Tag Archives: hope

After a little more than a week in Mexico, the time has come for Luis and I to visit our last affiliated site before returning home to the United States.

With many parents working long hours or overnight shifts, it is crucial for young children to have a place to live, learn and play with their friends during the week.

Hogar Santa Maria is located just across the river from the city center of Guadalajara where you will find high rise hotels and a bustling main street. The contrast is stark as we drive from our hotel to the neighborhood where Santa Maria is located — it is completely different from one side of the city to the other. Wealth and commerce are contrasted with poverty and old, small buildings. One side is modern and striving, growing towards the future, while the other seems to not be a part of the same world.

The same but different

These were all the same feelings I had the first time I visited Santa Maria in 2016, but I doubted that everything had stayed exactly the same due to the pandemic. If Santa Maria was anything like all our other affiliated sites in Mexico, our coordinators also had to go through big changes to continue to provide for the children in our program.

When we arrived at the Home, we were greeted by one of the four sisters who takes care of the children, and Santa Maria’s full-time social worker. Unfortunately, our coordinator was away in Mexico City having surgery and couldn’t be with us for our visit, but we were made to feel welcome all the same, given a tour of the facility, and heard about how our sponsorship program has been going over the past few years.

The social worker explained that they were able to continue to provide support for the children during quarantine when the children were sent home, largely thanks to our sponsors. The children only returned just a few short months ago when public schools finally opened again, and now 18 children are living at Santa Maria again during the weekdays. Since before the pandemic, attendance has gone down, and although the home isn’t at full capacity again, almost all of the children who attend have sponsors through Children Incorporated.

It so apparent that these children feel loved and safe at Santa Maria.

As we wandered through the dormitories and the small classrooms, we talked also about the ways in which Santa Maria is a blessing for families in the community. With many parents working long hours or overnight shifts, it is crucial for young children to have a place to live, learn and play with their friends during the week.

The parents pay a very small fee for the children to stay at the Home, which as it was explained to us, was mostly just to ensure they felt invested in their child’s care, and less about what the money really provided. Fortunately for these children, their sponsors help make sure they have healthy meals every day, new clothes and shoes, and school supplies throughout the year.

As we finish up our tour, the children arrive excited and, unknowingly to us, expecting our visit. As we gather in the dining room, the children have a surprise for Luis and me — they have learned a song to sing to us to say thanks to our organization and all of our sponsors.

It so apparent that these children feel loved and safe at Santa Maria, which is so important to giving their parents peace of mind while they work. For these children, Santa Maria ensures they and their parents have nothing to worry about while they are there so they can focus on enjoying just being kids.

***

How do I sponsor a child in Mexico?

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

SPONSOR A CHILD

As a part of our work with our affiliated sites in the United States, our volunteer coordinators write letters to talk about their resource center programs and how our sponsors are changing the lives of children at their schools.

Today, we hear from Jenny at Catlettsburg Elementary School in Kentucky, who is incredibly grateful to have partners just like Children Incorporated and knows first-hand how our work helps change the lives of children in need.

Today, we hear from Jenny at Catlettsburg Elementary School in Kentucky, who is incredibly grateful to have partners just like Children Incorporated and knows first-hand how our work helps change the lives of children in need.

Jenny’s Letter

“It’s almost time for some summer fun as the staff and students in Boyd County, Kentucky finalize plans for the end of the 2021-2022 school year. While it is hard to see our current 5th graders leave us and venture on to the middle school, we know we have done our absolute best to prepare them for the next step in their educational journey.

To help them prepare for their big transition into middle school, all 5th grade students attended the Family Resource Center-sponsored ‘Transition Program’ recently.

This program was held on Monday, April 25, 2022. The 5th grade students traveled to Boyd County Middle School to the event. While at the school, the students were broken into eight groups and paired with a student tour guide and one adult staff member. These groups then got to take a tour of their new school and sat in on all 6th grade core content classes as well as all 6th grade extra-curricular classes. They also met their new principal, their new assistant principals, and their new guidance counselors while on this visit. The students had an opportunity to ask any questions and voice concerns before the beginning of their new school year in the fall.”

