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Our Higher Education Fund helps young people pursue their dreams of completing certificate programs or obtaining a degree from a university or college. Many of our Higher Education Fund beneficiaries have returned to their communities in positions as teachers, nurses, social workers, accountants, architects, counselors and speech therapists.

Today I want to share with you three special stories about students in our sponsorship program who are graduating — two of which are benefiting from our Higher Education Fund thanks to our amazing sponsors and donors.

Monica’s story

Monica* is graduating from 12th grade at our affiliated site Shonto Preparatory School in Arizona. She was enrolled on our sponsorship program in 2012 as a first grader. For her entire “school career,” Monica has had the same sponsor.

Monica is shown proudly holding her diploma.

Monica has had good attendance and good grades. She has participated in extracurricular activities over the course of her school years ranging from 4-H, hike club, bike club, dance club, study club (co-founder), volleyball (player and manager 2022), sophomore class council secretary, junior class council secretary and senior class council secretary.

When asked about nominating a strong candidate as a recipient of our Higher Education Fund, our volunteer coordinator at Shonto Preparatory School Orleta recommended Monica right away. The girl’s Higher Education Program application arrived on time and in good order. Monica wrote that her father ingrained the value of education in her soul. Monica shared she has many academic interests, but her favorite is archaeology. Digging through the dirt to discover the past brings her a sense of calm pleasure. She discovered that passion as a young girl, and she is determined to pursue it as her profession. Monica wrote that she is coming from a single-parent, low-income household that she is a minority Native woman, and she needs and values this opportunity. Monica has been accepted at the University of Arizona.

Orleta wrote a stellar letter of recommendation, stating the girl demonstrates outstanding academic and leadership skills. Orleta also shared that Monica has taken a couple of college courses online while juggling her regular high school class load and her extracurriculars. Monica has always had a strong interest in learning. She would always stay after school for extra tutorials. Orleta calls Monica “trustworthy, hardworking, devoted and good humored.”

Many of our Higher Education Fund beneficiaries have returned to their communities in positions as teachers, nurses, social workers, accountants, architects, counselors and speech therapists.

I am so happy to welcome Monica to our Higher Education Program as she graduates from Shonto Preparatory School!

Tracy’s Future Path

Tracy is graduating from 12th grade at our affiliated site Shelby Valley High School in Kentucky. She was enrolled on our sponsorship program in 2009 at Valley Elementary School. For her entire “school career,” Tracy has had the same sponsor.

In high school, Tracy chose to focus on her future career goals rather than clubs or sports. Tracy took classes to become a Medication Nursing Assistant (MNA).  While a senior, she took more nursing classes, including college credit classes.

When asked about nominating a strong candidate, our volunteer coordinator Rachel recommended Tracy right away.  Rachel shared that neither of Tracy’s parents was capable of caring for her. Tracy was raised by and still lives with her grandmother, alongside 10 other siblings and cousins. It is a tremendous struggle for the grandmother to have 11 children under her roof, but she has persevered and has instilled good character and values into the children.

Tracy is pictured in her graduation cap and gown.

One week before the state CNA exam, Tracy’s father died in a very tragic way. Despite her grief, Tracy made herself go to the examination — and to her happiness and her grandmother’s pride, Tracy passed. She graduated with her high school diploma and as a certified nursing assistant.

Tracy has been accepted at Big Sandy Career & Technical College. She plans to obtain an associate degree in nursing and to pass the national exam, which will allow her to become a registered nurse (RN).

Melissa’s Success

For this school year, Melissa took not only her 11th grade classes, but all of her required 12th grade classes, too. She graduated last week from Breathitt County High School in Kentucky.

Melissa completed both junior and senior years at same time while maintaining a 3.5 average and working each school day as a bus monitor. She was also a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps [JROTC] at the high school.

She has been accepted into Morehead State University and its ROTC program. Melissa plans to enlist in the Army after her graduation from MSU. Her future career plans are to be either an Army nurse or a military prosthetist (a health care provider who makes and fits prosthetic limbs for current and/or former service members).

Congratulations to Melissa on graduating!

*Students’ names have been changed for their privacy.

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How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

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

SPONSOR A CHILD

written by Renee 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 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 Renee's stories

Being a resource coordinator there are many things that we are supposed to do and incorporate into our job. Hygiene, self-care, self-love and understanding the impact and importance of this is something I try to educate my students on.

