also fortunate to receive two grants from your Hope In Action Fund. I collaborated with the other schools in our county, as well as local partners, such as our Health Department and Extension Office, for these initiatives. The first was a New/Expectant Parents Fair. Each participant received a bag filled with important information, as well as a new book for the baby, diapers, wipes, and more.

Teresa sent photos of packed supplies waiting to go out to students, thanks to a donation from our Hope In Action Fund.

To encourage participation, there were also door prizes, such as baby monitors, car seats, play yards, and developmental toys. These babies will be our kindergarteners in just a few short years. The second initiative was a Family Fun Night. Our schools’ coordinators shopped for and provided good old fashioned board games (like Hi Ho Cherry-O, Jenga, Monopoly, UNO, etc.), pizza kits, and snacks to promote family bonding and less screen time. Both initiatives were handled via socially distanced “Drive Thru & Pick Ups” during the pandemic.

Finally, I would like to show how the sponsors are making such a huge difference in the lives of our students by sharing a story. I have one young man about whom I was approached by two of his teachers. They had concerns in regards to his appearance and hygiene. They said something had been off with him since we returned to school.

“Our principal spoke of this young man and what an amazing difference she has seen in just a short amount of time. None of this would have been possible without the generosity of his sponsor.”

I met with this young man, and of course he said everything was fine. He kept his head down for most of our meeting. I noticed this young man had severe acne, and I was sure this was a part of his low self-esteem. I tried to make contact with his mom via phone and then again on a home visit, but with no luck. This student missed an excessive amount of school. Then I noticed the student seemed to be making a connection with our new JROTC officer, so the officer and I worked together, coming up with a plan to help this young man and to gain his trust.

With the generosity of his sponsor, I was able to purchase him new clothing, shoes, hygiene items – and now acne medicine, too. Slowly, this young man started coming around and being more involved with school and the JROTC program. There has been just an overwhelming positive change in this student’s life. He had never participated in anything and never had many friends. This year he came to and even danced at the Military Ball. At our end of the year staff dinner, our principal spoke of this young man and what an amazing difference she has seen in just a short amount of time. None of this would have been possible without the generosity of his sponsor.

With sincere thanks,

Teresa”

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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

Meeting Girls’ Needs in India and Kenya

When we consider the needs of our sponsored children, we especially need to consider the particular needs of young girls who might not have access to feminine hygiene products while living in poverty — most likely because their families can’t afford them. When young ladies don’t have access to sanitary napkins, they often skip school to stay home which can be detrimental to their education.

“As we know, girls face a great number of difficulties when it comes to sanitation and hygiene. We really appreciate your contribution to help and support our children during these hard times.”

Throughout the 2021 year, we focused on providing supplies of sanitary napkins to girls at our affiliated projects in Kenya and India on a continuous basis — in large part thanks to our long-time partner, Altar’d State — so that they may remain in attendance at school throughout the year.

According to their website, “Altar’d State is a rapidly growing women’s fashion brand with more than 100 boutiques in 30 states. They offer a place of respite and a distinctive shopping experience with the latest fashion finds, the most sought-after accessories, charming home decor and gifts.”

Additionally, the company seeks to “inspire through action and supports a mission of standing out for good in the world” — which they have done by donating to Children Incorporated with a focus on providing feminine hygiene items to hundreds of girls around the world.

A letter from India

Upon receiving funding from Altar’d State to purchase hygiene items for sponsored children at the St. Mary’s School for Girls in India, our volunteer coordinator writes:

Girls at the Dandora Centre in Kenya pose with their feminine hygiene kits

“Thank you very much for allowing us to be able to purchase 103 sanitary napkin packets which can be used for up to six months. As we know, girls face a great number of difficulties when it comes to sanitation and hygiene. We really appreciate your contribution to help and support our children during these hard times. Also, all our children have conveyed their highest regards to the concerned donors and once again thank you so much for your kindness.

Sincerely,

Superintendent Rao”

Stats about Girls and Feminine Hygiene

Why is it so important to support girls and their healthy menstrual hygiene? According to the Days for Girls website, “period poverty is a term used to describe the lack of access to adequate menstrual health management supplies and education for women and girls. Many families are unable to afford feminine hygiene products because of how expensive they are. This lack of resources and supplies for menstrual health can have negative consequences on girls.”

