Tag Archives: help children

Pride in Her Students

For years, Catlettsburg, where our affiliated projects Catlettsburg Elementary and Ponderosa Elementary Schools are located, was known as “The Gate City” because it was here that barges were loaded with coal to be shipped down the Ohio River to other ports.

Although the children may come from strikingly different economic backgrounds, that doesn’t change how they interact with one other.

The decline of the coal industry in Kentucky and West Virginia has severely diminished the city’s economic importance, and commerce is now minimal. Today, this area of Boyd County, Kentucky suffers from high rates of both poverty and illiteracy, since a significant number of adults have never completed high school.

These social and economic problems negatively affect even the youngest members of Catlettsburg, which is why both Ponderosa and Catlettsburg Elementary serve as bright and welcoming places for children to learn and escape some of the harsh realities they face at home.

The Haves and Have Nots

While visiting the two schools, our Director of U.S. Programs Renée Kube, met with our volunteer coordinator Jenny. Jenny oversees the resource centers at both schools, ensuring that children — including sponsored and unsponsored children in our program — are receiving basic needs throughout the school year.

During their meeting, Jenny explained to Renée that because Boyd County is located in a very rural and beautiful part of the country, Catlettsburg has become a popular place for middle and upper-class families to build homes. Jenny feels that because of this migration, the student population is divided more conspicuously into the “haves and have nots.”

Although the children may come from strikingly different economic backgrounds, that doesn’t change how they interact with one other.

While the administration, faculty and staff of the schools may know which families struggle and which do not, Jenny says the students are very close and treat each other with kindness and respect.

Additionally, as a tight-knit group, the children are more than willing to come together to help other students in need — even those that are far away.

Additionally, as a tight-knit group, the children are more than willing to come together to help other students in need — even those that are far away.

Rising to a challenge

Before their meeting ended, Jenny told Renée a story expressing how much pride she had in her students.

In 2018, the deadly Camp Fire burned down much of the town of Paradise, California — including a school also named Ponderosa Elementary School. Not long after the fire, the principal of Ponderosa Elementary School in Catlettsburg was informed about a nationwide fundraiser through another Ponderosa Elementary School in Oregon.

The fundraiser, deemed “Pennies for Ponderosa Initiative” requested that the eleven schools named Ponderosa Elementary School in the United States collect donations for the rebuilding of the California school.

The children at Jenny’s school stepped up to the challenge. They not only raised money to help students on the other side of the country, but also sent video messages of hope and encouragement as they and their families worked to rebuild their lives.

Whether coming from an impoverished background or not, children at Ponderosa Elementary School showed that they were willing to do anything they could to help others in need — and that is something to be proud of.

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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.

Escaping a Poor Education

In the town of Santa Tecla, located six miles west of El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador, our affiliated project, the Marillac School is providing children with the opportunity to receive an education — and a quality one at that.

Communities and schools around the world face barriers in providing children with a quality education.

Founded in 1940 by the Sisters of the Order of St. Vincent de Paul, the school serves as not only an escape from the harsh realities local students face growing up in poverty but an escape from poor public education or no education at all.

Considered a semi-private institution, the administrators of the Marillac School — with sponsorship support from the Children Incorporated program — work hard to ensure that kids are receiving basic needs and the best education that they can provide. This gives our sponsored and unsponsored children the opportunity to succeed.

What constitutes poor education?

Children at the Marillac School

Communities and schools around the world face barriers to providing children with a quality education. Lack of adequate funding to educational institutions can lead to overcrowded classrooms with little or no resources for students. Untrained teachers, lack of proper food and improper classroom facilities can also significantly affect children’s ability to learn.

The consequences of an inadequate education

What are the consequences of an inadequate education? Poor education can lead to illiteracy. It also inhibits children from qualifying for higher education or being prepared to join the workforce later in life. Children who aren’t properly education tend to be less healthy than those who do and are susceptible to turning towards crime and remaining in poverty in adulthood.

A better chance at a future

For impoverished children around the world, like those at the Marallic School, the benefits of quality education are tremendous.

Higher quality of education are associated with positive outcomes such as better health and well-being and a greater interest in politics and social issues. Students who attend quality schools gain a competitive advantage at getting jobs upon graduation, which can lead to a higher income and the chance for a family to break the cycle of poverty. Quality education also can discourage crime because when educated, children feel a sense of hope and opportunity for a brighter future for themselves and their loved ones.

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How do I sponsor a child in El Salvador?

You can sponsor a child in El Salvador 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 El Salvador that is available for sponsorship.

Welfare in the Wake of Disaster

Built in response to the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras more than twenty years ago, our affiliated project El Refugio Welfare Center continues to support children in the rural town of El Progreso to this day.

Yet despite the difficulties, local children who attend the El Refugio Welfare Center can rely on support from administrators — as well as their Children Incorporated sponsors — for a consistent supply of food, clothing and educational materials.

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch claimed thousands of lives, causing catastrophic flooding and landslides. It remains the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record, causing over 11,000 fatalities in Central America — 7,000 of those being in Honduras alone. The damage was so extensive that the Honduran president estimated that the storm set the nation’s economic development back 50 years.