Children Incorporated helps eliminate some of the challenges these students and their families face.

The Children Incorporated sponsorship program has such a wonderful impact on my students. Children Incorporated helps me to make sure students’ needs are met every day they attend school. I love how the students receive gifts on their birthday which makes the student feel special and not forgot about. The anticipation and excitement on the students’ face is very rewarding. Thanks to the sponsors for making this happen.

Building a relationship with these students is my top priority. I love being able to earn the students’ trust. I am able to pull them into my office and ask what their specific needs are. With the combination of my Family Resource Center and Children Incorporated, everything we do is and can be life changing for these students.

I truly believe that if some of these students didn’t have sponsors then they wouldn’t be able to attend school. Children Incorporated helps eliminate some of the challenges these students and their families face. Thank you for everything.

Sincerely,
Paula

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How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

You can sponsor a child 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 that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

written by Children Incorporated

We provide children living in poverty with education, hope and opportunity so they have the chance for a brighter future. Thanks to past and current supporters around the globe, we work with 225 affiliated sites in 20 countries to offer basic needs, emergency relief, and community support to thousands of children and their families each year.

» more of Children's stories

I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the incredible program you have spearheaded, which has afforded me the opportunity to further support my students through sponsorship.

The assistance provided by Children Incorporated funds has been instrumental in ensuring that enrolled children have access to essential resources, enabling them to embark on a successful academic journey. From school supplies to clothing and footwear, the support has been wonderful, alleviating the financial burden on families and allowing children to start the school year on the right foot. The impact has been profound, with parents expressing immense relief and gratitude for the assistance rendered.

The transformative effect it has had on the lives of our students and their families is immeasurable, and I look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts in nurturing a brighter future for all.

The benefits of the Children Incorporated sponsorship program extend beyond mere material support. Through initiatives such as special birthday gifts, spring break kits and emergency grocery orders, children have experienced moments of joy, stability and community connection.

Moreover, the allocation of the Hope In Action funds this past school year facilitated a highly successful Title 1 Family Night, enriching students and parents alike with resources, entertainment and educational opportunities. This event not only fostered familial bonds, but also empowered parents through engagement activities aimed at enhancing their ability to support their children academically.

Having a huge impact

I am particularly grateful for the swift responsiveness of the Children Incorporated program team, exemplified by the timely approval and provision of emergency grocery orders for families in need. Such moments underscore the invaluable impact of this program and reaffirm its significance in our community.

Several Children Incorporated-enrolled children have made notable strides in attendance, social and emotional learning, owing in part to the nurturing environment and access to resources facilitated by the program. Whether it be a new book, school supplies or a fresh outfit, these provisions have contributed to the overall well-being and academic success of our students.

In closing, I extend my heartfelt appreciation for the unwavering support provided of the Children Incorporated sponsors. The transformative effect it has had on the lives of our students and their families is immeasurable, and I look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts in nurturing a brighter future for all.

Sincerely,
Ashley

written by Children Incorporated

We provide children living in poverty with education, hope and opportunity so they have the chance for a brighter future. Thanks to past and current supporters around the globe, we work with 225 affiliated sites in 20 countries to offer basic needs, emergency relief, and community support to thousands of children and their families each year.

» more of Children's stories

As our Director of International Programs Luis Bourdet continues his travels in India visiting our affiliated sites in the country, he tells us about the Lou Ann Long Girls’ Hostel, in which children in our program are in need of beds and linens for a comfortable night’s rest.

“Thankfully, the Lou Ann Long Girls’ Hostel is able to provide boarding, nutrition, and a quality education for area girls who come from families living in poverty.”

About the Lou Ann Long GIRLS’ HOSTEL

“The small town of Yadgiri, where the Lou Ann Long Girls’ Hostel is located, is in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. Drought is a constant threat in this agricultural community, and employment opportunities are severely limited. Field laborers earn an average of only forty cents a day and struggle to provide even the most basic necessities for their children,” said Luis.

“Moreover, with shorter life expectancies, much lower literacy rates, and a markedly inferior social and economic status than males, young women in India begin life at a disadvantage. Thankfully, the Lou Ann Long Girls’ Hostel is able to provide boarding, nutrition, and a quality education for area girls who come from families living in poverty. At the home, deserving young women receive the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances they face.”

