Tag Archives: hope

A Quality Education for Children in Bolivia

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

Yotala, an agricultural suburb of Sucre, is no exception to these hardships. The area is prone to drought, which not only diminishes crop yield, but it also forces families to purchase water for drinking and bathing. Many people in this community are very poor; they rarely manage to grow enough food to feed their families, much less to sell at the market. The Santa Rosa School was founded to assist the children of Yotala’s subsistence farming families. The school teaches core academic subjects, and it has received recognition in Bolivia with high honors for its biology and geography classes.

Children need to attend school to succeed; but more critically, they must attend schools where they are being taught by trained professionals – which is just the case at the Santa Rosa School.

A great institution

Children need to attend school to succeed; but more critically, they must attend schools where they are being taught by trained professionals – which is just the case at the Santa Rosa School. There are sixteen professors at the school – a large number compared to many schools – which means that the children there are attending a great institution where they learn daily and are prepared for moving on to receive a higher education.

Not only is the Santa Rosa School acclaimed for its academics, but it also offers skills training in such areas as weaving, agronomy, dressmaking, carpentry, computer literacy, and hairdressing. The school encourages parental involvement. Since many parents of students there are illiterate or only speak Quechua, the school offers them educational courses, along with general courses on parenting skills and nutrition – all of which afford them the opportunity to obtain better jobs and earn a greater income, which is helpful for their entire families.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN BOLIVIA?

 

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

Recovering for a Second Time

Located twenty minutes from downtown New Orleans, the city’s eastern 9th Ward is a tight-knit community of over 65,000 residents. “The East,” as most locals call it, started off in the 1960s as a suburban-style area within the city limits. Beginning in the mid-1980s, this region began to decline into a state of poverty. The city’s public schools system, notorious for being one of the worst in the country, only perpetuated the problem into the next generation. Then came the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

In the storm’s wake, countless businesses – and even hospitals – opted not to re-open, leaving the residents of an already-troubled community severely underserviced. Recovery has been slow. In an area prone to crime and littered with abandoned buildings and homes, kids face significant barriers to their ability to succeed in school.

In addition to having difficulty concentrating in school, some of the children lost their homes for a second time in their young lives.

At the ReNEW Schaumburg Elementary School, staff work hard to help children overcome these obstacles. Founded in 1965, the school was originally part of the New Orleans public schools system. It became a ReNEW charter school in 2013; and today, it is the largest school in the city, with 875 children in grades kindergarten through eight. The dedicated faculty strives to innovatively prepare students for college and beyond, providing personalized attention to each student’s educational and non-academic needs. The ReNEW Schaumburg Elementary School also offers an advanced Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) lab and a world-class library.

When disaster strikes

In February of 2017, a tornado severely damaged the ReNEW Schaumburg Elementary School building and the surrounding New Orleans East community. School was in session and children were in the building when the tornado struck.  The administration, faculty, and staff earned acclaim from city officials for keeping the children safe and maintaining order during the tornado, and no one was injured.

Renée with Erin and one of our sponsored children

After the storm was over, the school was vacated for repairs. As kids were shifted to a temporary facility, they found themselves in overcrowded classrooms that were cramped and uncomfortable. Some of the children suffered emotional trauma due to having experienced the tornado and the transition to a new school. Their test scores dropped as a result of these factors.

In addition to having difficulty concentrating in school, some of the children lost their homes for a second time in their young lives. Students who were in grades six and above had lived through Hurricane Katrina, and now they faced yet another natural disaster in their short lifetimes. 25 homes were damaged, and most of the families did not have renter’s insurance. As families worked to rebuild their lives, they lived with other families, often sleeping on couches in tight quarters.

Excited to read

Erin is our volunteer coordinator at ReNEW Schaumburg Elementary School. On a recent trip to visit the school, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, met with Erin. Erin told Renée that she loves our sponsorship program. While Erin focuses on providing basic needs such as clothing and shoes to our sponsored and unsponsored children, she is also a big believer in supporting literacy and a true love of reading. She participates in the Lollipop Book Club, through which she orders books for kids, and they receive a wrapped book and lollipop. Erin can shop for books by reader age or search by theme, such as John Newbery Medal winners. She said that the kids get really excited about their books.