Recovering after devastation

Over the last two decades, the progress of rebuilding homes and schools in El Progreso has been very slow. Residents still grapple with the aftershocks of homelessness, disease and heightened poverty.

Yet despite the difficulties, local children who attend the El Refugio Welfare Center can rely on support from administrators — as well as their Children Incorporated sponsors — for a consistent supply of food, clothing and educational materials.

A special thank-you

At our office in Richmond, Virginia, we often receive pictures and video updates from our volunteer coordinators about the impact that sponsorship has on children in our program. Sometimes, these personal communications from our affiliated projects are simply just a way to say “thank-you” to our sponsors for all that they do to help children in need.

Recently, our volunteer coordinator at El Refugio sent a short video of our sponsored children to thank us — as well our all of our supporters — for twenty-years of changing the lives of kids in Honduras. We at Children Incorporated are equally grateful that, thanks to our donors and supporters, we can continue to support kids at El Refugio for the next twenty years.

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How do I sponsor a child in Honduras?

You can sponsor a child in Honduras 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 who is available for sponsorship.

Backpacks Full of Food to the Rescue

Boyd County Middle School is located in the isolated and rural town of Cannonsburg, Kentucky.

When children don’t eat enough, it can shorten their attention span, lower their IQ and keep them from performing well in school.

Like many of Kentucky’s Eastern Coal Field communities, Cannonsburg has suffered significantly from the decline of the coal mining industry. At the height of the coal operations, Boyd County was an essential and active port city for the transport of coal along the Ohio River.

Today, many of its residents live in dismal poverty. Illiteracy and high dropout rates are significant problems in the area.

Thankfully, students at Boyd County Middle School have caring teachers and staff that work hard to motivate and educate them so that they can graduate and become successful members of their community.

A newly renovated school

Not only do students at the school have a supportive group of administrators to help them, but according to our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, they also have newly renovated school buildings to enjoy.

Unfortunately, for many children living in poverty, their only meals of the day can often be those they receive at school.

On a recent visit to Boyd County Middle School, Renée marveled at the new entrance façade, energy efficient windows, improved access to the gym and a new bus loading/unloading area designed to help with traffic congestion during peak times — all updates from the last time she visited the school a few years ago.

A lack of adequate food at home

While at the school, Renée also got a chance to meet with our volunteer coordinator, Vicki. Vicki told Renée that Boyd County Middle School serves 729 students in sixth through eighth grades. Fifty-seven percent of those children come from low-income families. These children often come to school without proper clothes, shoes and school supplies. Many of them don’t have adequate food at home either.

“Vicki expressed to me that her biggest need is for more help with her Weekend Backpack Food Program, which is currently assisting over 100 children,” said Renée.

Why is backpack feeding necessary?

Sending children home on Friday afternoons with non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food ensures that they get enough food on weekends and holidays when they can’t rely on a getting a nutritious meal at school.

Unfortunately, lack of food in the home for families living in poverty is an issue that many children in the United States face. According to Feeding America’s website, “Twenty-two million children receive free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program and the National School Breakfast Program. For many of these children, school meals may be the only meals they eat.”

Roughly 13 million kids in America today don’t have enough food to eat on the weekends. One in five kids in our country goes without access to affordable, nutritious food on Saturdays and Sundays. Lack of adequate food leads to health problems in addition to hunger. When children don’t eat enough, it can shorten their attention span, lower their IQ and keep them from performing well in school.

Because of these harsh realities, backpack feeding programs like Vicki’s at Boyd County Middle School are crucial for children. Sending children home on Friday afternoons with non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food ensures that they get enough food on weekends and holidays when they can’t rely on a getting a nutritious meal at school.

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HOW DO I SUPPORT BACKPACK FEEDING PROGRAMS IN THE U.S.?

Our U.S. Feeding Program provides support for Backpack Feeding Programs at our affiliated projects. To donate, call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members, email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org or visit https://childrenincorporated.org/u-s-feeding-programs/ to make an online donation.

Support for the Long-Term

When our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, was contacted by Deb from Carr Creek Elementary School in Knott County, Kentucky twelve years ago, Renée had no idea how much of an affect that one phone call would have on children in need.

During a recent visit to Carr Creek Elementary School, Renée got a chance to see first-hand just how proud Deb is of the partnership she has created with Children Incorporated.

Deb had heard about the Children Incorporated sponsorship program during a regional Family Resource and Youth Services Center meeting among administrators and staff. After hearing about what sponsors were doing for children living in poverty, Deb knew she needed to get in touch with Renée about the urgent needs of impoverished kids at Carr Creek.

After talking with Deb, Renée agreed to partner with her and Carr Creek Elementary School — making them our first affiliated project in Knott County.

More schools in need

Before Renée knew it, the word about our organization’s support at Carr Creek had reached other Resource Center coordinators in Knott County. They each followed in Deb’s footsteps, calling to request partnering with Children Incorporated. Today, thanks to Deb’s initiative, we support thousands of children in dozens of affiliated schools in Kentucky.