“The home is administered by the Methodist Church of India, and like the Chandrakal Boarding Home, it receives our support through the main office of the Methodist Church, as well as from Children Incorporated,” said Luis.

“Children at this home stay here during the educational year, and some stay during school breaks as well. Most of the children will be going home during school breaks (India follows a similar school year to the U.S.). Children Incorporated support is utilized to cover the cost of staying in the home, including the provision of food, educational supplies, clothing and shoes, as well as food support for the families when large additional gifts are sent closer to their breaks.”

Seeing the home for himself

“Currently, the girls at Lou Ann Long are staying at a dorm built with the support of Children Incorporated. However, the administrators are using the former dorm for the girls for playing and other recreational activities. The children attend a local school, located not far from this facility, also run by the Methodist Church. They are all enrolled in that school, with the exception of a couple of girls that are attending university thanks to sponsorship support through our Higher Education Fund,” said Luis.

“During my visit, I noticed that the Lou Ann Long Girls’ Hostel does not have beds for the children, as it is customary for them to sleep on small mats on the floor. I have mentioned that we could provide beds, so we are working on this support. Lou Ann Long also needs some improvements to the facilities. They mentioned that the building would be better with a touch of paint and perhaps sealing the roofs to avoid leaking. Because of the lack of funding, prevention is not the primary focus for these centers, as they live month-to-month. I will follow up to see what Children Incorporated could do to support these needs as well.”

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How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

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

SPONSOR A CHILD

Ensuring children are able to stay in our sponsorship program from their earliest days in school until graduation is something that our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, works hard to do. With the public school system in the United States often times having three different schools — elementary, middle and high school — for children to attend, it’s crucial that we partner with each school to ensure sponsorship support is not interrupted — especially for children who need it the most.

Today we hear from a former sponsored child, Susan*, who grew up in our sponsorship program and attended Menifee High School in Kentucky, and writes to us to describe how her experience having a sponsor was formative to helping her become the adult she is today.

SUSAN’S STORY

Dear Children Incorporated,

Students hold many memories from their school days, and one memory that I hold dear is having the privilege of being a Children Incorporated student starting during some of my most formative years. 

 Like many children in Menifee, my family was not privileged. My family owned a small farm, and both my parents worked; however, having three growing children, money was always tight for our family. Shortly after I started the 6th grade, my school’s Resource Center Coordinator sent home paperwork to my parents asking permission to allow me to participate in the Children Incorporated program.

“I can truly say that being a Children Incorporated participant helped shape the person I am today.”

I was unaware of what all the Children Incorporated program entailed in the beginning, but was very thankful for the opportunity that was given to me. Like many within my county, I grew up wearing hand-me-downs that were far from perfect, but I knew my parents were doing their best to keep us kids clothed and fed. Middle school years are hard years for any student, but it was tougher for the children that came from poor families. Often, I was made fun of because my clothes were not like others; they may have had stains, or may have even been a little bit too big, but that’s all I had. Because of the comments I received, my self-confidence slowly began to dwindle. I was too proud of my parents to ever let them know what other kids were saying about me, and I knew that my parents loved me and were trying their very best to provide us with what we needed. 

A BLESSING TO HAVE

 As I began my journey as a Children Incorporated student, I was given a sponsor that was truly an angel in disguise for me. I will forever remember my first gift from my sponsor; she gifted me several outfits that were really trending at the time. I was in complete shock when I received the gift. She also sent a letter telling me all about herself and what she enjoyed doing during her free time. This letter was the first of many conversations that took place between the two of us over several years. I was so excited to send my sponsor a letter back telling her how thankful I was for the gifts she had sent. Through each letter we shared our life experiences with each other, and even though I never met this person face to face, it seemed as if we had known each other our whole lives. As I continued through school, I had a total of three different sponsors. Each of my sponsors and I shared many experiences together even though we may have been hundreds of miles apart. 

Being a Children Incorporated child was a blessing for me, not just for the gifts I received but the self-confidence and encouragement it gave me throughout my school years. I can truly say that being a Children Incorporated participant helped shape the person I am today. Many people may think of this program as a handout for poor families, but that is far from the truth. This program is much more than that; this is life changing for those that are eligible to be a part of such a wonderful program. I will forever be thankful for the wonderful memories that I hold from each of my sponsors, and there isn’t any way that would be enough to thank them for all that they have done for me over the years. The sponsors in the Children Incorporated program are truly a gift from God.

