Tag Archives: hope

A Letter from Lindsay

In today’s edition of On the Road, our volunteer coordinator, Lindsay, at Westover Hills Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia, shares her story of the impact that sponsorship has on the children at her school over the last year:

Experiencing the impact

“Dear Children Incorporated Staff and Sponsors,

I have only been at Westover Hills (and with Communities in Schools) for two months, but I have already experienced the impact that Children Incorporated has on our community and families.

Thank you for allowing us to provide immediate support to a family who was experiencing lots of uncertainty, change, and loss.

My first week in Richmond, we had a family at our school who was displaced due to a rat infestation at their house. Children Incorporated was able to provide immediate support to allow me to purchase new clothes, socks, underwear, shoes and hygiene items for the children in this family who were now living in a motel. Most of their belongings and clothes had been ruined by the rats. Thank you for allowing us to provide immediate support to a family who was experiencing lots of uncertainty, change, and loss.

Special items for Jessica

One of the students in the Children Incorporated sponsorship program, Jessica*, at my school has had perfect attendance all year! This is quite an achievement, especially during a virtual school year. Jessica lives in a motel but did not let wi-fi issues keep her from logging on and trying her best every single day this school year!

I was able to provide Jessica with some special items to keep her entertained this summer at the motel. These included a swimsuit, flips flops, goggles and towel to use at the pool, as well as several other games and craft kits.

Helping Jonathan and his family

Jonathan is a 5th grader who loves to draw. I was able to provide a special summer kit for Jonathan that included Telestrations (a fun drawing game for his whole family) as well as swim gear. His mom is eager to teach him and his siblings how to swim this summer!

Westover Hills Elementary School teachers in front of the school in Richmond, Virginia (photo courtesy of Twitter)

As we finished out the school year this past spring, Children Incorporated provided funding to put together summer kits for 25 kids at Westover Hills Elementary. These kits include things to help make their summer fun, educational, and a little more normal. They also have a personalized drawstring bag for each child filled with sunglasses, bubbles, books, a water bottle, Mad Libs, educational games, and outside summer toys. I can’t wait to see their faces when I deliver the summer kits next week.

Thanks to Children Incorporated, I was also able to provide cleaning supplies and a gift card to Wal-Mart for groceries for all the families on my Children Incorporated caseload. These families were so grateful for the products that we sometimes take for granted. One mom was in tears of appreciation as she unloaded the cleaning supplies, hygiene items, and toilet paper. A small gift can make a huge difference for these families!

Thank you for all that you do to support our students and families.

We appreciate you!
Lindsay”

*Names changed to protect the children.

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.

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Recycling to Support Families in Need

When Richard Graff became a donor with Children Incorporated this past summer, he had an interest in providing support to the Philippines — and came up with a creative way to raise funds through his work to do just that.

“What motivated me to donate to the Philippines is I have friends from the Philippines whom I have met through the fishing industry and learned of the struggles that occurred with COVID-19 occurring, so it seemed to be a good place to donate to,” said Mr. Graff.

We are incredibly grateful to Mr. Graff for this passion to improve the lives of impoverished children. These efforts have gone a long way to show the power of what one person can do to help others around the world.

Based out of Naknek, Alaska, Mr. Graff works for a landfill company in Bristol Bay Borough, which not only disposes of waste but helps residents recycle as much as possible. Mr. Graff came up with the idea of asking permission from his company to collect recyclable items as they came into the landfill – mostly copper and wire from older buildings or construction sites – and sell them to a company that could recuse or recycle them for a profit, then donate the proceeds to Children Incorporated.

“I found out about Children Incorporated through simply using Google to find out where I could donate to the Philippines,” explained Graff.

His employer agreed, and before he knew it, Mr. Graff had raised $3,000 to help children in need at the Visayans Community Center at Bliss in the Philippines. Thanks to Mr. Graff’s efforts, the Center has been able to provide emergency food, hygiene items and other resources to families who continue to struggle because of COVID-19. Rations of rice and clothes have been purchased, which has helped parents who have been unemployed or struggling to make money since the start of the pandemic.

We are incredibly grateful to Mr. Graff for this passion to improve the lives of impoverished children. These efforts have gone a long way to show the power of what one person can do to help others around the world.

About the Visayans Center

Thanks to Mr. Graff, children in the Philippines have already received food and other schools supplies to help them through the pandemic.

The Philippines comprise a vast island nation in Southeast Asia. This archipelago of more than 7,000 islands boasts sandy beaches, towering mountains and volcanoes, tropical rainforests and an incredible wealth of natural resources and biodiversity. Humans have called these islands home for thousands of years, predating historic records. Today, the Philippines incorporate a staggering number of languages, ethnic groups, religions and cultures. Despite its status as an emerging market, however, nearly half of all Filipinos still earn less than $2 a day. Adequate sanitation, access to healthcare and access to potable water are still daily challenges in this widely underdeveloped country, which is also prone to typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic activity.

