Tag Archives: hope

Excelling in San Pedro Sula

Honduras’s industrial center and second-largest city, San Pedro Sula, has a reputation for being dangerous. Deemed the “murder capital of the world” for almost a decade until 2016, crime and economic distress have led to the mass migration of Honduran minors seeking safety from gangs and drug-related violence.

But for those children who have no choice but to stay behind and face danger and violence, places such as our affiliated project the Maria Reyna Home offer a safe environment in which to grow up — and receive a quality education.

A home for neglected girls

Founded in 1942 as a girls’ orphanage, the Maria Reyna Home cares for orphaned, abandoned or neglected girls. Located in one of the most impoverished and most crime-ridden neighborhoods in San Pedro Sula, the Home offers a refuge from slum housing, hunger, disease, crime and pollution that are all-too-tragic realities in the city.

For those children who have no choice but to stay behind and face danger and violence, places such as our affiliated project the Maria Reyna Home offer a safe environment in which to grow up — and receive a quality education.

“At the Maria Reyna Home, children from some of the darkest districts of San Pedro Sula are accepted. They have suffered neglect, malnourishment and even abuse before they come to live at the Home,” explained our Director of International Programs Luis Bourdet.

While living at the Home and attending classes on the grounds, the Sisters of Mercy of the order of St. Vincent take care of the children every day. They provide a clean and adequate living space, nourishment, protection and most importantly — an education. And according to Luis, the girls do very well academically at Maria Reyna.

“The change of living conditions is so great that most students excel in school here, while they had a hard time before,” said Luis.

“The sisters provide the children with training in embroidering and baking so that they have a skill once they graduate from high school. Because of this, many children upon graduation want to continue with their education.”

A new initiative

During his visit, the Sisters and Luis discussed a recent initiative to raise funds for additional accommodations for students who want to continue their education after graduating from high school.

“I agreed with the sisters completely that this was a vital need for the school, and Children Incorporated has agreed to support the home so they can remodel and accommodate those students who have the desire to attend local universities or technical schools,” said Luis.

“After the renovations are complete, some of the children will be able to stay, during a transitional period. That way they can be supported while finding sound employment so that they don’t return to the harsh conditions they come from.”

Additionally, the Maria Reyna Home administration plans to request scholarships from the local government and local universities for those students that are exceptional in academics.

In conjunction with the Home’s efforts, Luis also wants to support these young women through our Higher Education Program Fund so all who wish to can continue to pursue their academic dreams.

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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 in Honduras that is available for sponsorship.

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.

Going Above and Beyond for Kids in Need

As the largest elementary school in Knott County, Kentucky, Hindman Elementary School serves 609 students in grades kindergarten through eight.

Not only does the school have high enrollment, but it also prides itself on having test scores that are above the state average. According to our volunteer coordinator at the school, Shana, Hindman Elementary has a higher ratio of children who come from middle-class households compared to the rest of Knott County. Shana believes that these two factors are in direct correlation with one another.

Shana doesn’t let any obstacle stand in her way when it comes to making sure that vulnerable, underprivileged students at her school — including those enrolled in the Children Incorporated program — get the help they need.

Parents who are raising their children in middle-class households have completed high school or college and now work as teachers, nurses, county administrators or medical professionals in higher-paying jobs than their peers who weren’t able to get their high school diplomas or higher education degrees. And thanks to higher pay than minimum wage jobs offer, they can provide their children with the adequate resources they need to succeed in school — as Shana has seen firsthand at Hindman.

A school with kids in need

Unfortunately, even with higher percentages of students coming from middle-class backgrounds than other schools in Knott County, Shana says that many kids at Hindman are living in poverty. Nearly 75% of children attending Hindman receive free or reduced lunch through the National School Lunch Program.

Yet despite the challenges of serving underprivileged students with limited resources, Shana doesn’t let any obstacle stand in her way when it comes to making sure that vulnerable students at her school — including those enrolled in the Children Incorporated program — get the help they need.

Meeting Jean

Thanks to Shana, children enrolled in our program at Hindman Elementary School are well cared for all year long.

On a recent visit to Knott County, Kentucky, our Director of U.S. Programs Renée Kube had the chance to see just how much Shana was willing to do for our sponsored and unsponsored kids.

“Shana is a dynamic coordinator who always goes above and beyond for her kids. Before our meeting at the school, she had arranged a visit to the home of a nice woman named Jean and her husband, John,” said Renée.

“Jean and John are the legal guardians of John’s six grandchildren, who are all currently sponsored through our program. When we arrived, Jean gave me a warm welcome into their trailer. She said they are retired, and starting all over again with his grandchildren was a big adjustment.”