Special memories and friendships

Catlettsburg Elementary School

A view of the entrance to Catlettsburg Elementary School

“Along with a visit to the middle school, the Family Resource Center provides all 5th grade students with an autograph/memory book and a graduation pen at their 5th Grade Breakfast Graduation Ceremonies. These books can be used by the kids to record special memories and friendships made during their elementary years. The Resource Center also provides all 5th grade students a pamphlet for their parents to have to prepare the adults for the next step in their child’s education and make the transition a smooth one for every child.

As with every end of the school year, we have been busy conducting programs and activities that are happening now, as well as making plans for summer and fall programs coming soon.  The annual WOW Summer Camp is in June and July at Catlettsburg Elementary. This year’s theme is a “Career Carnival” and the students will be focusing on career/job readiness, reading and math content areas, STEAM activities, and enrichment/educational crafts. Over the years, Children Incorporated enrolled students are some of those in attendance at this camp and have always left with sharpened academic and social skills.

During spring break this year, we met all of the currently enrolled Children Incorporated families at Walmart for a “Family Shop Day”. It has been nearly two years since we have been able to allow the families to go to Walmart with us to shop due to COVID, and we had a wonderful time! Students got the chance to pick out spring and summer clothing, and the parents loved having the opportunity to try the items on their child for proper fit.

You have put thousands of books in our students’ hands, clothes on their backs, and food in their bellies.

A great deal of gratitude for Children Incorporated

As we wrap up what remains of the year, we look back and smile while counting our blessings to have wonderful community partners such as Children Incorporated. From funding our “Books 4 Home” program, to meeting students’ basic and educational needs, your organization is very much appreciated by ourselves, our students, and their families. You have put thousands of books in our students’ hands, clothes on their backs, and food in their bellies.

In closing, not only are the children enrolled in Children Incorporated having their basic needs met, but through continued correspondence with their sponsors throughout the years, they are making lifelong mentors and creating special friendships. The Family Resource Center wishes each and every one the sponsors a relaxing summer with lots of fun times with your family and friends. We look forward to working with you again for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.”

Warmest Regards,
Jenny

***

How do I sponsor a child in Kentucky?

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

SPONSOR A CHILD

What do we mean when we talk about special projects at Children Incorporated? Our special projects come from a variety of requests from our volunteer coordinators at our affiliated sites, but they all mean one thing — crucial support for children, families and communities.

“Furthermore, our special projects allow our donors to help more than just one child or one family – often the projects we support help hundreds of children or members of a community by creating jobs and improving the overall structure of a place or location.”

“We consider three different types of support when we talk about the ways that our donors can help some of the most vulnerable people in the world,” explains Children Incorporated’s Director of Development, Shelley Callahan.

“First, our sponsorship program partners sponsors with individual children. Secondly, our special funds focus on certain aspects of helping children and families with, for example, warm clothes or emergency assistance — necessities that are beyond sponsorship.”

“Thirdly, our special projects range from infrastructure to renovations to building projects that are vital to us having access to the children we support, making sure they have a safe place to live and learn and that even more of their basic needs are meet,” Shelley continued.

“Furthermore, our special projects allow our donors to help more than just one child or one family – often the projects we support, such as building a dorm or an agricultural school or renovating an old kitchen in a group home, help hundreds of children or members of a community by creating jobs and improving the overall structure of a place or location.”

“Over the years, donations to our special projects have allowed us to hire teams of engineers to build greenhouses, playgrounds, and additions on schools. On a smaller scale, our special projects offer things such as art supplies for summer camps or reading materials for libraries — items that fill in the gaps that our coordinators are missing in making their programs that support our children successful,” expressed Shelley.

The Dandora Center in Kenya celebrates the new renovations on multiple classrooms thanks to our donors

Read more about our special projects around the world from past years and find out how you can support future projects through your generous donations!

A Place to Call Home

In partnering with our nearly 300 affiliated sites around the world, including Casa Central, it is our goal at Children Incorporated to work with our volunteer coordinators to provide everything that we can for children in our program so they can receive an education – including offering them a safe and stable place to live.