Additionally, poor menstrual hygiene can cause physical health risks and has been linked to reproductive and urinary tract infections (UNICEF). It also inhibits girls from reaching their full potential — young girls who do not receive an education are more likely to enter child marriages and experience an early pregnancy, malnourishment, domestic violence, and pregnancy complications as a result.

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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 sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Working Against Generational Poverty

Often called the Bluegrass County of the Mountains, Morgan County is situated amid Kentucky’s picturesque, mountainous Eastern Coal Fields region. The county itself was first settled by Scotch and Irish immigrants during the eighteenth century and derives its name from an homage to Revolutionary War hero General Daniel Morgan.

“The East Valley community is generally more in need than other communities in the area, as many families are struggling with generational poverty that they just can’t get out of.”

Despite its natural beauty and rich history, Morgan County suffers the socioeconomic issues associated with the widespread, debilitating poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment so tragically typical of Appalachia. There are few economic opportunities in the small rural town of Crockett today, where our affiliated project, East Valley Elementary School, is located. Thankfully, students and their parents can rely on the dedicated staff at the school that serves children in this area, offering them a safe environment and the chance to obtain a well-rounded education — which can provide them a path out of the poverty that their families have faced for decades.

A community in need

East Valley Elementary School educates around 144 children in grades Pre-K through 5th grade — many of whom come from impoverished households.

“The school is located in an older building but is very well maintained. The Family Resource Center Coordinator, Angela, who is also our volunteer coordinator, is very experienced at her job,” explains Children Incorporated’s Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“On my last visit to the school, in late 2019, Angie told me that the East Valley community is generally more in need than other communities in the area, as many families are struggling with generational poverty that they just can’t get out of.”

An article published by the North Carolina Community Action Association defines generational poverty and describes it effects:

Parents were poor, their kids are now poor, and their grandkids kids will grow up poor. Like genetics, families in this situation seem to pass down poverty from one generation to the next. These families tend to be stuck in the cycle of poverty which means they and their children will continue to live in poverty until an external influence can help them escape. 

Thanks to Angie, children in our program received much-needed resources throughout the year.

Generational poverty only requires that a family lives in poverty for at least two generations. Generational poverty persists mostly because of internal psychological factors, although financial issues are the external force that create these psychological barriers. It’s a combination of hopelessness, scarcity mindset and toxic stress.

Almost all of the psychological issues with generational poverty are centered around finances. Many parents work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. This lack of a fundamental resource — money — creates a “scarcity mindset”. The people trapped in poverty struggle to think of the future because they are so focused on surviving for the next few days or weeks. In this mindset, neither adult nor child are thinking about college, careers or higher achievements. Even if they are, they often feel that these dreams are unattainable to them, and their lot in life is to just try to survive. 

Living in constant worry about money can also cause toxic stress which can damage the learning, behavior and health of people living with it. For children, the effects span their lifespan.”

Keeping kids interested in learning

According to Angie, many parents of her students place a low value on education, because they are preoccupied with trying to survive day-to-day, and don’t often have time to consider much for the future — both because they never imagine one for themselves and because they can’t imagine offering a different future for their children.

Living in constant worry about money can also cause toxic stress which can damage the learning, behavior and health of people living with it. For children, the effects span their lifespan.”

“Angie is incredibly grateful for our sponsorship program because it gives her the chance to offer children food, clothing and school supplies which will hopefully keep students in school and interested in learning — and it gives her access to them so she can encourage them to stay in school and consider higher education,” said Renée.

“Fortunately for Angie, the loving teachers at East Valley Elementary School keep a close eye on the children and serve as Angie’s ‘eyes and ears.’ Some report the kids come to school on Monday mornings dirty and ravenously hungry — when she hears this, she makes sure to focus on those children who are really struggling so they know they cared for and that someone is looking out for them.”

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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

Sweet Dreams for Kids in Kentucky

Our affiliated project, Morgan County Middle School, is located in West Liberty, Kentucky, and serves 464 students in 6th through 8th grade — many of whom come from low-income households.

The school’s Family Resource Youth Services Center is run by Children Incorporated’s volunteer coordinator, Kim.

“Kim runs a lot of important programs for our kids, and she can always use help with them. Her favorites are the 8th grade career mentoring program, the weekend feeding program, and the Sweet Dreams bed program,” said Renée.

“Kim was previously at one of the elementary schools, Morgan Central, for many years, but she moved up to the middle school after its coordinator retired. Kim said it was a smooth transition, as many of the kids were her former elementary students,” explained our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“However, the move did refine her awareness and sensitivity to this age group — middle school children are coping with the physical and emotional challenges of puberty, and many of them are also enduring poverty and family stress. These challenges make the Family Resource Center more important than ever.”

