Tag Archives: help children in kentucky

In late July of this year, we reported on the massive flooding that occurred in Eastern Kentucky, which devastated many of the communities in which we work. Storms followed by rising water damaged homes and schools, leaving families of our sponsored children without a place a live — and in dire need of emergency relief.

In the first week after the flooding, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, sent $1000 to each of the 43 Family Resource Centers at our affiliated schools in the countries and cities with the worst flood damage, all thanks to previous donations to our Hope In Action Fund.

By early August, further contributions to our Emergency Flood Relief Fund totaled more than $22,000.

Helping families through an emergency

By early August, further contributions to our Emergency Flood Relief Fund totaled more than $22,000 as our donors generously supported our efforts to get aid to Kentucky as quickly as possible. We were able to disburse these funds to communities to support clean up and recovery efforts and replace destroyed items that children will need for the upcoming fall and winter months.

Many of our affiliated sites in Eastern Kentucky have been devastated by flooding in July.

We are just now starting to receive thank you letters from our volunteer coordinators, as they have been working around the clock, tirelessly helping rebuild their schools and communities, all while helping to ensure children in our program, who are already living in poverty, are receiving basic needs through this disaster.

A letter from Kelli

Today, we want to share a letter of gratitude from Kelli at Breathitt County Jr.-Sr. High School, who wrote to our donors to say thank you for the support:

“I want to say thank you so much for the Flood Relief Funds. My students, families and county as a whole have suffered so much from this flood. I was able to go to Walmart and buy brand new items for the students. Girls asked for underwear and bras and comfortable clothes. The boys also asked for underwear, as well as socks and hoodies to stay warm.”

“While we had an outpouring of donations after the floods, a lot of items were used and were not always the right sizes for my students. The new items were taken to the students and families that were displaced and living in the homeless shelters. Thanks again for your generosity. You don’t know how much it was appreciated.” 

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How Can I Support Families in Eastern Kentucky?

You can help families in Eastern Kentucky by donation to our Hope In Action Fund. You can make a donation 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 click the link below to be directed to our online donation portal.

DONATE

As our Floyd County, Kentucky virtual visit series comes to a close, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, tells us about our newest affiliated site in the area, Betsy Lane High School, and how valuable so many of our programs are to its Family Resource Center coordinator, Anita.

As our Floyd County, Kentucky virtual visit series comes to a close, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, tells us about our newest affiliated site in the area, Betsy Lane High School.

“Betsy Lane High School officially began partnering with Children Incorporated October 2020, with a few kids transferring in from other affiliated schools. Our Volunteer Coordinator, Anita, added more enrolled students in November of the same year. Around this time, we also sent some start-up funds from the Warm Clothing Fund so the teens could have warm coats while they were waiting to be matched with sponsors.”

“The school is one of three public high schools in the county. It is located between the communities of Betsy Lane and Stanville, and is south-southeast from the county seat, Prestonsburg. The school serves about 372 students in grades 9-12. School officials are rightfully proud of its 98% graduation rate. However, this achievement is hard won, as most of the students fall below the state average on test scores. About 77% of the students come from low-income families.”

Anita pictured with one of our sponsored children.

“During our “virtual visit” via FaceTime, Anita shared she was a former Family Resource Youth Services Center coordinator who retired early to help care for her grandchildren. When they got older, she decided to come back to work and was thrilled when there was an opening at Betsy Lane.”

“Anita is very enthusiastic about working with Children Incorporated. In March 2021, there was a severe flood in the county and surrounding areas. Our organization was able to send funds for flood relief to our affiliated schools that were impacted, including Betsy Lane High School. Anita bought and delivered supplies ranging from bleach to mops and buckets to laundry detergent. The families were so appreciative.”

“This school year, Anita asked for help to establish a weekend backpack feeding program. Thanks to our U.S. Feeding Fund, we were able to respond to this need.”

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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

written by Renée Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our U.S. Programs Specialist and an outstanding network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renée's stories

This week’s edition of Stories of Hope continues with our “virtual tour” of Floyd County, Kentucky. Our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, visits with our volunteer coordinator, Michelle, at James D. Adams Middle School, to tell us more about their school, community, and the power of working together to help children and their families.

Renée’s visit

“Adams Middle School is a rather small school located in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. It has the capacity to accommodate around 335 students in grades 6th through 8th. The poverty rate here is 64% — not as high as some other surrounding areas, but still significant and crushing for many families trying to make ends meet.”

Michelle is very proud of how quickly and well everyone worked together to create lesson plans and navigate continuing to communicate with the children while they were at home.

“Our Volunteer Coordinator at the school is Michelle. She is a long-serving coordinator for both the Family Resource Youth Services Center and for Children Incorporated.

