Tag Archives: hope

Caring for a Generation of Students

Marie Roberts Elementary School is located in the small community of Lost Creek, Kentucky, in Breathitt County.

In a part of the country where 48.3% of children are living in poverty, the Family Resource Center at the school, and our volunteer coordinator, Jackie, are able to offer children the critical support they need to survive in difficult circumstances.

“Jackie is the original coordinator who brought our sponsorship program to the school many years ago. She has been a loving and stable presence for easily a generation of students,” explained Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“With her students, Jackie is very warm, and they feel comforted and loved in her presence.”

Good news for children in need

While visiting with Jackie at Marie Roberts, Renée had a chance to hear more about how Jackie, and our sponsors, are helping some of the most vulnerable kids in Lost Creek.

“Jackie said her job is about removing as many barriers as she can to her students’ academic potential and well-being. The barriers are all related, in one way or another, to the high child poverty rate,” said Renée.

“Jackie shared with me information from studies that show when children grow up in impoverished households, they tend to have worse health than children in better economic situations. Their education is also negatively impacted. Poverty can even affect their income attainment into adulthood as well.”

An exterior photo of Marie Roberts Elementary School

But it wasn’t all bad news that Jackie had for Renée. During their meeting, they discussed the heartening news that recent research has supported the theory that positive sustained relationships with caring adults can buffer childhood trauma and the toxic stress they feel from growing up in a difficult environment.

“Not only are school staff like Jackie able to be that caring adult for children, so are Children Incorporated sponsor[s]. Having someone in their lives who cares for them and provides some financial support, but also some emotional support through correspondence – often over a period of years – is powerful,” said Renée.

Helping kids with their stress

Related to the trauma and stress many of the children endure, Jackie shared the school is now very fortunate to have two counselors from Mountain Comprehensive Care Centers which is part of the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental, and Intellectual Disabilities. They began working at Marie Roberts Elementary during the 2018-2019 School Year and have had a huge impact on the children. They provide assessment, counseling, and referrals in a convenient and familiar location — the school. This also helps with access barriers, as so many families lack reliable transportation.

Before she left, Renée and Jackie discussed the Family Resource Center’s needs, and right away Jackie said shoes.

“She explained that the kids grow so quickly, and shoes are so expensive. Many families can afford only the cheapest flip flops or slides from the Dollar Store, and Jackie is always looking for deals on name-brand, sturdy shoes,” said Renée.

“Thankfully, our sponsors and our Shoes and Socks Fund have also been able to provide funds for Jackie to purchase quality shoes for kids that will last.”

***

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.

Emerging on the Other Side

We recently heard from our affiliated project, the Parikrma Home, in India, wanting to let us know how grateful they are for the support from our sponsors and donors. Recently sent funds to the project are being used to purchase food for children and families in need who otherwise would go hungry during this challenging time. The Parikrma Home is also providing school assignments for children to do at home so they can keep up with their studies during school closures.

Today we hear from Anuradha Roy Chowdhury, Head of Operations of the Parikrma Home, about their work in India during the COVID-19 crisis.

Hope for the future in India

Today we hear from Anuradha Roy Chowdhury, Head of Operations of the Parikrma Home, about their work in India during the COVID-19 crisis:

“In the middle of this bizarre COVID pandemic, I have found much to be thankful for. Over the last three weeks, our donors have overwhelmed us – not just with the generosity of their contributions, but also with the faith that they have reposed in us. It is this faith and trust that keeps us going in our objective of ensuring that our badly hit communities are somehow able to survive this time and emerge on the other side, to take up their lives as best as possible. Beyond the financial support, many of our donors have even reached out to us with their time – offering to help us with the actual distribution of the dry rations in the schools, despite knowing the real possibility of being infected. We are very grateful.

Our alumni have been a revelation in the enthusiasm of their response to our call for help. They have reached out to us, some through financial donations and some through their unstinting work in the schools during the weekly distribution of the rations. Our alumni validate all our efforts over the years and make it all worthwhile.

Bags of food that have been packed for distribution.

As of April 20, 2020, we have distributed food rations and basic sanitation to over 1,802 children from 1,050 families and will be reaching out to our families residing in over 70 slums in Bengaluru. We have now started giving out lesson plans, worksheets, and storybooks to our children every time we do distribution of rations to the families. Our teachers have gone virtual too – working out strategies and means to reach out to our children in the slums.