Erin also expressed to Renée that she appreciates when sponsors send additional gifts to their sponsored children, because they allow her to take time to really be thoughtful and personal about the items she chooses for sponsored children. She often spends the extra funds on hygiene and grooming items – something that she feels the children need very often, especially while living in transitional environments.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN NEW ORLEANS?

You can sponsor a child in New Orleans 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 Perception of Giving

When Danielle* was a sponsored child with Children Incorporated, she dreamed of going to college – but her family couldn’t afford it. So before she graduated from high school, with the help of our volunteer coordinator at her school in Kentucky, Danielle applied for assistance from our Higher Education Fund.

Thankfully, because of our wonderful donors and supporters, we had the funds available to grant Danielle’s request for support; and she went on to pursue a degree in education at Morehead State University. At that time, Danielle said, “The Children Incorporated sponsorship program has really changed my life and my perception of giving. I want to share that with absolutely everyone that I can. Thank you all so much for everything that you do. I am grateful that the Children Incorporated program is giving me the opportunity to reach my dreams.”

“I am so grateful that someone saw the ability in me to spend day in and day out with ‘those kids’ – because I love them as my own.”
– Danielle

Helping troubled youth

After graduating from college in 2011, Danielle accepted a position teaching middle school students in Western Kentucky. Then, in 2016, ready for a new challenge, Danielle accepted a position teaching troubled youth in Tennessee. She wrote to our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, about her experience working with these special kids after her first year on the job.

Danielle stated, “Around this time a year ago, I interviewed for a position as a teacher at an alternative school in Knoxville. I never imagined what a wonderful fit the position would be for me – perhaps not until today, as my first school year comes to an end. Educators often look at the troubled children in school and want someone else to ‘deal with them’. Until working with these kids daily, I had also felt that way.”

A caring educator

Danielle continued, “But now, only two days into summer break, my mind is racing with questions: Are the kids hungry? Are they staying off the streets? Are they emotionally okay today? Has someone told them good morning and made them realize their value today? My strongest and weakest personality trait as an educator is that I care so very deeply. I tell my kids I love them daily, even when they seem unlovable. Creating a classroom that allows students to open up and share their stories is part of who I am as an educator – and do they ever share their stories!

Help children in need

Danielle is an advocate for her students.

“If I am not going to be there one day, I see the importance of letting them know that I will be absent, because for some of them, their teachers are their only stability. This time last year, I had no idea that I would be the teacher I am now. I am the one who cries for weeks after a student is arrested, because they possess so much value. I am the one who believes in the kids that no one ever believes in; the one who will stop class to help a student who is all out of sorts; and the one who makes it a priority to know every bit of a child’s life, and to help them work through difficulties. My students and co-workers have been my source of learning and growing this year. I am so grateful that someone saw the ability in me to spend day in and day out with ‘those kids’ – because I love them as my own.”

It is obvious that Danielle is a caring and outstanding educator, and that she is an advocate for her students. A lot of the questions that she asks about her troubled students are the exact same questions that our volunteer coordinators ask about the children enrolled in our sponsorship program. Here at Children Incorporated, we are so proud of Danielle. She is an amazing, self-supporting person who beautifully showcases the importance of both our sponsorship program and our Higher Education Fund.

*Name changed for individual’s protection.

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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 Passionate Humanitarian

In 1964, Mrs. Jeanne Clarke Wood, our founder, visited Guatemala and discovered that in many poor communities, children had to work to help their impoverished families. “We found the need in Guatemala was even greater than we had thought,” Mrs. Wood wrote to a friend. “Children – even very small ones – roam the streets selling bits of candy or shoestrings, pencils or even lottery tickets, in a pitiful struggle to earn a living.” Upon returning home from her trip, Mrs. Wood wrote letters to friends and family seeking assistance for the 95 children that she met on her journey.