Michelle told me during our virtual meeting that at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, the entire staff and administration of Adams Middle scrambled to figure out how to educate and to serve the children. She is very proud of how quickly and well everyone worked together to create lesson plans and navigate continuing to communicate with the children while they were at home. The school buses even transported food to students’ homes rather than them coming to the school for bagged lunches – which prevented so many children in this community from going hungry.”

challenges for students at home

“Michelle told me that most students were able to get online to do their work, and many stayed with grandparents during the day while their parents worked. But, a sizable portion of students did not have internet access at home. The Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg was one of the first local businesses that invited families to park in their parking lots during the day and sit in their cars to access the WIFI from inside the building, which for some students was their only means to connect and learn.”

“Additionally, as with many other schools in Eastern Kentucky, and around the United States, the 2020-2021 school year was delayed due to rising infection rates but had since started back fully in-person. Then sadly, things got bad again.”

Consistency in uncertain times

“When this new 2021-2022 school year started, and all the kids were together playing sports and having activities and club meetings, there was a quick uptick in cases. Infection rates and hospitalizations jumped in August and September and then declined slowly through December of last year. There was another surge in January and February of this year, the highest the area had seen yet. Cases have since declined again but remain high. There is without a doubt a lot of ‘COVID fatigue’ amount students, faculty, and parents.

Despite the difficulties, Michelle has been working hard to provide for the children, and she is deeply grateful for the sponsors’ support, which offered her, and the children in our program, some much-needed consistency during such uncertain times.”

***

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

written by Renée Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our U.S. Programs Specialist and an outstanding network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renée's stories

Our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, has two more stops on her virtual tour of Floyd County, Kentucky, which she conducted this past spring. Today, Renée met with Sharon at May Valley Elementary School to hear about how our sponsors are supporting students in this small community.

Meeting with Sharon

“May Valley is located in the community of Martin, right off of Kentucky Route 80. It is a busier and more bustling community than Eastern or Grethel. Martin has a grocery store, a gas/convenience mart, and a Walgreens pharmacy — which doesn’t sound like much but is more than some towns have in this part of the U.S.”

Sharon has always been very active on behalf of her students and readily asks Children Incorporated for extra assistance from our Hope In Action Program.

“The school educates 341 students in pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade. The children here are performing higher than the state average on state tests, which is wonderful, considering that a majority of them come from difficult circumstances. The poverty rate at May Valley is high — 78% of households struggle to make ends meet.”

“The Family Resource Center Coordinator, Sharon, is also our volunteer coordinator. Sharon is an experienced, long serving coordinator who will be retiring in September 2022 and will be greatly missed by all of us at Children Incorporated, and I am sure by her students and the staff at May Valley.”

Our special funds helping kids in need

“Sharon has always been very active on behalf of her students and readily asks Children Incorporated for extra assistance from our Hope In Action Program, as funds are needed. We have been glad to help, and Sharon is very appreciative of our sponsors and donors.”

“We have recently provided aid for two little girls who had no beds. Thanks to our Beds and Linens Fund, the girls now have cozy beds of their own, ensuring they are well rested and ready to learn.”

“Sharon requested travelers’ aid for a little boy and his mother. The boy needed special surgery and was referred to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Thanks to our donors, we were able to provide some assistance with food and gas to and from the hospital, which the family desperately needed with no means to have emergency savings. We were delighted to hear that the young man came through his surgery with flying colors and made an excellent recovery!”

A letter from Sharon

After receiving Hope In Action funding, Sharon sent us to thank our donors for the support. Sharon wrote:

‘I would like to express my appreciation for your generous donation. I completed a home visit recently and saw dire circumstances. The home visit was to assess the living conditions of two little girls, their maternal grandmother, and their maternal great grandmother. The girls’ mother has not been able to look after them for some time. After the death of the mothers’ husband, she lost the family home.’

Sharon sent a photo of the new beds along with her letter of appreciation.

‘The two women rented a house, but it caught fire, and they lost everything. Thankfully, a relative had a small house left to her, and she has allowed the four of them to move into it. When I arrived at this house, among other things, I found that one of the girls was sleeping in the only bed. The two adult women and the other girl were sleeping on an old mattress on the floor.’

‘I called Children Incorporated and spoke to the U.S. Program Director, Renée Kube, who said right away that help could be provided. Renée also mentioned that a special gift had been given by two sponsors to be used for children in the Appalachian Mountain region. My school is located in Floyd County in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. There is a high poverty rate here and many families are struggling.’

‘With the funds, I purchased a set of bunk beds and mattresses for the girls, and a twin bed and mattress for their grandmother. The top bunk has a built-in desk. Arlene and Mary put two stools there, and the girls sit together and do their homework and studies.’

‘The girls are so, so happy with their new beds and want me to thank you for caring about them. They are so appreciative. You have made a huge difference in the girls’ healthy sleep, comfort, and education.’