Our donors and our alumni are our proverbial silver lining. The biggest THANK YOU is insufficient, but we would like to say it anyway.”

A note from the Founder

Shukla Bose, Founder of the Parikrma Home, shares her observations during this crisis.

“In spite of all our personal introspection, mindfulness, and self-awareness practices, it’s during moments of deep crisis that self-realization takes on a different dimension.”

READ THE FULL NEWSLETTER

***

How do I sponsor a child in India?

You can sponsor a child in India 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 donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in India that is available for sponsorship.

The Heart of Small Community

Located in rural and mountainous eastern Kentucky, Letcher County is best known for its natural beauty, as evidenced by small but growing efforts to promote the county as a tourist destination in recent years. One especially breathtaking site is the Bad Branch Falls State Nature Preserve in the town of Eolia. The park comprises over 2,600 acres of trails, waterfalls, and mountain vistas, boasting one of the highest concentrations of rare or endangered species in Kentucky.

“The school’s caring and dedicated staff are thrilled to partner with Children Incorporated sponsors to better equip students with the basic essentials and well-rounded education they need and deserve,” explained our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

The breathtaking beauty of this land, however, belies the hardships that its residents face each day.  As with many towns in the area, the community of Eolia traces its roots back to the coalmining industry, which sustained this once-thriving region for generations. With the decline of the mining industry, however, employment opportunities here have plummeted, and poverty rates have soared.

Many families have moved away in search of job opportunities, but a resilient few have stayed, working hard to revitalize their community despite hardship. Daily survival here is a struggle, and children feel it perhaps most keenly. In fact, the childhood poverty rate here currently hovers at a staggering 32%.

For these reasons, our affiliated project, Arlie Boggs Elementary/Middle School, not only offers hope and a sense of security to children and families in need, but in so many ways is the heart of this small, close-knit community.

Meeting Sandy

The Family Resource Center is able to offer so much support for families in need in Letcher County. 

“The school’s caring and dedicated staff are thrilled to partner with Children Incorporated sponsors to better equip students with the basic essentials and well-rounded education they need and deserve,” explained our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“The coordinator, Sandy, is a dynamo of energy and enthusiasm. She is so proud of the kids. Sandy shared her two favorite school academic initiatives are essentially band and business. All students are required to learn a musical instrument starting in fifth grade. From sixth through eighth grade, the students may participate in band.”

Learning about Small Business

Another initiative that the school has implemented is the EntreEd Program. According to their website, “[a]s the future of work continues to evolve, EntreEd instills entrepreneurial mindsets in every student, every year to forge a more entrepreneurial America.”

Arlie Boggs has partnered with EntreEd thanks to an entrepreneurship grant. Business concepts are taught to children at every grade level in the school. The older students learn to develop business plans and launch their small businesses — and keep their profits. The program runs from August through October, culminating in a school fair to which their families are invited. Sandy says that examples of small businesses that students have launched included creating temporary tattoos, making cotton candy, designing custom tee shirts,  making wreaths and jewelry, and dress design.

***

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.

An Open School in Eastern Kentucky

Located in the heart of Kentucky’s Eastern Coal Region, Letcher County holds the unfortunate distinction of having the second-largest unemployment rate in Kentucky.

“Brittney said there is not a problem with bullying, and all the kids are open, friendly, and accepting of one another — much like the openness that the actual school building offers.”

Coal from this region once fueled factories, powered locomotives, and heated millions of homes. However, the coal industry, which once employed the majority of the area’s workforce, has sharply declined due to automation and the increased use of other fuels.

Lack of employment opportunities has resulted in widespread poverty, along with associated socioeconomic issues such as drug abuse, obesity, and domestic abuse issues. Fortunately, for many impoverished families in this community, West Whitesburg Elementary School offers their children a well-rounded education in a school environment where kids support one another in positive ways.

A different kind of school

“West Whitesburg was built in the late 1960s during the ‘open school’ movement,” explained our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“This meant no walls separated classrooms, with the idea that students would learn creatively, and teachers would collaborate. Whereas most open schools are very loud and noisy, West Whitesburg is not. Partitions were put up many years ago, and teachers work especially hard here on ‘indoor voices versus outdoor voices.”

