Tag Archives: help children

The High Cost of City Living

No matter where you are in the world, it tends to be more expensive to live in big cities. Rent and housing costs in major cities are often higher than in rural areas. Products purchased in stores can be more costly as well in urban settings — including basic needs like food and clothing.

“Of all the homes I have visited in South Korea, the Shin Mang Ae Children’s Home receives the largest allocation per child, but the cost of sustaining each child is much higher.”

– Luis Bourdet

Children Incorporated has two projects in and near one of South Korea’s largest cities, Daegu. With a population of around 2.5 million people, Daegu is the fourth-largest city in the country.

The city itself is known for Eastern medicine, impeccable lawns and a national museum with Buddhist relics and culture, and although not as expensive to live in as Seoul or Busan (South Korea’s two largest cities), living costs are still higher than in many other smaller Korean cities.

The Shin Mang Ae Children’s Home

Located within the city limits of Daegu, the Shin Mang Ae Children’s Home provides sponsored and unsponsored children in our program with a nurturing environment, nutritious food and medical care throughout the year, and a well-rounded education.

The nicely-maintained complex that makes up the home is comprised of three large dormitories, a dining room, a kitchen, a chapel and storage buildings. Children attend local schools and enjoy activities in the afternoons, like volleyball, basketball and baseball.

Upon visiting the home, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, noted that the lawn of the home was incredibly well maintained, like other residential and commercial properties within the city.

It tends to be more expensive to live in big cities, such as in Daegu in South Korea.

“The home’s current director is the son of the late founder of the Shin Mang Ae Children’s Home. His mother had dedicated the later years of her life to improving the home and creating an immaculate lawn for the children to enjoy,” explained Luis.

Thirty-eight children live at the home — our sponsors support fifteen of them. Beyond donations provided by Children Incorporated, the home receives funds from the local government as well as from local churches and other Korean donors.   

The importance of sponsorship

“Of all the homes I have visited in South Korea, the Shin Mang Ae Children’s Home receives the largest allocation per child, but the cost of sustaining each child is much higher,’” said Luis.

Even with all the outside help the home receives, Luis knows that the Children Incorporated sponsorship program is incredibly important to our sponsored children, and for more reasons than one.

According to Luis, sponsorship funds are mainly utilized to cover educational expenses and other basic needs like shoes and clothes that are not covered by government contributions.

“The director of the home indicated that support from our program is vital to the children to provide for unexpected educational expenses, like when books and school supplies are not provided by the school.”

“The children also love connecting with their sponsors and receiving the extra help,” stated Luis.

Love your neighbor

The Ae Hyang Children’s Home (whose name means “love your neighbor”), is located an hour outside of Daegu. The home is made up of a main building with dormitories which are surrounded by a hilly forest. School-aged children attend local public schools, where they receive instruction in core academic subjects as well as rudimentary English.

Even though the home isn’t technically within the city, administrators still struggle with expenses related to high costs of city living. Unfortunately, compared to other homes that Children Incorporated affiliates with, the government provides a very low amount to the Ae Hyang Children’s Home.

According to Luis, sponsorship funds are mainly utilized to cover educational expenses and other basic needs like shoes and clothes.

“Sponsorship support is very much needed at the Ae Hyang Children’s Home because government support doesn’t cover all the needs of the children,” 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.

How Poverty Impacts Academic Achievement

In our work at Children Incorporated, we often talk about the importance of getting an education. For children in our program, we believe education is the key to finding jobs upon graduation that will enable them to work toward breaking the cycle of poverty from which they come.

Unfortunately, statistics show that children growing up in impoverished households often perform less well academically than their peers.

The challenges of living below the poverty line

Jackie is pictured here with one of our sponsored children at Beaver Creek Elementary School.

As reported by the non-profit Operation Warm’s website, “Children living above the poverty line are entering kindergarten more prepared than those below it. High-income families are able to put more money towards their children’s cognitive development than those living in poverty.”

“Parents with low incomes, on average, have less time to read to their children, no-funds for pre-school, and less stable home environments. The difference in preparation tends to persist through elementary and high school.”

Beavers Are Achievers

According to our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, this achievement gap is prevalent in some of our affiliated schools in Eastern Kentucky, and specifically at Beaver Creek Elementary School in Knott County. Located in the small community of Topmost, families of children enrolled at Beaver Creek Elementary face rampant poverty. They struggle to overcome the common socioeconomic problems that plague Knott County such as adult illiteracy, school absenteeism, child obesity and substance abuse.

