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No Distance Too Great

Children Incorporated has affiliated projects, sponsored children and sponsors from all over the world. Most of our sponsors don’t live in the same cities, or even the same states, as the children they support.

For many of our sponsored kids, their sponsors live in entirely different countries.

“I feel that the children are receiving incredible support here thanks to the administration and our sponsors. Last year alone, seven of the eight high school graduates at the school went on to higher education!”

 

– Luis Bourdet

But sponsored kids in South Korea, especially those living at the Kwangju Ae Yuk Won and the Hyungje Children’s Homes, feel the same amount of comfort and love as if their sponsors were right by their sides.

Kwangju Ae Yuk Children’s Home

Located in the shadow of high-rise apartments in the city of Gwangju, South Korea, the Kwangju Ae Yuk Children’s Home provides children from impoverished backgrounds with a safe place to live, grow and receive a good education — all while instilling the core values of honesty, integrity and compassion for others.

Gwangju is the largest city in the southwestern part of South Korea, with a population of about 1.5 million people. It is the 6thlargest city in the country.

The city itself is known for the students’ pro-democracy uprising that occurred in the early 1980s, which is credited for the country’s initial move from military rule to democratic governance, and its economic explosion and development.

Kwangju Ae Yuk Children’s Home is a well-known home for children from impoverished backgrounds due to its ability to care for a large number of orphanages and underprivileged youth. The home has over fifty children residing there currently. Children Incorporated sponsors support thirty of them.

Lots of help for the young

While visiting the home, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, was pleasantly surprised to see a large staff at Kwangju.

The children at the Kwangju Ae Yuk Won and the Hyungje Children’s Homes know that their sponsors want the best for them.

“The home has an impressive number of personnel. About thirty people work full-time, most of whom are social workers providing consistent aid and guidance to the children,” said Luis.

During the day, the children attend local schools. In the afternoons, they receive music instructions and participate in art classes.

Support from the local government offers funds for basic needs such as housing costs and food. Sponsorship support provides for additional expenses like school supplies, but it also gives the children a great sense of emotional and psychological support.

“I feel that the children are receiving incredible support here thanks to the administration and our sponsors. Last year alone, seven of the eight high school graduates at the school went on to higher education!” exclaimed Luis.

Hyungje Children’s Home

Hyungje Children’s Home resides within the city limits of Gwangju. With 33 children at the home in our sponsorship program, Hyungje has the largest enrollment of any of our projects in South Korea.

The home consists of two large three-story buildings. With over 70 students in attendance — and more being added each year — the home is running out of usable living space for the kids.

Thankfully, when Luis visited the home, he witnessed new construction already underway so the children will have more room to spread out soon.

Sponsored kids in South Korea, especially those living at the Kwangju Ae Yuk Won and the Hyungje Children’s Homes, feel the same amount of comfort and love as if their sponsors were right by their sides.

Sponsors at the Hyungje Children’s Home provide almost all basic needs for the children outside of housing cost. Funds from sponsorship support buy the children schools supplies, clothes, shoes and food regularly.

The administration at the home also makes sure that the children understand what it means to have a sponsor beyond just the items they receive.

“The children know that their sponsors want the best for them, and in return, it is a special feeling for the children to know that someone from afar cares for their well-being,” said Luis.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

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

Time to Depart

After spending nearly a month visiting all seventeen of our affiliated projects in South Korea, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, visited the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home and the Yong Jin Children’s Home as his last stops before returning to the United States.

As he prepared to return home, Luis thought about how genuinely essential the support of the Children Incorporated sponsorship program has been for young people in South Korea.

The Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home

 Located in Okcheon, the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home serves 34 underprivileged and orphaned children. The home itself is made up of three spacious buildings. Our sponsorship program provides support for 13 children at the home. The local government pays for the salaries of the 18 staff members.

Differing from many of the other homes we partner with in South Korea, the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home focuses on helping children who have physical or mental health conditions. The dedicated staff of the home is professionally educated and trained to provide the children with the special care they need.

“The children at the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home require much more attention than children at the other homes we support,” explained Luis.

“I was pleased to see the staff is well-equipped to provide special care for the children.”

The Yong Jin Children’s Home

Located in the city of Gwangju, the Yong Jin Children’s Home serves children ages five to nineteen years old.

Luis was pleased with all of our projects in South Korea in how well they were supporting children in our program.

Situated on the slope of a mountain overlooking rice paddies below, the cluster of brick and stucco buildings that make up the home houses dormitories, an auditorium, a dining room, kitchen and offices. The grounds include a vegetable garden and apple orchard.