Renée continued, “But the kids are so sweet. Jean is a tiny little woman with a ton of energy. She spoke of the grandchildren lovingly, telling funny stories about them — their pictures are displayed in places of pride on the television stand and the living room wall.”

“It was amazing to see firsthand how Shana’s efforts to make sure the children all had sponsors were making a huge difference for this family,” said Renée.

Visting Hindman

After their trip to Jean’s house, Shana and Renée had a chance to talk more about how Children Incorporated and the Family Resource Center at Hindman are helping children and families in Knott County.

It made Renée happy to know that children at this large elementary school have a caring person like Shana who is willing to go the extra mile every day to make sure they each have their individual needs met.

Shana told Renée that the things she struggles with most are providing basic needs assistance to children and accessing adequate healthcare for them. Thankfully, because of our donors and sponsors, many children at Hindman are getting shoes, clothes and school supplies regularly.

When it comes to healthcare, Shana brings the University of Kentucky Dental Van to the school and works with the Lions Club to obtain eyeglasses.

A wonderful time with Shana

Overall, Renée was very pleased with her visit to Hindman and the time she got to spend with Shana.

It pleased Renée — and comforted her — to know that children at this large elementary school have a caring person like Shana who is willing to go the extra mile every day to make sure they each have their individual needs met.

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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.

Room to Grow in Honduras

Nestled in northern Central America, Honduras was once home to several Mesoamerican peoples — most notably, the Maya. This ecologically diverse land — with its rainforests, cloud forests, savannas, mountain ranges and a barrier reef system off the northern coast — teems with life.  Its wealth of natural resources is equally impressive, including a variety of minable minerals as well as agricultural exports such as coffee, tropical fruit, sugar cane and lumber.

Moreover, Honduras’ growing textile industry serves an international market. The nation’s wealth of natural beauty and resources, however, belies the dire poverty in which its people live — Honduras holds the unfortunate distinction of being one of the poorest nations in Latin America.

This is due, in part, to its longstanding political instability, social strife and economic issues such as fluctuating export prices, rising inflation and unemployment. Other factors contributing to the nation’s high poverty rate include frequent natural disasters, disease and inadequate education, resulting in a high rate of illiteracy.

The town of Sigueatepeuque

In the quaint, rural town of Siguatepeque — where our affiliated project the Sigueatepeuque Primary School is located — unskilled workers like the parents of our sponsored children receive a wage of only a few dollars a day. The poorest residents subsist on a daily diet of beans and corn, which only propagates the widespread malnutrition among children.

In 1970, a local church group recognized the dire need for education among the town’s most impoverished children and established the Siguatepeque Primary School. Today, the school is run by the Lutheran Church and — along with our sponsorship program — provides for children’s most basic, immediate needs while offering a comfortable place in which to receive an education without concerns about overcrowded classrooms.

The issue of overcrowding

Children need and deserve room to grow and learn within their school setting, but parents who can’t afford school fees or tuition have no choice about what school their children attend.

Overcrowded classrooms are a problem in many public schools across the world. Overcrowding negatively affects students and teachers.

Teachers’ morale is low when their classrooms are overcrowded. They find their work environment to be stressful and have a hard time focusing on appropriate lesson planning and teaching techniques. Also, crowded rooms often mean that students can’t concentrate because of their proximity to classmates, meaning they miss valuable lessons because they are distracted by chatter.

Often, cramped classrooms lead to a drop in grades for students because they don’t receive one-on-one attention from instructors or have access to proper school supplies, textbooks or technologies that help with learning.

Sponsorship to the rescue

Children need and deserve room to grow and learn within their school setting, but parents who can’t afford school fees or tuition have no choice about what school their children attend.

Thanks to Children Incorporated sponsors, families do have a choice. Instead of sending their children to overcrowded public schools in Siguatepeque, they can send them to the Siguatepeque school where teachers can give special attention to students who already face plenty of challenges getting ahead in life.

With a lower attendance, a quality education can be guaranteed for some of the most underprivileged children in Honduras, giving them the opportunity they deserve to succeed.

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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 in Honduras that is available for sponsorship.

 

 

 

A Small School with a Family Atmosphere

Jones Fork Elementary School — which began as a one-room schoolhouse and was expanded in 1964 to accommodate more children — is located in Knott County, Kentucky in the small community of Mousie.

Deb mentioned to Renée how proud she is of her students doing well in school despite their impoverished backgrounds and how willing they are to help fellow students as though they were all one big family.