“There is no question that poverty can impact academic achievement in ways ranging from lack of books in the home to transportation barriers that make it difficult to travel to cultural and historic sites,” stated Renée. 

While visiting Beaver Creek Elementary School, Renée met with our volunteer coordinator Jackie, who Renée describes as incredibly devoted to helping her students.

During their meeting, Jackie explained that although the school motto is “Beavers Are Achievers!” the children are struggling academically as they aim to reach their goals. The school’s test scores lag behind state averages, reaching only the 51st percentile in reading and just the 38th percentile in math in state ranking.

“There is no question that poverty can impact academic achievement in ways ranging from lack of books in the home to transportation barriers that make it difficult to travel to cultural and historic sites,” stated Renée. 

Making kids feel loved

Often times while visiting our affiliated projects, Renée visits with parents of children enrolled in our program.

Jackie told Renée that one of the biggest challenges in the community — and the county as a whole — is coping with drug addiction and the lack of treatment options for it. The fallout affects many children, resulting in those who are raised by grandparents or other family members, or those who still live at home with their parents, but are being neglected and raise themselves.

Jackie feels fortunate that a local church brings food to the school’s Resource Center for her weekend Backpack Feeding Program. She says that the Children Incorporated sponsorship program is vital in helping with clothing, shoes and school supplies throughout the year. Jackie also values how sponsors make her students feel special and let them know that someone
cares for them.

Meeting two special parents

After taking a tour of the building and grounds, Jackie was happy to show Renée the Family Resource Center where she had asked two of her parents, Raven and Scottie, to thank our organization on behalf of all the parents of sponsored children.

While meeting with Raven and Scottie, Renée could tell they were both very dedicated to their children.

“Raven is a homemaker. Scottie was unemployed for a long time but has recently gotten a job at a small, local non-profit community center. The pay is meager. They told me that our sponsorship program has meant so much to their little girls, and that it warms their hearts to see the excitement their sponsors bring to their children,” said Renée.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN KENTUCKY?

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

A Decline in Enrollment

Emmalena Elementary School is located on State Highway 550 in the western part of Knott County, Kentucky just west of the community of Clear Creek.

“The community of Clear Creek was the site of a 1970s women’s occupation and protest against strip and surface mining, especially the practice that allowed coal operators to tear up private land to reach underground minerals,” explains Renée Kube, Children Incorporated’s Director of U.S. Programs.

Renée is pictured with one of our sponsored children at Emmalena Elementary School.

“Some small, independent operators had opened mines, made quick profits, and then left, leaving the community to cope with damaged land and polluted water.”

“Today the community feels loyalty to the operators who ran good mines but still mourns the loss of good jobs while hoping and looking ahead to the future,” said Renée.

Leaving home to find work

On a trip to Knott County to visit our affiliated project Emmalena Elementary School, Renée met with our volunteer coordinator at the school, Pam.

Pam told Renée that because of the mine closures, parents were forced to leave Clear Creek to find work outside of town. As a result, the school had shown a significant decline in enrollment in recent years.

Of those parents who were able to stay in Clear Creek, some found jobs in the county seat or by commuting to Hazard for work daily. Others are self-employed at a variety of work from fixing cars to cutting wood.

Unfortunately, many of these jobs are low-paying, and the community has a high poverty rate — 89% of students receive free or reduced lunch through the National School Lunch Program.

Pam feels fortunate to have other additional resources to help her find inexpensive items for the many children at her school that are living in poverty.

Shopping for kids in need

Emmalena Elementary School educates 196 children from kindergarten to eighth grade. During their meeting, Pam told Renée that she likes to take advantage of Back-to-School sales in July at stores in nearby Hazard so that she can maximize the number of clothes, shoes, book bags and school supplies she can purchase with funds provided by our sponsors.

Pam makes another big shopping trip in December for winter clothing, including warm outfits, coats and snow boots for sponsored children who would otherwise go without these important items in the cold winter months.

Pam feels fortunate to have other additional resources to help her find inexpensive items for the many children at her school that are living in poverty. One such resource is the Christian Appalachian Project, a warehouse of free overstock, discontinued or imperfect merchandise offered at a low cost. She also works collaboratively with the county extension service and health department.