OVERCOMING OBSTACLES IN LIFE

Now as a soon to be 30-year-old, as of March 2024, I will finally be able to say that I am the first out of my immediate family to obtain a bachelor’s degree. I have made leaps and bounds since graduating from high school. I currently work within our local elementary school and have the pleasure of interacting and making an impact on the next generation of students.

Because of the Children Incorporated program, I strive daily to make a positive impact on each student I serve. I am living proof that underserved children can overcome any obstacle that is thrown their way with a little encouragement and love, even if it comes from a stranger that they have never met. I will forever be thankful for the Children Incorporated program.

*Name changed to protect the individual.

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How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

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

SPONSOR A CHILD

As I continued my trip to visit our affiliated sites in Martin County, Kentucky, I visited Eden Elementary School, where I had the chance to reconnect with our volunteer coordinator, Marlena, after a few years. She and her assistant, Kelli, welcomed me with open arms as I arrived to the resource center.

SEEING EDEN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Marlena and Kelli are very appreciative of the Children Incorporated program, and I got the impression from them, as well as from the other Martin County coordinators, that our organization is able to help in ways other organizations are not able to. The resource center in Martin County really depends on Children Incorporated a great deal, and all of the coordinators say they would be lost without Children Incorporated support.

Hearing this made me that much more grateful for our sponsors and what they do for the children in our program.

During our meeting, Marlena shared that she is seeing an increase in severe poverty in her area. Many families live in literal shacks, and the number of household members in one home is sometimes astronomical. They recently learned of one child whose family consisted of sixteen people (both related and non-related), living in a small two-bedroom apartment. She also talked about the number of families living in dwellings without electricity and/or running water. Marlena stated that she thinks Martin County is about 20 years behind the rest of Kentucky in how people live. Hearing this made me that much more grateful for our sponsors and what they do for the children in our program.

Visiting Inez Elementary

Ron is pictured with one of our many sponsored children in Martin County, Kentucky.

I was warmly greeted by Andrea, the site coordinator at Inez Elementary School during my next school visit, along with a little girl named Sabrina.* Andrea brought Sabrina in at the start of our time together just so I could meet and speak with a Children Incorporated sponsored child. Sabrina was very sweet and talkative.

Andrea is very passionate about the children and families she serves, and she truly seems to care about their welfare. She stated that she believes the start of helping children to succeed is to make sure they have clean and comfortable places to sleep at home so that they may get proper rest. She said she could not even tell me the number of children who do not even have a pillow of their own. Andrea often provides beds, mattresses, pillows, and bedding to children in our sponsorship program, as well as others in the school who are in need. She said, “Ron, I can’t tell you the number of children that Children Incorporated has gotten up off of the floor!”

 Andrea talked about a program she started at Inez Elementary specifically for girls in fifth and sixth grades. She said she and others had noticed a lot of bullying and “mean girl” behavior among girls of this age, so they started a club that meets weekly to help break down barriers and teach the girls to be nicer to one another. The girls are encouraged to journal, and then during club meetings, they share their personal thoughts and insecurities. Andrea said that when the girls share openly like this, they reveal the ways they are all alike, and often it is a matter of the girls having low self-image and low self-value. She said that behaviors have improved a great deal since this program was begun.

As my trip came to an end, I found myself thinking just how impressed I was with all of these kind-hearted and warm people who truly care about the children they and we serve.

onward to Warfield Elementary

Next, I met with Amanda at Warfield Elementary School. She bragged quite a bit about the Planting Seeds of Love program that is implemented in all of the Martin County schools before she brought in one little girl for me to meet. Her name was Allison.* Allison was a friendly child and told me how much she has enjoyed the gardening program with her grandmother. She looks forward to spring when they can plant their garden together again.

All of the Martin County coordinators were enthusiastic about the Planting Seeds of Love program, and they all expressed extreme gratitude towards Children Incorporated sponsors and donors for help in funding that program. The coordinators said that parents and grandparents have been overwhelmingly supportive of planting and tending their own gardens and then canning their own vegetables for use in winter. Overall, the program has been a huge success, and the schools will all offer it again in the spring. The program not only provides food for these families, but it is also a big bonding opportunity for parents and children.

As my trip came to an end, I found myself thinking just how impressed I was with all of these kind-hearted and warm people who truly care about the children they and we serve.

*Names changed to protect the children. 

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How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

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

SPONSOR A CHILD