The smallest school in the county, Jones Fork educates just 165 children in grades kindergarten through eight. According to our volunteer coordinator at the school, Deb, children at Jones Fork have above average test scores. Deb attributes this to what she calls a “family atmosphere” at the school. Teachers encourage children’s academic growth, and students even help each other out when they can — especially when times are tough.

Rising test scores and self-esteem

On a recent trip to Knott County, our Director of U.S. Programs Renée Kube met with Deb at the Jones Fork Elementary School’s Family Resource Center. Deb said she feels that support from our sponsors plays a big role in children getting the attention they need and making them feel like equals with their peers. She says it helps with their self-esteem and makes them want to work harder in class. In fact, test scores at the school have risen for the past few years in a row, showing the students progress.

Students at Jones Fork Elementary School support one another in a family-like manner.

As they continued to talk, Deb explained to Renée that the community around Jones Fork Elementary used to be bustling with mining jobs, but is now hurting. The population is in decline, and many families feel hopeless about the future. The poverty is harsh. The closing of the last local mine about ten years ago had a ripple effect — soon afterward both the local gas station and grocery store were forced to close. Last year students set up and ran a food pantry to help their classmates. Deb mentioned to Renée how proud she is of her students doing well in school despite their impoverished backgrounds and how willing they are to help fellow students as though they were all one big family.

Meeting Laura

Test scores at the school have risen for the past few years in a row, showing the students progress.

During her visit, Renée had the chance to meet Laura*, a young student enrolled in our program.

When she and Renée met, Laura was holding a greeting card she had just received from her sponsor. According to Deb, Laura loves being in our program. She loves her school supplies and nice clothes. She told Renée that having a sponsor is “the best!”.

Before she left, Deb told Renée that Laura is one of two girls in her family. Both parents work part-time as school bus drivers, and their wages are low. Without a sponsor, Laura would go without a lot of things she needs to keep her comfortable and doing her best in school.

*Name changed to protect the child.

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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.

Working with a Shoestring Budget

The small town of Grayson is located in Carter County, Kentucky and is home to Heritage Elementary School — Children Incorporated’s only affiliated project in this Appalachian county.

Missie sorts through donations in the Resource Center.

In the 19th century, Carter County was famous for its iron furnaces and thriving clay products industry. Carter Cave — now a tourist attraction — was a significant source of saltpeter during the War of 1812.

Coal from this region once fueled factories, powered locomotives and heated millions of homes. Today, however, manufacturing only accounts for 15% of the county’s employment. Moreover, the coal industry, which once employed the majority of the region’s workforce, has sharply declined due to automation and the increased use of other fuels.

A county in distress

Designated by the Appalachian Regional Commission as a distressed county, Carter County currently has an unemployment rate well above the national average and a low median household income. The lack of employment opportunities has resulted in widespread poverty, along with associated socioeconomic issues such as drug abuse, lack of education and poor health.

In an area menaced continuously by the devastating effects of poverty, Heritage Elementary School — and our volunteer coordinator, Missie — provide children with a safe and supportive place to learn and grow.

In an area menaced continuously by the devastating effects of poverty, Heritage Elementary School — and our volunteer coordinator, Missie — provide children with a safe and supportive place to learn and grow. They do this despite working with only a shoestring budget.

A dedicated coordinator

While visiting Heritage Elementary School, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, met with Missie to talk about how her efforts are helping sponsored and unsponsored kids in our program.

“Missie is well-organized when it comes to her work with the Children Incorporated sponsorship program. She hopes to enroll more children in the near future because she knows she can handle the workload,” said Renée.

Missie told Renée that she shops at various stores — sometimes having to travel as far as 30 miles — to find the best deals so she can make the most of sponsor’s donations. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have much to work with at all since she has a minimal budget with which to run the school’s Family Resource Center.

Looking for help on the outside

The Resource Center accepts donations from different partnering organizations in Carter County.

In order to help children outside of our sponsorship program, Missie raises funds and seek in-kind donations from a variety of partners in town such as local businesses. She also makes and sells t-shirts whose proceeds go to the school’s Weekend Backpack Feeding Program. Thankfully, our sponsors alleviate much of her stress. Missie loves the peace of mind that sponsorship funds give her. Thanks to our sponsors, she always knows that kids in our program will receive basic needs regularly.

Before their meeting ended, Missie mentioned to Renée that she would like to put in a request to our Hope in Action Fund. Missie wants to develop and implement a summer camp so children can get additional help with math and reading as well as participate in enrichment activities like arts and crafts. Not surprised by her dedication and willingness to go above and beyond for kids at Heritage Elementary School, Renée looks forward to receiving Missie’s request since our Hope in Action Fund was designed for situations just as this one.

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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.