Tag Archives: hope

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.

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 the small school 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 on 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.

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.

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.

Not only does the school have high enrollment, but it also boasts 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.

These parents 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, they are able to provide their children with the adequate resources they need to succeed in school.

A school with kids in need

Unfortunately, even with higher percentages of students excelling, 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.

But 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.

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 the extra mile. 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 his 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. She 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 were making a huge difference for their 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 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, the 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

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

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.

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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.

The Value of Respect and Encouragement

There are many reasons that children—no matter their background—deserve respect and encouragement as they grow.

But when it comes to kids from impoverished households or children who are orphaned, it is especially important to show them respect and encouragement. For these children—like the ones who live at the So Jun Children’s Home in South Korea—having adults motivate them and treat them with dignity helps their self-esteem and provides them with the drive they need to achieve their goals.

Thanks to their Children Incorporated sponsors, children in our program receive basic needs throughout the year.

So Jun Children’s Home

Located in the South Korean province of Jeollanam, the So Jun Children’s Home cares for children from ages 5 to 19 years old. The facility itself is made up of a complex of brick buildings—35 classrooms in total—with a kitchen, dining room and auditorium. The grounds include a playground and a large garden.

During the school year, children attend local public schools. After school, they participate in a variety of daily, assigned chores. They help raise ducks, chickens, doves and geese on the property. For recreation, the children play popular sports such as volleyball, soccer and baseball.

At the So Jun Children’s Home students are motivated by adults to do well in school.

Thanks to their Children Incorporated sponsors, children in our program receive basic needs throughout the year. According to our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, sponsorship support also helps sponsored kids to feel respected and encouraged.

“When—thanks to their sponsors—they receive food, clothing and school supplies the children know that someone cares about them and they feel better about themselves,” said Luis.

“Along with the encouragement and respect the administrators show them while living at the home, the children at the So Jun Children’s Home are well taken care of.”

Helping kids develop

Why are respect and encouragement so crucial for children in need? Because respect helps build a feeling of trust, safety and well-being—feelings kids might not otherwise have in their home environment or have ever had in their lives.

When children are shown respect, they learn how to treat others with respect. Kids who are encouraged to be confident in their abilities will find that their efforts can result in achievement—and that is a valuable step in helping them break the cycle of poverty.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

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

Taking Care of the Youth of Today

Making sure young people have positive influences around them is crucial to their development.

This is especially true for children coming from difficult circumstances like the orphans and children from impoverished backgrounds living at the Kang Nam Children’s Home in South Korea.

After a visit to the home, our International Director of Programs Luis Bourdet reported that the sixty children living at this Children Incorporated affiliated project meet with local university students every week. The college students not only help the kids with their homework but also serve as role models and mentors.

Apart from having more than twenty-six staff members, the local university volunteers spend their free time at the home tutoring and participating in sports activities with the children.

These interactions with caring adults outside of their supervisors and teachers help the children learn valuable life skills and teach them behavior that will prepare them for the outside world once they are grown up.

Kang Nam Children’s Home

Located on the south side of Seoul, the Kang Nam Children’s Home provides orphaned and underprivileged children in this region of South Korea with a safe, nurturing environment, nutritious food and medical care.

Children are often placed in the home after having been through the country’s welfare system. Many of them are coming from broken homes or have only lived in an orphanage, having no living parent. Because of this, many of the children we support have already had very challenging lives considering their young ages.

Thankfully, the administrators of the Kang Nam Children’s Home, with help from our sponsors, make sure the children receive food, clothes, housing and an education.

College students help kids at the Kang Nam Children’s Home with their homework and serve as role models and mentors.

“On top of support from sponsorship funds, the local government provides money to cover staff salaries and building maintenance. The Korean Welfare Foundation also supports the home for any incidental expenses,” says Luis.

The home also has some corporate sponsors and individual local sponsors. Because of all this, Luis reports that the physical buildings in the home are in great shape, and the children are well cared for by many different individuals and groups.