Gratitude for our sponsors

During her visit, Pam arranged for Renée to meet a mom of two children in our program, Lydia.*  Lydia is a teacher’s aide at Emmalena Elementary School. Her husband is disabled, and they are both hard-pressed to provide for their kids.

“Lydia expressed to me how grateful she was for the help she receives from her children’s sponsors. It makes a massive difference for the whole family,” said Renée.

Renée  also meet a special boy named Michael.* Michael was enrolled in our program last May and is still unsponsored. He is in first grade and likes science.

Michael, his sister and his brother are being raised by their grandmother, who is a homemaker. She is raising them on a limited amount of public assistance that includes kinship care, which gives aid to people who are raising related children, keeping them out of the foster care system.

“Michael’s siblings are currently sponsored through our program. Michael is hoping that he will also have the opportunity to have a sponsor soon because he realizes how much it helps his grandmother and his whole family,” said Renée.

*Names changed to protect the individuals.

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How do I sponsor a child in Kentucky?

You can sponsor a child in Kentucky in one of 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.

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 fifteen 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.

To Be Loved and Looked After

We know well that sponsorship support is valuable to children living in poverty both physically and psychologically.

That was especially apparent for our Director of International Programs Luis Bourdet while he was visiting the Sung Ae Children’s Home in South Korea.

According to our volunteer coordinator, Ms. Cho, who oversees all of our projects in South Korea, the support received from Children Incorporated sponsors is valuable in many different ways.

While at the home, which is located outside of Korea’s capital of Seoul, Luis found that the support children receive from their sponsors is utilized not only to provide clothing and shoes for them but also for educational needs that government funding does not cover, such as funds for fields trips.

But while there, Luis also found that many of the orphaned children who are living at the Sung Ae Children’s Home are learning for the first time in their lives what it means to be loved and looked after.

Helping children achieve their goals

According to our volunteer coordinator, Ms. Cho, who oversees all of our projects in South Korea, the support received from Children Incorporated sponsors is valuable in many different ways.

“Ms. Cho indicated that our partnership is significant not only in its financial aspect, but in its psychological effect on children as well. The orphans appreciate that people from far away and unknown to them can help them achieve their goals,” said Luis.

That caring love from sponsors goes a long way in encouraging children to do their best, especially for children who do not have parents of their own to encourage them. 

The Sung Ae Children’s Home

Like many South Korean orphanages, the Sung Ae Children’s Home traces its origin to efforts to address the postwar crisis after World II.

Caring love from sponsors goes a long way in encouraging children to do their best as they grow.

The home is in the suburban town of Incheon, just 30 miles from Seoul, where orphaned, underprivileged children in the region are provided with a safe, nurturing home, nutritious food and medical care.  

The home serves children ranging in ages from four to eighteen. The home itself consists of large, attractive dormitories, offices, an auditorium, a dining hall and a kitchen.

“Many of the buildings are new, updated only a few years ago,” said Luis. “I was very pleased to see the government had funded the updates so that the children have a beautiful home to live in.”

While living at the Sung Ae Children’s Home, sponsored and unsponsored children attend local public schools, where they receive instruction in core academic subjects and rudimentary English. Children receive three nutritious meals each day, with kimchi (the peppery cabbage-based staple of the Korean diet) occupying a prominent place on the table.

Working hard and having fun

In addition to rigorous schooling and education-related activities, the children perform a variety of assigned chores at the home, but they also get to have fun.

It is the priority of the administrators of the home to make sure that the children grow up in the safest places possible where they are encouraged to succeed and continuously feel loved and looked after until they reach adulthood.

Recreational activities in the afternoon and on weekends include flying kites and playing sports like soccer and volleyball. Field trips into Seoul are a special treat, where the children get to visit parks, shrines and museums. Picnics are also popular.

Protecting Children

According to Luis, Children Incorporated currently sponsors 19 of the 58 children living at the home.

In addition to assistance from our program, the home also receives a large amount of help from the Korean Government, which covers costs such as housing and educational expenses to make sure the children have everything they need.

While Luis met with Ms. Cho, she expressed to him that the home overtly emphasizes that protection of the children. Because they do not have a family of their own to protect them, she makes sure they are safeguarded from any harm at all times. It is the priority of the administrators of the home to make sure that the children grow up in the safest places possible where they are encouraged to succeed and continuously feel loved and looked after until they reach adulthood.

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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.