West Whitesburg Elementary School serves 390 children in grades pre-kindergarten through 5th.

The school has an open layout, which is not very typical of public schools in the U.S.

The school itself shares its grounds with Whitesburg Middle School. The two schools abut one another and have separate entrances, administration, faculty, and staff.

Learning more from Britteny

While visiting the school, our U.S. Director of Programs, Renée Kube met with the Family Resource Youth Services Center Coordinator, Britteny, and her assistant, Donna. Together, they also run our sponsorship program.

During their meeting, Renée had a chance to ask Britteny more about the students in attendance at this very different kind of school.

“When I asked about the school’s culture and dynamics, Brittney’s face lit up. The population is mixed between some of the more well-to-do families, middle-income families, and those who live in the public housing complex across from the school,” said Renée.

“Brittney said there is not a problem with bullying, and all the kids are open, friendly, and accepting of one another — much like the openness that the actual school building offers.”

***

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.

Attending the Freshman Academy

Greyhills Academy High School, located in Tuba City, Arizona, has been affiliated with Children Incorporated since 2006.

This unique school focuses on nurturing students who have the potential for higher levels of academic success but might struggle in other areas such as behavior or attendance — often due to the circumstances involving the impoverished households from which they come.

Helping students on a path towards success

Renée met with some of our sponsored children during her visit.

To encourage students to want to do well in school, Greyhills offers programs and activities in Navajo culture and language that foster pride in their heritage. Additionally, the school also provides a highly structured program called the Freshman Academy, where efforts are made to ease the transition from middle to high school for incoming ninth graders.

According to the Greyhills Academy website, “To help incoming freshmen ease into the rigors and expectation of our school, we have the Freshman Academy. This is a transitional program to give our incoming freshmen the support they need to be successful.”

Part of helping students transition into high school is also offering a residential program for those children who are coming from faraway areas. These students live in the Academy’s dormitories during the week and then go home on weekends and school breaks. During their stay, they enjoy athletics, clubs, and family engagement activities that help them get acclimated to their new environment, make friends and learn new skills and hobbies.

This unique school focuses on nurturing students who have the potential for higher levels of academic success but might struggle in other areas such as behavior or attendance.

It takes a village

While visiting Greyhills Academy, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, met with our volunteer coordinator at the school, Roger, as well as some other staff members who are vital to the success of our sponsorship program at the school.

“Roger had set up a committee specifically to manage the Children Incorporated program at the school,” explained Renée.

“With this system, he and three other administrators take turns going on shopping trips for our sponsored children. Many of the families meet them at local stores, or they will shop personally for those who cannot make the trip.”

“Thanks to the committee members’ support, Roger can handle the workload involved with providing for sponsored children regularly as well as ensuring that the children are given opportunities to communicate with their sponsors through letters,” said Renée.

The Freshman Academy is home of the Knights.

After meeting with Roger and the other committee members, Renée had the chance to meet a few of the students in our program.

Meeting Maria and Bradley

Maria* is in 11th grade and was enrolled in the Children Incorporated Program in the 3rd grade when she attended our other affiliated project, Tuba City Boarding School. She loved volleyball then, and she still loves it now. She lives with her mother, grandmother, and three younger siblings and wants to be a nurse when she gets older. Maria’s sponsor lives in Switzerland and has been part of our organization since 1975. Maria told Renée how appreciative she was for having her sponsor for so many years, especially as she transitioned from school to school while growing up.

Bradley enrolled in our program in 2016 when he was a new 9th grader. He is now a bright and funny 12th grader who jokes that he is always tired from the many activities and sports he participates in. His favorite sport is baseball. Bradley has taken welding courses in school, and he is also interested in auto mechanics. He is also thinking about becoming a carpenter or construction technician when he graduates. In his downtime, he enjoys drawing and listening to music. Bradley is the middle of three children who live with their single father. His father hauls and sells wood for a living, and he earns a meager income. Having a sponsor has helped Bradley to focus on his passions and interests instead of worrying about having clothes, shoes, and school supplies over the years.

*Names changed to protect the children.

***

How do I sponsor a child in Arizona?

You can sponsor a child in Arizona 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.

Children Incorporated Spring 2020 Newsletter

We are pleased to share with you our 2020 Spring Newsletter. Thank you for support children in need around the world!