“Casa Central is a social service center located in the center of the city but serves and supports children from the peripheral, struggling areas of Guatemala City,” explained Children Incorporated Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet.

“Many of our sponsored children live in shacks, and the support through our sponsorship program has given them food, clothing, and educational supplies. Yet our volunteer coordinator, Sister Estefania, recognized that some of the children, despite the resources we offered, are still struggling due to the terrible housing conditions they live in. Through her immense efforts, she was able to secure titles for land in different areas of the city, and Children Incorporated was able to fund the construction of eight houses which have offered stable homes for eight children in our program,” said Luis.

“The houses are simple, but of permanent nature, made of cinder block, metal trusses and metal roof, two metal exterior doors, and protected from the weather. The families selected are so grateful and thankful for this support.”

Children Incorporated was able to fund the construction of eight houses which have offered stable homes for eight children in our program.

A New Playground and New Supplies for Students in Richmond

Children Incorporated staff members Renée Kube, Shelley Oxenham, and Chuck Smith helped rebuild a playground at G.H. Reid Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia, where we partner with Communities in Schools of Richmond (CIS) to support sponsored children in the Richmond area, near our headquarters.

Just a few months prior, over summer break, the old playground was set on fire, and it spread around the equipment, melting and disfiguring most of it, and leaving the 750 Richmond public school children with few options for outdoor play.

Renée, our Director of U.S. Programs, explained that the playground rebuild project was able to happen thanks to KaBOOM, a national nonprofit that builds playgrounds, especially in low-income areas.

The CarMax Foundation also stepped up to contribute funds and materials for the build, and Renée attended the volunteer workday, along with her Children Incorporated coworkers Shelley, U.S. Programs Specialist, and Chuck, U.S. Sponsorship Manager.

About 250 volunteers built the playground from the ground up in just one day. One of the jobs Renée, Shelley, and Chuck were assigned was painting maps and game boards onto the playground surface.

Renovations at the Lou Ann Long Hostel made the kitchen safe for staff and children.

By the end of May, we had $1,000 to donate to G.H. Reid, and we couldn’t wait to present the check to them, as well as contribute some supplies to get them started.

A New Kitchen for the Lou Ann Long Girls’ Hostel in India

In many developing countries, food is often cooked over open fires in poorly ventilated kitchens. It is estimated that 3 billion people worldwide cook over an open flame, which releases toxic smoke that is dangerous to health and safety.

At one of our affiliated sites, the Lou Ann Long Girls’ Hostel in India, the cooks prepared meals for the students in a small, dark one-room kitchen with only one small window that was continuously filled with thick smoke. The kitchen was badly in need of updating, but the administration did not have the necessary funds.

Thanks to our donors – just like you – Children Incorporated was able to renovate Lou Ann Long’s kitchen. New gas stoves with proper ventilation systems were installed, and modern sinks and updated windows and floors now provide more space, a cleaner environment, and natural light for the kitchen staff.

***

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 we always strive to do, I am pleased to share with you highlights of our work around the world over the past two years. In this report, you will find information about our programs, lists of our board members and staff, testimonials from our volunteer coordinators, and other information about the effectiveness of our work and how it truly changes the lives of children in need.

We are honored to share a glimpse of our successes with you.

It is our goal to always stay and remain in full compliance with all of the major charitable monitoring groups, as well as meet and exceed all of the requirements and expectations of our annual audit by the professional team of Young, Hyde, and Barbour’s CPAs and consultants. Additionally, as we strive to remain as transparent as possible with our donors and supporters, we also post our annual IRS Form 990 and audited financial statements on our website where they remain accessible to the public year-round.

We believe passionately in what we do, and our staff is dedicated to continual improvement and growth. We know that Children Incorporated remains a vital organization, now in its 58th year and still going strong. We are honored to share a glimpse of our successes with you.

Sincerely,

Ronald H Carter
President and CEO
Children Incorporated

READ OUR FULL ANNUAL REPORT

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.

SPONSOR A CHILD

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.

SPONSOR A CHILD