Mrs. Wood was able to quickly connect each of the Guatemalan children with sponsors, thus establishing Children Incorporated and our first affiliated project. Within two years of visiting Guatemala, Mrs. Wood had expanded our child sponsorship program to ten different countries, including on Indian reservations in the United States. Today, with the loyal support of thousands of sponsors and financial contributors, Children Incorporated has blossomed into an organization that provides assistance in 23 countries, including in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and that has assisted over 300,000 children worldwide. One affiliated project in Guatemala has grown to almost 300 projects around the globe.

Fond memories of our founder

Mrs. Wood was known for her hard work and dedication not only to our sponsored and unsponsored children, but to our volunteer coordinators and sponsors as well. She operated Children Incorporated out of her home for its first four decades, where she was extremely involved in most every aspect of the organization. She had a telephone on her bedside table, and she often answered incoming calls from our coordinators and sponsors well into the evening. Long-time supporters of Children Incorporated have recalled over the years speaking with Mrs. Wood late at night, and have commented that she never minded the interruption of her personal time.

Today, with the loyal support of thousands of sponsors and financial contributors, Children Incorporated has blossomed into an organization that provides assistance in 23 countries, including in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and that has assisted over 300,000 children worldwide.

The staff of Children Incorporated was equally fond of Mrs. Wood. Mrs. Odell Dunavant, who worked for Children Incorporated alongside Mrs. Wood for many years, stated that there was never a day when she wanted to skip work; she loved her job at Children Incorporated because she loved and respected Mrs. Wood. Mr. Ronald Carter, our current President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Mrs. Wood treated her employees like family. She tried to do little things to make work life more like home life, including having gatherings and sharing meals with the staff. Mrs. Wood valued people; she was funny and personable.”

Mrs. Wood passed away in 2006, yet her legacy continues to touch the lives of children and families around the world. We are so proud to have stayed true to Mrs. Wood’s vision for almost fifty years: we continue to envision a world in which each and every child has the education, hope, and opportunity they need to build a better life.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD WITH CHILDREN INCORPORATED?

You can sponsor a child with Children Incorporated 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 that is available for sponsorship.

Learning Outside the Classroom

We know very well here at Children Incorporated that all kids are not the same. It is one of the primary reasons for which we encourage our volunteer coordinators at each of our affiliated projects to decide what each individual sponsored child’s needs are, because we know that they vary based on differing circumstances. In one instance, for example, one of our volunteer coordinators found that the particular need of a special girl in New Orleans was educational games and activities to help her learn outside of a regular classroom setting.

Lori* lives with her father, who is a caring, involved single parent that attends all school events, according to our volunteer coordinator at Lori’s school, Brittany. Lori’s father is unemployed, and he is scarcely able to provide shelter for himself and his daughter, let alone anything else she might require, like clothes and shoes. Thanks to her sponsor, however, when Lori began the school year, she received new shirts and pants for her school uniform. Her father was so grateful for the help that Lori’s sponsorship provided.

Thanks to her sponsor, however, when Lori began the school year, she received new shirts and pants for her school uniform. Her father was so grateful for the help that Lori’s sponsorship provided.

Hours of fun

Beyond needing assistance with basic items, Brittany also found that Lori could use special help with her reading and writing. She was able to use some sponsorship funds to purchase a LeapPad tablet with educational games for Lori – and upon receiving it, Lori played and practiced diligently, and her grades began to improve across the board. Seeing Lori’s progress, Brittany then provided her with a three-month subscription for Surprise Ride boxes, which contain themed, hands-on learning activities, thanks to support from our Hope In Action Fund. These boxes provided Lori with hours of fun and educational activities, many of which she could do with her father at home after school!