“When I last visited with Kim in late 2019, she told me that, due to the county’s high poverty rate, they were awarded district-wide free lunch. This has made it so much less embarrassing for the kids who don’t have lunch money. Now everyone is on the same level. Her school is also one of three schools in the county that is serving an early supper on select days, which really helps families in the community as well,” said Renée.

Kim’s Programs

Kim is pictured with one of the students in our sponsorship program at Morgan County Middle School.

“Kim runs a lot of important programs for our kids, and she can always use help with them. Her favorites are the 8th grade career mentoring program, the weekend feeding program, and the Sweet Dreams bed program. She is most proud of and excited about the Sweet Dreams bed program,” exclaimed Renée.

“Kim said all Morgan County Public Schools are eligible to participate in the Build A Bed Program operated by Morehead State University. However, only 200 beds are made per year, and with so many counties and schools eligible, not all children in need can be helped.”

“So, she and the other coordinators in Morgan County started their own program. The Eastern Kentucky Correctional Center is located in West Liberty. The prison builds the beds for free for the students at the school, and the school coordinators appeal to local businesses to buy the mattresses for the kids, some of which she has been able to secure. Kim said more assistance is always needed to purchase mattresses, sheets, blankets, pillows, and comforters,” said Renée.

Because of our Beds and Linens Fund, and thanks to our sponsors, Children Incorporated has been able to help Kim and our sponsored children with those new items so that students from the middle school can sleep comfortably at home and be prepared for school each day rested and ready to learn!”

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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

Our Fall 2021 Newsletter

We are happy to share with you our Fall 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!

Thanks to our sponsors and donors, we have been able to help them in their efforts to keep children and teachers safe and healthy.

Providing an Abundance of Support to our Projects in 2021

Around the world, our volunteer coordinators at nearly 300 affiliated projects continue to navigate how they can best support children in need through the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to our  sponsors and donors, we have been able to help them in their efforts to keep children and teachers safe and healthy while they work hard to provide impoverished students with a well-rounded education — whether at home or in the classroom.

Although the last school year has been like no other in Children Incorporated’s history, we have continued to provide children in our program with the resources they need to overcome the obstacles they face during the global pandemic. It is with a great deal of gratitude that we thank each and every one of our supporters for their role in these efforts.

Offering Hygiene Items to Girls in Kenya 

Our sponsors have provided thousands of children with school supplies this fall.

More recently, some of the most important items we have been able to offer to children in our program has been hygiene items — masks, soap and hand sanitizer – for them  to take home and use in their daily lives to help prevent illness and protect children and their families against all kinds of disease, most specifically COVID-19. Additionally, when we consider the needs of our sponsored children, we especially need to consider the particular needs of young girls who might not have access to feminine hygiene products — most likely because their families can’t afford them. When young ladies don’t have access to sanitary napkins, they often skip school to stay home which can be detrimental to their education.

This year, we have focused on providing three-month supplies of sanitary napkins to all girls at our affiliated project, the Dandora Community Centre in Kenya, on a continuous basis so that they may remain in attendance at school throughout the year.

Supplying Vitamins During COVID-19 in Guatemala 

Children in Guatemala are pictured with their vitamin supply

In the last months, thanks to a contribution by our partner, Altar’d State, to our COVID-19 Relief Fund, we were able to provide funds to the Juan Apostol School in Guatemala for a three-month supply of vitamins containing vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc for all 102 children enrolled in our program. And, because our volunteer coordinator was purchasing these items in bulk for the benefit of children, the local pharmacy provided a four-month supply of vitamins to our coordinator at the cost of just a three-month supply.

We are incredibly grateful for the support from Altar’d State, as well as for all contributions that donors have made to our COVID-19 Relief Fund.

 A Blessing During the Pandemic in Lebanon   

We recently received a letter from our volunteer coordinator at the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf (FAID):

“A blessing came out of COVID-19. Several lockdowns reduced our face to face teaching time severely. So, we needed to find another way to help our children and their parents develop their educational skills. Our staff made several videos each week. Each video had a particular topic. The video “OPPOSITES,” for example, explained all about up and down, in and out, high and low, etc. These videos, made for WhatsApp, were easy for parents to use.