According to Luis, the home also has a small museum in which bones and artifacts are on display for the children to see at any time.

“The Director of the Yong Jin Children’s Home is the son of the founder of the home, Mr. Min. Mr. Min had a love for archeology, so he started collecting dinosaur bones and other fossils from various countries around the world,” said Luis.

“Soon after his son graduated as a Social Welfare Worker, Mr. Min sent him to archeology school, and between them they have a great collection of bones and fossils. Local school children often visit the home for educational tours.”

“This is a very well run home. The children get to enjoy a lot of field trips outdoors, camping and searching for fossils and bones,” explained Luis.

Thanks to our amazing sponsors, hundreds of children are being cared for and looked after every day while also receiving much-needed support as they grow up.

Getting to meet our sponsored kids

During his final two visits, Luis was pleased to get to meet with the children at both homes after their school days were over.

“It was great to interact with them. The children were truly approachable and not shy at all. They even tried to practice their English with me since I do not speak Korean!” exclaimed Luis. “It was fun to communicate with them.”

As he prepared to return home, Luis thought about how genuinely essential the support of the Children Incorporated sponsorship program has been for young people in South Korea. Thanks to our amazing sponsors, hundreds of children are being cared for and looked after every day while also receiving much-needed support as they grow up.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

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

Conserving Energy in South Korea

It is more often than not that our affiliated projects, especially outside of the United States, are not housed in modern, state-of-the-art structures.

We at Children Incorporated many times see dormitories that are run down, kitchens that are outdated and schools that are in need of fresh paint. This is not the case at the Dong San Children’s Home and the Jin Woo Children’s Home in and near Busan, South Korea, however.

When funds are scarce and money is stretched thin, our volunteer coordinators must focus on making sure our sponsored and unsponsored children are receiving everything they need to succeed, not leaving much for updating infrastructure or repairing buildings.

Because of this, we at Children Incorporated many times see dormitories that are run down, kitchens that are outdated and schools that are in need of fresh paint.

Modern buildings in Korea

This is not the case at the Dong San Children’s Home and the Jin Woo Children’s Home in and near Busan, South Korea, however.

According to our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, both homes have received government support to modernize their buildings.  This includes making them energy efficient — meaning in the long run, the administration is saving money that can then be used to better support the orphaned and underprivileged children in attendance.

The Dong San Children’s Home

Children Incorporated supports twenty of the 46 children living at the Dong San Children’s Home located in South Korea’s second largest city of Busan.

“The Dong San Children’s Home was one of the first to introduce solar panels to the home in Korea,” said Luis.

“In recent years, they have remodeled some of the buildings to conserve energy. This saves money on their electric bill and utilities in general.”

Children in our sponsorship program in South Korea are provided with fruits and other nutritious foods throughout the day.

Upon visiting the home, Luis found that it also had heated floors, new dormitories and an updated nursery. On the grounds of the compound, large green spaces, trees and beautiful landscapes had been created for the children to enjoy, as well as a memorial dedicated to the founder of the home and a little chapel where children can pray.

Motivating kids to strive

Not only is the Dong San Children’s Home concerned about the children’s comfort, they also understand the importance of motivating students to strive to do well in school.

“There is a big emphasis on tutoring in the home because our coordinator has noticed that many children who are coming from difficult circumstances need additional motivation to increase their self-esteem,” explained Luis.

Support from Children Incorporated sponsors is mostly used for tutoring and educational support and to provide clothes and shoes for the children. According to Luis, the government continues to support the home with food and maintenance expenses, making it one of the better-maintained homes he has seen in South Korea.

“Both the Dong San Won Home and the Jin Wood Home are wonderful examples of how support from sponsors combined with a great living and learning environment, means children have the opportunity to overcome the barriers that poverty creates.”

 

-Luis Bourdet

The Jin Woo Children’s Home

About an hour outside of Busan, the Jin Woo Children’s Home was relocated from its original building in the city to a brand new and extremely energy-efficient home away from the busy downtown area.

“The home is in great shape. The new buildings now have offices, dormitories and a daycare center,” stated Luis.

“This is probably the most efficient home I have visited in South Korea. They have considered insulation and other efficiencies in the building process. The children are very well-cared for here in this modern setting.”

Of the 23 children at the home, our sponsors support 15 of them. Children receive food, educational support and clothes and are provided with fruits and other nutritious foods throughout the day.

