Tag Archives: kentucky

In late July of this year, we reported on the massive flooding that occurred in Eastern Kentucky, which devastated many of the communities in which we work. Storms followed by rising water damaged homes and schools, leaving families of our sponsored children without a place a live — and in dire need of emergency relief.

In the first week after the flooding, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, sent $1000 to each of the 43 Family Resource Centers at our affiliated schools in the countries and cities with the worst flood damage, all thanks to previous donations to our Hope In Action Fund.

By early August, further contributions to our Emergency Flood Relief Fund totaled more than $22,000.

Helping families through an emergency

By early August, further contributions to our Emergency Flood Relief Fund totaled more than $22,000 as our donors generously supported our efforts to get aid to Kentucky as quickly as possible. We were able to disburse these funds to communities to support clean up and recovery efforts and replace destroyed items that children will need for the upcoming fall and winter months.

Many of our affiliated sites in Eastern Kentucky have been devastated by flooding in July.

We are just now starting to receive thank you letters from our volunteer coordinators, as they have been working around the clock, tirelessly helping rebuild their schools and communities, all while helping to ensure children in our program, who are already living in poverty, are receiving basic needs through this disaster.

A letter from Kelli

Today, we want to share a letter of gratitude from Kelli at Breathitt County Jr.-Sr. High School, who wrote to our donors to say thank you for the support:

“I want to say thank you so much for the Flood Relief Funds. My students, families and county as a whole have suffered so much from this flood. I was able to go to Walmart and buy brand new items for the students. Girls asked for underwear and bras and comfortable clothes. The boys also asked for underwear, as well as socks and hoodies to stay warm.”

“While we had an outpouring of donations after the floods, a lot of items were used and were not always the right sizes for my students. The new items were taken to the students and families that were displaced and living in the homeless shelters. Thanks again for your generosity. You don’t know how much it was appreciated.” 

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How Can I Support Families in Eastern Kentucky?

You can help families in Eastern Kentucky by donation to our Hope In Action Fund. You can make a donation 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 click the link below to be directed to our online donation portal.

DONATE

As our Floyd County, Kentucky virtual visit series comes to a close, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, tells us about our newest affiliated site in the area, Betsy Lane High School, and how valuable so many of our programs are to its Family Resource Center coordinator, Anita.

As our Floyd County, Kentucky virtual visit series comes to a close, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, tells us about our newest affiliated site in the area, Betsy Lane High School.

“Betsy Lane High School officially began partnering with Children Incorporated October 2020, with a few kids transferring in from other affiliated schools. Our Volunteer Coordinator, Anita, added more enrolled students in November of the same year. Around this time, we also sent some start-up funds from the Warm Clothing Fund so the teens could have warm coats while they were waiting to be matched with sponsors.”

“The school is one of three public high schools in the county. It is located between the communities of Betsy Lane and Stanville, and is south-southeast from the county seat, Prestonsburg. The school serves about 372 students in grades 9-12. School officials are rightfully proud of its 98% graduation rate. However, this achievement is hard won, as most of the students fall below the state average on test scores. About 77% of the students come from low-income families.”

Anita pictured with one of our sponsored children.

“During our “virtual visit” via FaceTime, Anita shared she was a former Family Resource Youth Services Center coordinator who retired early to help care for her grandchildren. When they got older, she decided to come back to work and was thrilled when there was an opening at Betsy Lane.”

“Anita is very enthusiastic about working with Children Incorporated. In March 2021, there was a severe flood in the county and surrounding areas. Our organization was able to send funds for flood relief to our affiliated schools that were impacted, including Betsy Lane High School. Anita bought and delivered supplies ranging from bleach to mops and buckets to laundry detergent. The families were so appreciative.”

“This school year, Anita asked for help to establish a weekend backpack feeding program. Thanks to our U.S. Feeding Fund, we were able to respond to this need.”

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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

written by Renée Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our U.S. Programs Specialist and an outstanding network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renée's stories

This week’s edition of Stories of Hope continues with our “virtual tour” of Floyd County, Kentucky. Our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, visits with our volunteer coordinator, Michelle, at James D. Adams Middle School, to tell us more about their school, community, and the power of working together to help children and their families.

Renée’s visit

“Adams Middle School is a rather small school located in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. It has the capacity to accommodate around 335 students in grades 6th through 8th. The poverty rate here is 64% — not as high as some other surrounding areas, but still significant and crushing for many families trying to make ends meet.”