***

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

written by Renée Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our U.S. Programs Specialist and an outstanding network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renée's stories

Historic thunderstorms struck southeastern Kentucky from the late evening of Wednesday, July 27th through Thursday, July 28th. The storms produced at least 6″ of rain within a 24-hour period. More rain fell the following Friday and Saturday, bringing the total to 14″-16″ of rainfall within a five-day period. The storms triggered both flash flooding of creeks and severe river flooding. The flooding also caused mudslides, and torrents of water and mud washed away small bridges, roads, and homes.

Donors and sponsors who wish to make extra contributions are gratefully welcomed to do so. These contributions will be put into our Hope In Action Fund for additional disaster relief and related emergencies and needs.

A devastating event

The death toll stands currently at 37 and is sadly expected to rise, as many people remain unaccounted for. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear described it as “one of the worst and most devastating events in Kentucky’s history.”

Many of the hardest hit counties are in areas where Children Incorporated is serving. Our hearts have been very heavy as we read the articles and watched the film footage of the flooding. Our amazing volunteer coordinators in southeastern Kentucky have just begun to contact us and send their own pictures and stories.

Children Incorporated is joining the call to help and has already sent $42,000 in disaster relief funds to our affiliated sites in the greatest impacted areas. Our coordinators will use these contributions to purchase items the children and their families need most — from bottled water to nonperishable food, from bleach to detergent, from antibiotic ointment to band-aids, and more. Our caring sponsors’ regular contributions are also being sent, and our coordinators plan to buy clothing for the children.

Thanks to our Hope In Action Fund, we are able to respond immediately to disasters and emergencies.

How you can help

In the midst of the heartache, we are also hearing inspiring stories of help coming from all across our country, and stories of local residents helping one another from rooftop rescues to horseback checkups to the daunting and extensive cleanup efforts. Schools in border counties are being used as shelters or staging areas. Initial aid is being distributed from unaffected buildings and dry parking lots, and this aid will steadily expand in scope as cleanup and repair efforts continue.

Donors and sponsors who wish to make extra contributions are gratefully welcomed to do so. We will continue to support flood-related efforts through your kind and generous donations to our Hope In Action Fund. Thank you all for your support of children and families in Kentucky during this emergency and for all you do for children around the world throughout the year.

DONATE TODAY

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written by Renée Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our U.S. Programs Specialist and an outstanding network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renée's stories

As a part of our 2022 “Virtual Visit” series, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, takes us to Duff-Allen Central Elementary in Floyd County, Kentucky where she “meets” with Scott, our volunteer coordinator, at the school.

“Duff-Allen Central Elementary is a large elementary school also located in the community of Eastern. It serves about 626 students from pre-kindergarten to 8th grade. It was formerly two separate schools on the same campus – James A. Duff Elementary and Allen Central Middle – but the Board of Education voted to consolidate and have just one set of administrators.”

“Scott closed by saying his favorite part of our sponsorship program is the simple, ordinary things, like meeting a family in need in Walmart, which might feel mundane to us. But the kids in our program are over the moon with excitement to be there!”

“The Family Resource Youth Services Center has always been a combined center for both the elementary and middle students. Its coordinator, Scott, is our volunteer coordinator.”

“Many students at the school struggle academically and financially, and the situation became worse during the pandemic. At present, the Algebra 1 participation rate is just 11%, and the pass rate is less than 1%. The rate of children living in poverty is 77%.”

“When we met virtually, Scott expressed how happy he is now that the school has returned to fully in-person instruction over the last semester. Parents and guardians still have the choice to enroll their children into the county-wide Virtual Academy due to medical conditions or other vulnerabilities if they prefer. In fact, Scott’s wife is the principal of the Virtual Academy! Scott made a point to mention that regardless of the virtual option, all administrators, faculty, and staff at Duff-Allen believe strongly that in-person instruction is best for the students and their education and well-being.”

Scott did express to me that he has had some struggles during the pandemic. In the beginning, with school on fully remote instruction, students and parents were less responsive. It was hard to coordinate services, but things are starting to turn around. He is now very busy making home visits and taking stock of his office and resources. He is extremely grateful for the extra support provided by Children Incorporated during the pandemic, as well as during last year’s severe spring flooding in the area. He mentioned that now, he could really use help with his clothes closet, as he is totally out of important items like leggings and socks and underwear.”

“Scott closed by saying his favorite part of our sponsorship program is the simple, ordinary things, like meeting a family in need in Walmart, which might feel mundane to us. But the kids in our program are over the moon with excitement to be there! Scott remembers one of his former families consisted of two sets of twins, and their family experienced extreme poverty. He will always remember the twins for their enthusiasm and great appreciation for their sponsors, because their support allowed them to pick out clothing that was new and fit them — something they had never gotten to do before in their lives.”

***

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

written by Renée Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our U.S. Programs Specialist and an outstanding network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renée's stories