“Both the Dong San Children’s Home and the Jin Woo Children’s Home are wonderful examples of how support from sponsors combined with a great living and learning environment, means children have the opportunity to overcome the barriers that poverty creates,” says Luis.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

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

Taking Care of the Youth of Today

Making sure young people have positive influences around them is crucial to their development.

This is especially true for children coming from difficult circumstances like the orphans and children from impoverished backgrounds living at the Kang Nam Children’s Home in South Korea.

After a visit to the home, our International Director of Programs Luis Bourdet reported that the sixty children living at this Children Incorporated affiliated project meet with local university students every week. The college students not only help the kids with their homework but also serve as role models and mentors.

Apart from having more than twenty-six staff members, the local university volunteers spend their free time at the home tutoring and participating in sports activities with the children.

These interactions with caring adults outside of their supervisors and teachers help the children learn valuable life skills and teach them behavior that will prepare them for the outside world once they are grown up.

Kang Nam Children’s Home

Located on the south side of Seoul, the Kang Nam Children’s Home provides orphaned and underprivileged children in this region of South Korea with a safe, nurturing environment, nutritious food and medical care.

Children are often placed in the home after having been through the country’s welfare system. Many of them are coming from broken homes or have only lived in an orphanage, having no living parent. Because of this, many of the children we support have already had very challenging lives considering their young ages.

Thankfully, the administrators of the Kang Nam Children’s Home, with help from our sponsors, make sure the children receive food, clothes, housing and an education.

College students help kids at the Kang Nam Children’s Home with their homework and serve as role models and mentors.

“On top of support from sponsorship funds, the local government provides money to cover staff salaries and building maintenance. The Korean Welfare Foundation also supports the home for any incidental expenses,” says Luis.

The home also has some corporate sponsors and individual local sponsors.  Because of all this, Luis reports that the physical buildings in the home are in great shape, and the children are well cared for by many different individuals and groups.

“To further support the children’s psychological development and give them a sense of family life, the facilities have been divided into ‘houses’ where six to nine kids share the house along with a housemother, who is always a university-educated social welfare worker,” continued Luis.

Volunteer to give back to kids

Apart from having more than twenty-six staff members, the local university volunteers spend their free time at the home tutoring and participating in sports activities with the children, helping with psychological evaluations or leading field trips to local parks.

Combined with the knowledge that they have a caring sponsor, the university students and the fantastic staff of the Kang Nam Children’s Home ensure that our sponsored and unsponsored children are surrounded by dozens of encouraging adults who are helping the youth of today grow up to be influencers of tomorrow.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

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

Food Lion Employees Give Back

Our President and Chief Executive Officer, Ron Carter, recently accepted a generous contribution in the amount of $1,000 from the employees of ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center in Disputanta, Virginia.

The funds will go toward supporting the Children Incorporated International Feeding Programs, wherein children and their families receive healthy and nutritious meals and food assistance.

Introducing ADUSA

Food Lion Associates supporting Children Incorporated through t-shirt and food sales

ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center is the only distribution center for Food Lion Grocery Stores in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The facility, which employs approximately 600 associates, serves nearly 200 stores across Virginia as well as a few select locations in North Carolina.

In June of 2018, a group of the associates from the distribution center formed the charitable unit of ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center with the goal of giving back to organizations they see as having positive impacts on children and families.

Helping kids in need

To raise money for this purpose, the staff of ADUSA sells lunches to its associates every Thursday and occasionally sells T-shirts and other items. All profits are set aside for charitable purposes. In the first year of the program, ADUSA supported an organization that helps children who are struggling with cancer. Children Incorporated is the second aid organization to receive a $1,000 gift from ADUSA.

According to Ms. Rojas, after finding out about Children Incorporated, she felt it was a natural choice for her and her associates to make.

Ms. Orquidea Rojas, the Engagement and Communications Coordinator with ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center, explained that when it was time to select a recipient organization for the 2019 gift, she did a great deal of research to find a charity with a proven record of making a difference and changing the lives of children for the better.

According to Ms. Rojas, after finding out about Children Incorporated, she felt it was a natural choice for her and her associates to make.

About our International Feeding Program

The purpose of our International Feeding Programs Fund is to feed children who would otherwise go hungry so that they can be alert at school and ready to learn. The fund supports programs in the Philippines, Kenya and Ethiopia to buy grains, meats, vegetables and cooking supplies. Every year, Children Incorporated provides meals for thousands of kids.

We are very grateful for the generous donation from all of the associates at the ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center. Thank you for your support of children in need!

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How do I donate to Children Incorporated’s International Feeding Program?