Michelle is very proud of how quickly and well everyone worked together to create lesson plans and navigate continuing to communicate with the children while they were at home.

“Our Volunteer Coordinator at the school is Michelle. She is a long-serving coordinator for both the Family Resource Youth Services Center and for Children Incorporated.

Michelle told me during our virtual meeting that at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, the entire staff and administration of Adams Middle scrambled to figure out how to educate and to serve the children. She is very proud of how quickly and well everyone worked together to create lesson plans and navigate continuing to communicate with the children while they were at home. The school buses even transported food to students’ homes rather than them coming to the school for bagged lunches – which prevented so many children in this community from going hungry.”

challenges for students at home

“Michelle told me that most students were able to get online to do their work, and many stayed with grandparents during the day while their parents worked. But, a sizable portion of students did not have internet access at home. The Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg was one of the first local businesses that invited families to park in their parking lots during the day and sit in their cars to access the WIFI from inside the building, which for some students was their only means to connect and learn.”

“Additionally, as with many other schools in Eastern Kentucky, and around the United States, the 2020-2021 school year was delayed due to rising infection rates but had since started back fully in-person. Then sadly, things got bad again.”

Consistency in uncertain times

“When this new 2021-2022 school year started, and all the kids were together playing sports and having activities and club meetings, there was a quick uptick in cases. Infection rates and hospitalizations jumped in August and September and then declined slowly through December of last year. There was another surge in January and February of this year, the highest the area had seen yet. Cases have since declined again but remain high. There is without a doubt a lot of ‘COVID fatigue’ amount students, faculty, and parents.

Despite the difficulties, Michelle has been working hard to provide for the children, and she is deeply grateful for the sponsors’ support, which offered her, and the children in our program, some much-needed consistency during such uncertain times.”

***

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

written by Renée Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our U.S. Programs Specialist and an outstanding network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renée's stories

As a part of our “Virtual Tour” of our Floyd County, Kentucky affiliated sites, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, tells us about her “visit” to John Stumbo Elementary School.

“This is a small school in the community of Grethel, which is in a very rural area about 20 miles south-southeast of the county seat, Prestonsburg. The community is on Kentucky Route 979, and besides the school, there is a small post office and a Dollar General store.”

Angie told me that the parents our sponsored children are incredibly grateful for the help given by the sponsors.

“John Stumbo serves 344 students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 8th. About 84% of the children come from low-income families. The children struggle academically too. Test scores are below the state average, with science at 22% and social studies at 39%.”

Working hard to help kids and families in need

“Our Volunteer Coordinator is Angie. She works tirelessly at the Family Resource Youth Services Center to help the children and their families. When the pandemic started, Angie was very worried about how she would be able to shop properly for the students. In the early days, there were limits on the number of items she could buy per shopping trip. Many stores had low inventories, and so things ranging from hand sanitizer to Lysol wipes were limited.”

“She was also concerned about getting correspondence from their children for their sponsors since the children were at home instead of in the school, and many didn’t have internet or phones for her to check in on them. She was gradually able to work out the kinks, and she began feeling some confidence. She was able to make a big shopping trip at the end of April 2020, and she made home deliveries to every single Children Incorporated sponsored child. Once the 2020-2021 school year began, the shortages eased up, and Angie was able to make plans and to shop without any difficulties.”

“But, unfortunately, she had other challenges. Floyd County had a couple of surges of the COVID-19 virus, driven by variants. She talked with many worried parents and grandparents, especially those who are medically vulnerable. One of her students lost her custodial grandmother due to COVID-19, which was heartbreaking.”

Yearning to get back to normal

“Angie commented that when the current 2021-2022 school year began, she detected a high level of ‘COVID fatigue’ among students and their caretakers. The kids especially yearned to get back to normal, and she empathized with them – she wanted them to be able to have less to worry about and just focus on learning and getting to see their friends and feel a little closer to normal.”

“At the end of our virtual meeting, Angie told me that the parents our sponsored children are incredibly grateful for the help given by the sponsors. With inflation hitting the gas stations and grocery stores, parents’ very limited budgets are being squeezed almost to the breaking point. Our sponsors’ support with the children’s school clothes, classroom supplies, and hygiene items is deeply appreciated.”