Our Beds and Linens Fund is More Important Than Ever 

Children living in poverty go without so much in life — including a comfortable place to sleep in their own homes.

“Our Bed and Linen Fund allows us to purchase new mattresses, bed frames, sheets, blankets and pillows for children so they can get a good night’s sleep and be ready for the school day.”

– Renée Kube

“During my travels to visit our affiliated projects, especially this past year, I have heard more and more stories from our volunteer coordinators who conduct home visits in which they have discovered children who have either no beds at all or too few beds. As a result, two to four or more siblings are sleeping together on one, old, worn mattress,” said Children Incorporated Director of Development, Renée Kube.

“Our Bed and Linen Fund allows us to purchase new mattresses, bed frames, sheets, blankets and pillows for children so they can get a good night’s sleep and be ready for the school day. We are endlessly grateful for any contributions to this invaluable fund that helps us better support children in our program.”

If you would like to find out more about our Beds and Linens Fund, or make a contribution, please contact us today!

New Shoes for a Special Child in Arizona

Joseph*, like many of our sponsored children, is being raised by his grandmother.

Joseph with his new shoes

Joseph and his siblings live in Arizona and were abandoned by their mother after their father died.

Suddenly, Joseph’s paternal grandmother found herself raising children again with no income and no means to support them. She can scarcely provide food and shelter for her grandkids, and she has virtually no money to keep them clothed properly. Thankfully, Joseph has a caring sponsor who provides him with the items he needs as he rapidly grows into a young man.

Recently, our volunteer coordinator at Joseph’s school called him into her office to present him with brand new shoes, along with other items he needed. Joseph is young and plays hard, and his old shoes were badly worn. Joseph was ecstatic, and proudly stood for a photo of him with his new shoes.

We are able to provide new shoes for children thanks to our sponsors and donors to our Shoes and Socks Fund. If you would like to make a donation to our Shoes and Socks Fund, contact Children Incorporated today.

*Name changed to protect the child.

Apartments for Graduates in Honduras

The living area of new apartments for students in Honduras

Once sponsored children graduate from high school and move onto higher education, they often continue to live with their families until they can complete university or vocational training.

Unfortunately, for some students, like those at our affiliated project, the Maria Reyna Home in Honduras, this is not an option. Coming from very poor families, and facing issues such as abuse, gangs, and drugs in the neighborhoods where they lived, these children cannot return home because it isn’t safe.

Thankfully, because of contributions to our Hope in Action Fund, Children Incorporated was able to support the construction of apartments at the Maria Reyna Home so that those students attending college or university will have safe housing until they can find steady employment that will allow them to live on their own. 

Thank You for Giving So Many Children a Reason to Celebrate Christmas!

This past holiday season, we received hundreds of pictures from our affiliated projects of children around the world enjoying Christmas parties and receiving gifts, thanks to their sponsors. Thank you so much for everything you do for children in need during the holidays and all year long!

Brand New Items for Children in Paraguay

For many children living in poverty, having a sponsor is their only means of receiving basic necessities such as food, clothing and educational assistance. Some may never receive brand new items such as blankets and shoes without the support of a caring sponsor.

Thanks to you, children, such as the girls from Hogar Medalla Milagrosa in Paraguay, and others around the world are being provided for in ways in which their parents cannot. We are incredibly grateful for your support to make sure children experience the joy of receiving items that are new and just for them.

In Bolivia, Students are Learning Skills for the Future

One of the ways in which we support children beyond our sponsorship program is through our Skills Training Programs, which are implemented at many of our projects around the world. Thanks to these programs, students are given the opportunity to learn skills to help them obtain employment after they graduate, so that they can help support their families right out of high school and eventually become financially independent.

We received pictures of students at our affiliated project, the Santa Rosa School in Bolivia, participating in a Gastronomy Skills Training Course, thanks to support from Children Incorporated. These students are learning skills they can use at home or use to gain employment upon graduation.  

Protecting Children from Harsh Weather in El Salvador

Thanks to donations to our Hope In Action Fund, Children Incorporated was able to provide funding for a roof cover over the playground at our affiliated project, Escuela Santa Luisa in El Salvador. The cover will protect children from rain and heat as well as offer a place for activities and assemblies for parents and students.

READ THE FULL NEWSLETTER