You can donate to our International Feeding Program 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 and donate to our International Feeding Program via on secure online donation process.

Rebuilding a Devastated Island

Prior to the summer of 2017, Children Incorporated had yet not worked in Puerto Rico.

Over the years our President and CEO Ron Carter has been asked by supporters of our organization if we were considering expanding our programs to include sponsorship in Puerto Rico. But because we didn’t have a partnering organization on the island to connect with, we weren’t able to.

Then Hurricane Maria hit.

In September of 2017, Hurricane Maria ravaged much of Puerto Rico. In the wake of the storm, the U.S. territory’s governor estimated the damage from the storm at more than $8 billion.

Incredible damage done

In September of 2017, Hurricane Maria ravaged much of Puerto Rico. In the wake of the storm, the U.S. territory’s governor estimated the damage from the storm at more than $8 billion. Approximately 80 percent of the island’s agriculture was lost due to the hurricane. Eighteen million coffee trees were destroyed.

The hurricane decimated the island’s power grid, leaving all 3.4 million residents without electricity. Local authorities predicted that it would take four to six months to restore power to all of Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, as of February 2019, a year and a half later, there are still remote areas of the island where families don’t have electricity.

Today, thousands of homes in Puerto Rico have not yet been repaired, including those that had a complete loss of their roofs in the aftermath of the storm. Those families rely on blue tarps provided by FEMA to protect them from the weather.

Relief arrives in Puerto Rico

In the months following the hurricane, many relief agencies and organizations began to work in Puerto Rico, helping to rebuild and restore the lives of those affected by the damage done.

Help us rebuild homes in Puerto Rico.

Today, thousands of homes in Puerto Rico have not yet been repaired.

One such group was a team of volunteers from Grace Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia. In February 2018, nine volunteers from the church’s congregation traveled to Carolina, Puerto Rico, a township just outside of San Juan. When they arrived, they worked under the guidance of Pastor Jesus Garcia, the head of the Iglesia Bautista de Metropol, to help repair houses.

One month after they returned from their trip, Mr. Carter attended a forum at Grace Baptist Church where he heard from the congregation’s volunteers about their rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico. Their stories deeply moved Mr. Carter. He immediately contacted Pastor Garcia to learn ways in which Children Incorporated could get involved.

Our Hope In Action Fund

In June of 2018, Children Incorporated sent an initial contribution of $10,000 to Puerto Rico, thanks to our Hope In Action Fund, to help with rebuilding efforts in and around San Juan in conjunction with Pastor Garcia.

Much to Mr. Carter’s delight, the funds were used in diverse ways beyond just repairing homes — personal belongings were also replaced, and food was provided to many children and families. It was apparent to Mr. Carter that Pastor Garcia was a great leader and very well connected to the needs of his community.

Providing a helping hand

In February 2019, Mr. Carter got personally involved with Pastor Garcia’s work in Puerto Rico. Along with another group of volunteers from Grace Baptist Church, he participated in a home rebuilding and re-roofing project near the Iglesia Bautista de Metropol.

Mr. Carter also spent time with Pastor Garcia discussing possible ways that Children Incorporated could provide additional aid, especially for children whose families were still recovering from the hurricane.

As we help those who are recovering from a natural disaster, we not only hope to support them in mending their lives, but we also hope to help families and communities come back stronger and more connected than ever.

When they met in person, Pastor Garcia presented the perfect opportunity to Mr. Carter. He explained that the grounds around his church are spacious and fenced in. The property is also under regular adult supervision to keep children attending the church safe.

For this reason, the churchyard has become a gathering place for kids in the community to play even when the church is not open. Pastor Garcia expressed to Mr. Carter that he would love to raise funds for the constitution of a proper playground on the bare church grounds.

More projects in the works

As they continued their conversation, Mr. Carter and Pastor Garcia also discussed the possibility of starting a child sponsorship program in Puerto Rico.

Additionally, Pastor Garcia presented an opportunity for Children Incorporated to work with a home for physically and emotionally handicapped adults in San Juan. Mr. Carter visited the center with Pastor Garcia before his trip ended and saw an obvious need for support.

When Mr. Carter returned to our office in Virginia, he immediately approved funding for Pastor Garcia’s playground.

Over the next months, we look forward to updating our supporters and donors on our continued work in Puerto Rico. As we help those who are recovering from a natural disaster, we not only hope to support them in mending their lives, but we also hope to help families and communities come back stronger and more connected than ever.

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How do I get involved in helping children in Puerto Rico?

You can get involved with our work in Puerto Rico by contacting our office. Call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.