Tag Archives: education

Expanding Opportunities in the Philippines

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

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

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

Our Hope In Action Fund in action

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

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

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

Plenty of achievements

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

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

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN THE PHILIPPINES?

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

Books of Their Very Own

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

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

A community in need

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

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

 Helping children to read

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

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN NORTH CAROLINA?

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

The Impact of Generosity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD WITH CHILDREN INCORPORATED?

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

Hope After Haiyan

The Philippines comprise a vast island nation in Southeast Asia. This archipelago of more than 7,000 islands boasts sandy beaches, towering mountains and volcanoes, tropical rainforests, and an incredible wealth of natural resources and biodiversity. Humans have called these islands home for thousands of years, predating historic records.

Today, the Philippines incorporate a staggering number of languages, ethnic groups, religions, and cultures. Despite its status as an emerging market, however, nearly half of all Filipinos still earn less than $2 a day. Adequate sanitation and access to healthcare and potable water are still daily challenges in this widely underdeveloped country, which is also prone to typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic activity. The large port city of Tacloban, where the Visayans Community Center at Bliss is located, is no exception to these maladies.

One of the worst storms in a hundred years

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

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

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

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

“Dear Children Incorporated,

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

Sincerely yours,
Imee*”

Helping families beyond sponsorship

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

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

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

*Name changed for child’s protection.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN THE PHILIPPINES?

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

A Quality Education for Children in Bolivia

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

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

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

A great institution

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

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

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN BOLIVIA?

 

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

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.

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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.