COVID-19 helped parents in Lebanon become teachers of their deaf children. Increased parental involvement enhanced building family bonds, which stimulated the children’s development even more, and most of all, reduced the emotional trauma that exists in families having children with special needs.

Providing audiology support, hearing aid maintenance and batteries during COVID is very challenging. Again, because of the help we received from Children Incorporated donors, we could put in the safeguards and precautions to make it possible. Thank you for all of your support in helping children at FAID.”

Supporting Agriculture in Bolivia 

Throughout the year, our affiliated projects from around the world share with us proposals for special projects that will help improve the lives of not only the children that we support but their families as well. Thanks to our Hope In Action program, we are often able to support many of our projects so they can grow their programs and offer skills training and other important resources to impoverished communities in which we work.

We are incredibly grateful all contributions that donors have made to our COVID-19 Relief Fund.

One such proposal we received in 2021 was from the Montero School in Bolivia, in which our volunteer coordinator requested funds to construct an agriculture school on the same property as the existing school.

“This area is mainly an agricultural area, and many children and adults have to go to nearby cities, and even a few hours away to Santa Cruz to get better training,” explains our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet.

A sponsored child in Arizona poses with her new book bag thanks to our Back to School Program.

“With the support of this training institution that is being implemented, Children Incorporated is contributing to the whole community. The agricultural school will include a barn with cows, a pigpen, and a chicken coop in which students and their parents can learn how to take care of animals as well as grow food which they can then apply to their own lives to better their employment opportunities or income in the future!”

Time for Back to School Around the world

 At the end of the summer this year, students at some of our affiliated projects returned to in-person learning for the first time since the spring of 2020. As our volunteer coordinators work hard to re-connect with these children as they see them on a regular basis for the first time in over 16 months, we are especially grateful that our sponsors have remained consistent in their lives during the difficulties they faced while being out of school and adjusting to a new life-style.

Welcome back to all the students who have returned to the classroom! We wish you a wonderful 2021-2022 school year!

READ THE FULL NEWSLETTER

Keeping Kids Active at Mariano Lake

The remote town of Crown Point is located in northwestern New Mexico, near the Arizona border and the vast Navajo Indian Reservation. Many of the American Indian families in this area generate income by making and selling jewelry and pottery. A few families maintain small herds of livestock. Unemployment is high, and many parents rely upon public assistance as their only means to afford the cost of feeding and clothing their children.

Because of the remoteness of the area in which the school sits, Mariano Lake has a dormitory for students to board during the week and return home on weekends and during holidays.

Our affiliated project, the Mariano Lake Community School, is located about 24 miles southwest of Crown Point. The school educates 130 children from Kindergarten to 6th grade — 98% of the students at the school are from low income families. Because of the remoteness of the area in which the school sits, Mariano Lake has a dormitory for students to board during the week and return home on weekends and during holidays.

A long-time volunteer coordinator

“Our volunteer coordinator at Mariano Lake is Barbara. She has worked at the school for many years. Her title at the school is Home Living Specialist since she manages the school’s dormitory, and the kids keep her hopping,” explained our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“The dorm is currently caring for sixteen children, eleven girls and five boys. Barbara is big on keeping the kids occupied. They do a lot of reading and sight words to improve their literacy. She has one dorm aide, Ann, who helps her with our sponsorship program.”

The dorms at Mariano Lake offer children who often don’t have the support of their parents a safe place to sleep and learn.

“When I visited Barbara in 2019, she gave me a big envelope of progress reports, letters, and pictures of the kids getting school supplies, thanks to their sponsors,” said Renée.

Helping kids stay active

“Barbara said many of the children’s parents are working in Colorado or Texas, are deceased, or simply gone. Those kids without parents stay with relatives on weekends, holidays, and breaks. Due to unstable home environments, poverty, and emotional issues, some of the children have a difficult time with good behavior in the dorm. They get upset and act out. Barbara and Ann work hard to help the kids feel cared for and try to keep them busy so they don’t become bored and frustrated.”

“Barbara would like to do more activities for them, but funding is always a problem. She would like to be considered for Hope In Action funds for materials and supplies for the boys’ and girls’ dorms. Not just practical needs, but fun things too. I told her we would be happy to help when she submitted requests for funding. We at Children Incorporated understand the detrimental effects that poverty has on children, especially those living without their parents, and we want to do what we can to help keep children’s minds active so they can always be learning whether in school, at home, or in their dorms.”

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How do I sponsor a child in the United States?

You can sponsor a child in the United States 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.

SPONSOR A CHILD