The large port city of Tacloban is no exception to these maladies. In the Bliss Housing Project in Sagkahan — a community established by the Filipino government for Tacloban’s poor — only fifteen percent of residents actually own the land on which they live. Most inhabit concrete dwellings, but many others live in shacks fashioned from nipa palm shingles, bamboo and castoff boards. Amid this devastating poverty and its socioeconomic effects, the Visayans Community Center at Bliss serves as a beacon of hope. Founded by the local group, Volunteer for the Visayans, the Center is dedicated to facilitating community development, providing healthcare and promoting education. Especially in the wake of the devastation inflicted by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013 — one of the worst storms to hit the area in a hundred years — Children Incorporated plays a vital role in this mission.

How Do I sponsor a child in the Philippines?

You can sponsor a child in the Philippines 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 the Philippines that is available for sponsorship.

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Improving Nutrition in Morgan County

Often called the Bluegrass County of the Mountains, Morgan County is situated amid Kentucky’s picturesque, mountainous Eastern Coal Fields region. The county itself was first settled by Scotch and Irish immigrants during the eighteenth century and derives its name from an homage to Revolutionary War hero General Daniel Morgan.

Despite its natural beauty and rich history, Morgan County suffers the socioeconomic issues associated with the widespread, debilitating poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment so tragically typical of Appalachia. There are few economic opportunities in the rural, small farming town of West Liberty today, and as a result, families who once relied upon farming and selling tobacco are now forced to find other means of employment to support themselves.

For students in this area, Morgan Central Elementary School serves as a beacon of hope, offering children a safe environment, a caring staff, and the chance to obtain a well-rounded education — things that we consider essential for success.

The idea is to improve students’ nutrition by exposing them to and encouraging them to eat a fresh fruit or vegetable snack at least three days each week,” said Renée.

Stretching her budget

“This school has around 300 children in grades Pre-K through 5th — our sponsorship program is run by our volunteer coordinator, Brittany,” explained Renée Kube, our Director of U.S. Programs.

“During my last visit to the school in 2019, Brittany told me that she prefers to shop for the children at the local Walmart because she can really stretch out her budget that way. She added that the kids are not picky or particular about designer brands and are happy to receive sturdy, decent, school clothes which Walmart can offer at a low price.”

A variety of fresh food

“Brittany was very excited to tell me about a grant the school had been awarded through the United States Department of Agriculture. The grant is called the FFVP, which stands for the ‘Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Program.’ The idea is to improve students’ nutrition by exposing them to and encouraging them to eat a fresh fruit or vegetable snack at least three days each week,” said Renée.

Our volunteer coordinoator, Brittany (left), is pictured with one of our sponsored children and Morgan Central Elementary School’s guidance counselor

“Because so many of the children have been minimally exposed to fresh fruit at home, often times they have never tried some of the fruits or vegetables offered. They are encouraged to try it, but students may choose not to partake if they don’t like what’s being served. The school is allowed to buy the produce at local grocery stores, or even to buy from farmers’ markets, if any exist in the area, which also helps small business.”

Going above and beyond to feed kids

Brittany explained that this program has been so helpful because food insecurity is a big problem in the county. To help even more, she has been running the ‘Pack A Snack’ food bag program every Friday. She uses large Ziploc bags and stuffs them with granola bars, ramen noodles, packaged peanut butter crackers, and micro-wavable mac and cheese. Brittany said her main food partner is Lacey Creek Church of Christ, but she would love to have more funds so that she could put more food in the bags,” said Renée.

“I was delighted to tell her about our U.S. Feeding Program that helps our affiliated projects with programs just like this, and that I would be happy for her to apply for additional assistance to ensure students are getting food to take home on the weekends in addition to what they are already receiving at school.”

***

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.

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Sweet Dreams for Kids in Kentucky

Our affiliated project, Morgan County Middle School, is located in West Liberty, Kentucky, and serves 464 students in 6th through 8th grade — many of whom come from low-income households.

The school’s Family Resource Youth Services Center is run by Children Incorporated’s volunteer coordinator, Kim.

“Kim runs a lot of important programs for our kids, and she can always use help with them. Her favorites are the 8th grade career mentoring program, the weekend feeding program, and the Sweet Dreams bed program,” said Renée.

“Kim was previously at one of the elementary schools, Morgan Central, for many years, but she moved up to the middle school after its coordinator retired. Kim said it was a smooth transition, as many of the kids were her former elementary students,” explained our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“However, the move did refine her awareness and sensitivity to this age group — middle school children are coping with the physical and emotional challenges of puberty, and many of them are also enduring poverty and family stress. These challenges make the Family Resource Center more important than ever.”

“When I last visited with Kim in late 2019, she told me that, due to the county’s high poverty rate, they were awarded district-wide free lunch. This has made it so much less embarrassing for the kids who don’t have lunch money. Now everyone is on the same level. Her school is also one of three schools in the county that is serving an early supper on select days, which really helps families in the community as well,” said Renée.

Kim’s Programs

Kim is pictured with one of the students in our sponsorship program at Morgan County Middle School.

“Kim runs a lot of important programs for our kids, and she can always use help with them. Her favorites are the 8th grade career mentoring program, the weekend feeding program, and the Sweet Dreams bed program. She is most proud of and excited about the Sweet Dreams bed program,” exclaimed Renée.