“To further support the children’s psychological development and give them a sense of family life, the facilities have been divided into ‘houses’ where six to nine kids share the house along with a housemother, who is always a university-educated social welfare worker,” continued Luis.

Volunteer to give back to kids

Apart from having more than twenty-six staff members, the local university volunteers spend their free time at the home tutoring and participating in sports activities with the children, helping with psychological evaluations or leading field trips to local parks.

Combined with the knowledge that they have a caring sponsor, the university students and the fantastic staff of the Kang Nam Children’s Home ensure that our sponsored and unsponsored children are surrounded by dozens of encouraging adults who are helping the youth of today grow up to be influencers of tomorrow.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

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

To Be Loved and Looked After

We know well that sponsorship support is valuable to children living in poverty both physically and psychologically.

That was especially apparent for our Director of International Programs Luis Bourdet while he was visiting the Sung Ae Children’s Home in South Korea.

According to our volunteer coordinator, Ms. Cho, who oversees all of our projects in South Korea, the support received from Children Incorporated sponsors is valuable in many different ways.

While at the home, which is located outside of Korea’s capital of Seoul, Luis found that the support children receive from their sponsors is utilized not only to provide clothing and shoes for them but also for educational needs that government funding does not cover, such as funds for fields trips.

But while there, Luis also found that many of the orphaned children who are living at the Sung Ae Children’s Home are learning for the first time in their lives what it means to be loved and looked after.

Helping children achieve their goals

According to our volunteer coordinator, Ms. Cho, who oversees all of our projects in South Korea, the support received from Children Incorporated sponsors is valuable in many different ways.

“Ms. Cho indicated that our partnership is significant not only in its financial aspect, but in its psychological effect on children as well. The orphans appreciate that people from far away and unknown to them can help them achieve their goals,” said Luis.

That caring love from sponsors goes a long way in encouraging children to do their best, especially for children who do not have parents of their own to encourage them. 

The Sung Ae Children’s Home

Like many South Korean orphanages, the Sung Ae Children’s Home traces its origin to efforts to address the postwar crisis after World II.

Caring love from sponsors goes a long way in encouraging children to do their best as they grow.

The home is in the suburban town of Incheon, just 30 miles from Seoul, where orphaned, underprivileged children in the region are provided with a safe, nurturing home, nutritious food and medical care.  

The home serves children ranging in ages from four to eighteen. The home itself consists of large, attractive dormitories, offices, an auditorium, a dining hall and a kitchen.

“Many of the buildings are new, updated only a few years ago,” said Luis. “I was very pleased to see the government had funded the updates so that the children have a beautiful home to live in.”

While living at the Sung Ae Children’s Home, sponsored and unsponsored children attend local public schools, where they receive instruction in core academic subjects and rudimentary English. Children receive three nutritious meals each day, with kimchi (the peppery cabbage-based staple of the Korean diet) occupying a prominent place on the table.

Working hard and having fun

In addition to rigorous schooling and education-related activities, the children perform a variety of assigned chores at the home, but they also get to have fun.

It is the priority of the administrators of the home to make sure that the children grow up in the safest places possible where they are encouraged to succeed and continuously feel loved and looked after until they reach adulthood.

Recreational activities in the afternoon and on weekends include flying kites and playing sports like soccer and volleyball. Field trips into Seoul are a special treat, where the children get to visit parks, shrines and museums. Picnics are also popular.

Protecting Children

According to Luis, Children Incorporated currently sponsors 19 of the 58 children living at the home.

In addition to assistance from our program, the home also receives a large amount of help from the Korean Government, which covers costs such as housing and educational expenses to make sure the children have everything they need.

While Luis met with Ms. Cho, she expressed to him that the home overtly emphasizes that protection of the children. Because they do not have a family of their own to protect them, she makes sure they are safeguarded from any harm at all times. It is the priority of the administrators of the home to make sure that the children grow up in the safest places possible where they are encouraged to succeed and continuously feel loved and looked after until they reach adulthood.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

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