Deb with one of our sponsored children

Not only was Deb the first coordinator to get in touch about our sponsorship program Knott County, but according to Renée, she is also the first coordinator in the state to submit a Hope in Action Fund request that was for more than just one-time aid for a particular emergency.

“Deb submitted a proposal on efforts to enrich the students’ knowledge in social studies because the results of their standardized test scores were very low,” explained Renée.

“She then designed a summer camp program with instructors that taught concepts in a fun and engaging manner. Before the program began, Deb created pre-tests for the students to take. After the program ended, the children took post-tests, and the results were good. The entire faculty of the school then built additional programs on those gains that Deb initiated.”

“Deb was very excited to present me with a quilt that sponsored students had made in her after-school program. She said it’s a small appreciation of how much our programs mean to her and the families we serve,” expressed Renée.

“We were delighted to see the success of Deb’s program. Since then we have supported many similar programs in the United States through our Hope in Action Fund. These programs are geared towards long-term projects that support children over time as opposed to just for the short-term,” said Renée.

A gift to say thank you

During a recent visit to Carr Creek Elementary School, Renée got a chance to see first-hand just how proud Deb is of the partnership she has created with Children Incorporated.

“Deb was very excited to present me with a quilt that sponsored students had made in her after-school program. She said it’s a small appreciation of how much our programs mean to her and the families we serve,” expressed Renée.

After receiving the quilt, Deb introduced Renée to a few of our sponsored kids as well as their parents.

Meeting special sponsored kids

Deb works hard to make sure sponsored and unsponsored children have school supplies all year long.

Deb invited Benjamin* to the Resource Center first. Benjamin lives with his unemployed parents and two older brothers. He loves football and roots for the local high school team. Deb told Renée that Benjamin is very appreciative of his sponsor’s help to make sure he has proper clothing and shoes.

Next, Renée met Olivia and her mother, Amanda. Olivia is a sweet little girl who lives with her mom, dad and little brother. Her father works as a heating technician, but his pay is meager. Olivia’s mom helps when she can by cleaning houses and catering for weddings. Her parents’ combined earnings are still so low that Olivia qualifies for free meals at school. Olivia told Renée that she loves writing letters to her sponsor. Amanda said that Children Incorporated is a blessing for her child, and that she’s so grateful for the program.

After Amanda and Olivia left, Deb explained to Renée that Olivia’s parents are responsible and very loving, and that Amanda regularly volunteers at the Family Resource Center so she can give back in thanks for everything that Olivia receives from her sponsor.

Grandparents stepping up to help

Lastly, Deb introduced Renée to a family of children — Rebecca, Natalie, Laura and Joanna — who are being raised by their retired grandparents. Deb explained to Renée that starting over and raising young children is not what most grandparents envisioned. Many are overwhelmed financially and emotionally.

Despite their situation, Deb is proud that these girls’ grandparents have stepped up and feels they are doing a good job. Sponsorship is really helping their family, and the girls all love having special friends in their sponsors that provide for them when their grandparents can’t.

*Names changed to protect the children.

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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 Culture of Giving

Participating in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been increasingly important for corporations in the last few years. Realizing the value of managing their business in ways that take into consideration how they can have an overall positive effect on society not only helps the community at large but also boosts employee morale.

For those corporations that choose to embrace CSR, such as our Partner Vonage, donating to organizations such as Children Incorporated is considered a part of their overall focus on creating a culture of giving for the entire company.

Vonage, a cloud communications provider, states on its website:

iPads and tablets were purchased for children in Arizona with funds donated by Vonage

“At Vonage, we’re committed to Doing the Right Thing — it’s one of our core values. The importance of being a good corporate citizen, and empowering our employees to be charitable and giving in their own lives, is a big part of the culture here. With a focus on charities and organizations that improve the lives of children and families in need, we love the feeling we get when our efforts make a difference.”

Offering support in the U.S. and abroad

After Vonage contacted our President and CEO Ron Carter about a potential partnership, Ron visited Vonage Headquarters in Holmdel, New Jersey, to discuss how they could support the work of Children Incorporated.

“First, I met with five members of the Vonage Foundation Board of Directors, all of whom were extremely interested in the work of Children Incorporated. Because Vonage works both within the United States and abroad, it was determined that they would support our U.S. Programs as well as international projects in South Korea, where Vonage has offices,” said Ron.

“The importance of being a good corporate citizen, and empowering our employees to be charitable and giving in their own lives, is a big part of the culture here.”

Once they agreed on which projects to support, Vonage quickly sent a check for nearly $49,000 in initial support to help children in need around the world. Thanks to Vonage, in 2018 and 2019, Children Incorporated was able to:

–    Sponsor 25 children in the United States for three years
–    Sponsor 20 children in Korea for three years
–    Purchase iPads and tablets and install security lights for St. Michael’s School for Special Education in Arizona

We are incredibly grateful to the Vonage Foundation and all Vonage employees for their commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and their dedication to helping children living in poverty receive educational support.

Thank you, Vonage Foundation!