“Kim said all Morgan County Public Schools are eligible to participate in the Build A Bed Program operated by Morehead State University. However, only 200 beds are made per year, and with so many counties and schools eligible, not all children in need can be helped.”

“So, she and the other coordinators in Morgan County started their own program. The Eastern Kentucky Correctional Center is located in West Liberty. The prison builds the beds for free for the students at the school, and the school coordinators appeal to local businesses to buy the mattresses for the kids, some of which she has been able to secure. Kim said more assistance is always needed to purchase mattresses, sheets, blankets, pillows, and comforters,” said Renée.

Because of our Beds and Linens Fund, and thanks to our sponsors, Children Incorporated has been able to help Kim and our sponsored children with those new items so that students from the middle school can sleep comfortably at home and be prepared for school each day rested and ready to learn!”

***

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.

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Helping Parents Become Teachers

We recently received a letter from our volunteer coordinator at the Father Andeweg Institute for the Deaf (FAID) in Lebanon that we wanted to share with our sponsors and donors. Amidst all that has happened since 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are thankful to hear that there have been some good things to come out of the harder times for children in our program — and their families:

Parents being involved more in the education of their children enhanced family bonds, which stimulated the children’s development even more.

Greetings from the FAID Family

“Dear Friends and Supporters,

Thank you on behalf of the FAID family for all the support we have received from you over the years, especially during the last two years. Running our school in an economic crisis in the middle of a pandemic has been highly challenging.

A school cannot be run without staff. With your help and support, we have held onto our team and continued paying wages. However, the hyperinflation in Lebanon has reduced the buying power of the wages by a lot. One Lebanese pound is now worth less than one-tenth of what it was two years ago. But your support has enabled us to provide food parcels on three occasions for everyone – students, families, and staff – connected to the school.

Students are back in the classroom at FAID after an 18-month period at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 also offered a blessing by helping parents in Lebanon become teachers of their deaf children. Several lockdowns reduced our face to face teaching time severely. So, we needed to find another way to help our children and their parents develop their educational skills. Our staff made several videos on a particular topic each week. The video “OPPOSITES,” for example, explained all about up and down, in and out, high and low, etc. These videos, made for WhatsApp, were easy for parents to use.

Parents being involved more in the education of their children enhanced family bonds, which stimulated the children’s development even more, and most of all, reduced the emotional trauma that exists in families having children with special needs.

The value of continued support

Furthermore, providing audiology support, hearing aid maintenance and batteries during COVID is very challenging. Again, because of the help of Children Incorporated and their sponsors, we could put in the safeguards and precautions to make it possible.

We would heartily appreciate your keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.

Our political and economic situation is extremely worrying. There is a shortage of medicine, fuel, electricity and sometimes food, and the prices are going up on a daily basis. We know we can depend on your continued support, and for that, we are tremendously grateful.”

***

How do I sponsor a child in Lebanon?

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

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Contributing to an Entire Community

Throughout the year, our affiliated projects from around the world share special project proposals with us that will help improve the lives of not only the children that we support but their families as well. Thanks to our Hope In Action program, we are often able to support many of our projects so they can grow their programs and offer skills training and other important resources to impoverished communities in which we work.

A proposal from Bolivia

One such proposal we received in 2021 was from the Montero School in Bolivia, where our volunteer coordinator requested funds to construct an agriculture school on the same property as the existing school.

The new agricutural program at the Montero School will benefit both students and their parents.

“This area is mainly an agricultural area, and many children and adults have to go to nearby cities, even a few hours away to Santa Cruz to get better training,” explains our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet.

“With the support of this training institution, Children Incorporated is contributing to the whole community. The agricultural school will include a barn with cows, a pigpen, and a chicken coop in which students and their parents can learn how to take care of animals as well as grow food, skills they can then apply to their own lives to better their employment opportunities or gain income in the future!”

About the Montero School

The small, landlocked nation of Bolivia comprises rugged Andes Mountains and vast, high-altitude plateaus to the west (including a portion of Lake Titicaca, the largest high-altitude lake in the world) and lush, lowland plains of Amazon jungle to the east. Despite its wealth of natural beauty and resources, Bolivia bears the scars of centuries of conflict, beginning with the Spanish conquistadors and followed by almost 200 years of wars and internal military coups. Political and economic instability have brought about considerable poverty, resulting in widespread malnutrition, crime and disease.

Thanks to our Hope In Action program, we are often able to support many of our projects so they can grow their programs and offer skills training and other important resources to impoverished communities in which we work.

The remote town of Okinawa — settled in the 1950s by Japanese immigrant farmers — is no exception to these maladies. Here, in 1976, the Montero Home/School was founded as a girls’ home by local religious leaders to assist children of the Japanese settlers, as well as native Bolivians. Today, the school has expanded its mission, providing a safe refuge and learning center for impoverished girls and boys in the area. Some children who come to Montero Home/School have never experienced the comfort of a bed, a bath, or a nutritious meal – let alone an education. Here, children receive these basic needs, along with the opportunity to rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances from which they have come.

***

How do I sponsor a child in Bolivia?

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

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