When Brittany asked Lori what her favorite activity in the boxes was, Lori replied by saying, “My hands-down favorite was the penguin box, because I got to learn about Antarctica and to make snow!” We love hearing about how exciting it was for Lori to be learning, and that is not even the best part – since she received the educational activities and games, Lori’s grades have improved even more, and she exhibits greater confidence and pride while in class.

*Name changed for child’s protection.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN NEW ORLEANS?

You can sponsor a child in New Orleans 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.

Following the Harvest

While spending a few weeks visiting our affiliated projects in New Mexico last year, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, and U.S. Projects Specialist, Shelley Oxenham, heard over and over that because there were so few job opportunities in the communities in and around the Navajo Nation, the parents of our sponsored and unsponsored children there often have no choice but to travel outside of town – and sometimes even to other states as far away as Colorado – to find work on farms during the harvest season.

It is not easy for parents to be away from their children; they are forced to rely on other family members, like grandparents, to help out, and to ensure that their kids get to school and are cared for. In many cases, when parents must leave town for work, their kids’ school year is interrupted by the need for them to switch to a school that has a dormitory in which they can stay during the school week. While meeting with our volunteer coordinators at two of the schools that our sponsored children attend, the Ojo Encino Day School and the Pueblo Pintado Boarding School, Renée found that they were no exception.

While visiting the school, our Volunteer Coordinator Nora told Renée that there are hardly any jobs in the community, aside from very few school administrator and school staff positions.

The Ojo Encino Day School

The Ojo Encino Day School is located in a remote area of north central New Mexico; even the nearest post office in Cuba, New Mexico is almost forty miles away. Though situated outside of the Navajo Nation’s boundaries, this area is still very much considered to be “Navajo Country”. While visiting the school, our Volunteer Coordinator Nora told Renée that there are hardly any jobs in the community, aside from very few school administrator and school staff positions. Many parents travel a few hours away, either to Farmington or Bloomington, for temporary work – or even farther away, to Durango, Colorado, if it’s the only option.

After they met one-on-one, Nora introduced Renée to two sponsored children in our program. First, Renée met Eleanor*, who loves having a sponsor. She is a hard-working student in the fourth grade, and Nora said that Eleanor is responsible and polite. Eleanor lives with her parents and five siblings; both parents are unemployed, and struggle to provide for their family on a limited amount of assistance. Eleanor loves school, and wants to be a teacher when she grows up.

Next, Renée met Rachel*, who is also in the fourth grade. She is a little shy, but Nora said that she pushes herself to be a good leader and peer motivator for the other students. Rachel lives with her parents and little brother; her father has a low-paying job, and her mother is a homemaker. Their small house has no electricity or running water. Nora told Renée that both girls, like all of our sponsored children at the school, are very appreciative of their sponsors. The clothing and school supplies they receive mean so much to their health and education.

The Pueblo Pintado Boarding School

Our Volunteer Coordinator Cindra with two of our sponsored children at Pueblo Pintado

After visiting the Ojo Encino Day School, Renée traveled to the Pueblo Pintado Boarding School, which is 55 miles from Cuba. The school is one of Children Incorporated’s larger affiliated projects in New Mexico, with 263 children in attendance. While at the school, our Volunteer Coordinator Cindra told Renée that the harvest season affects the number of students enrolled in the school. It increases in the fall, during the potato season, when parents are away at work, because the students can stay in the dorm there during the week.

Cindra told Renée that one of her favorite aspects of our program is seeing the joy on the kids’ faces. She mentioned a little girl named Isabel*, who is in the second grade, and who loves shoes. Every time Isabel gets a new pair, thanks to her sponsor, she is overwhelmed with happiness.

Like all the children in our program, sponsored and unsponsored kids living in New Mexico face a great deal of adversity living in poverty; and it is even more challenging when parents have to travel for work during the harvest season, which creates a whole new set of obstacles for families. Thankfully, these children have their sponsors and our volunteer coordinators to offer them support throughout the year.

*Names changed for children’s protection.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN NEW MEXICO?

You can sponsor a child in New Mexico 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.