***

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

written by Renée Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our U.S. Programs Specialist and an outstanding network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renée's stories

As we begin to receive updates from our affiliated sites in Eastern Kentucky, we want to share with our sponsors and donors how clean up and recovery efforts are coming along in areas in which our sponsored children and their families have been greatly impacted.

At Letcher County and Jenkins Independent Schools, the opening for the new school year, which had originally been scheduled for the week of August 8th, has been postponed indefinitely because of the flooding. Superintendents at both school districts said that damage to the schools alone will not determine when school will resume. In addition to damage to buildings and grounds, the districts have students who have lost everything. Staff members have died and have lost homes, and vehicles and many roads are still impassable.

Thanks to our entire Children Incorporated family for everything you have done to help our families in Eastern Kentucky!

Letcher County Public Schools took damage to six facilities, including the central office, the old vocational school, West Whitesburg Elementary, Whitesburg Middle School, Martha Jane Potter Elementary, and the Fleming-Neon gymnasium.

The Letcher County Public School officials have still not been able to reach many staff members, students and families because of damage to cell phone towers, landline telephones, Internet services and roads.

In the town of Jenkins, the Superintendent said the middle and high school had mud in the parking lot, but nothing inside. Burdine Elementary lost its playground equipment and fencing, and there is damage to the school buildings due to floodwater.

We are incredibly grateful that in the wake of all this devastation, thanks to our supporters, we have currently sent over $47,000 to our affiliated sites in Eastern Kentucky to help families with clean-up efforts and with basic needs.

At this time, we will do our best to keep our supporters up-to-date with relief efforts as they continue, and with information regarding the re-opening of our affiliated schools in the area.

Thanks to our entire Children Incorporated family for everything you have done to help our families in Eastern Kentucky!

***

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

written by Renée Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our U.S. Programs Specialist and an outstanding network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renée's stories

Our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, has two more stops on her virtual tour of Floyd County, Kentucky, which she conducted this past spring. Today, Renée met with Sharon at May Valley Elementary School to hear about how our sponsors are supporting students in this small community.

Meeting with Sharon

“May Valley is located in the community of Martin, right off of Kentucky Route 80. It is a busier and more bustling community than Eastern or Grethel. Martin has a grocery store, a gas/convenience mart, and a Walgreens pharmacy — which doesn’t sound like much but is more than some towns have in this part of the U.S.”

Sharon has always been very active on behalf of her students and readily asks Children Incorporated for extra assistance from our Hope In Action Program.

“The school educates 341 students in pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade. The children here are performing higher than the state average on state tests, which is wonderful, considering that a majority of them come from difficult circumstances. The poverty rate at May Valley is high — 78% of households struggle to make ends meet.”

“The Family Resource Center Coordinator, Sharon, is also our volunteer coordinator. Sharon is an experienced, long serving coordinator who will be retiring in September 2022 and will be greatly missed by all of us at Children Incorporated, and I am sure by her students and the staff at May Valley.”

Our special funds helping kids in need

“Sharon has always been very active on behalf of her students and readily asks Children Incorporated for extra assistance from our Hope In Action Program, as funds are needed. We have been glad to help, and Sharon is very appreciative of our sponsors and donors.”

“We have recently provided aid for two little girls who had no beds. Thanks to our Beds and Linens Fund, the girls now have cozy beds of their own, ensuring they are well rested and ready to learn.”

“Sharon requested travelers’ aid for a little boy and his mother. The boy needed special surgery and was referred to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Thanks to our donors, we were able to provide some assistance with food and gas to and from the hospital, which the family desperately needed with no means to have emergency savings. We were delighted to hear that the young man came through his surgery with flying colors and made an excellent recovery!”

A letter from Sharon

After receiving Hope In Action funding, Sharon sent us to thank our donors for the support. Sharon wrote:

‘I would like to express my appreciation for your generous donation. I completed a home visit recently and saw dire circumstances. The home visit was to assess the living conditions of two little girls, their maternal grandmother, and their maternal great grandmother. The girls’ mother has not been able to look after them for some time. After the death of the mothers’ husband, she lost the family home.’

Sharon sent a photo of the new beds along with her letter of appreciation.

‘The two women rented a house, but it caught fire, and they lost everything. Thankfully, a relative had a small house left to her, and she has allowed the four of them to move into it. When I arrived at this house, among other things, I found that one of the girls was sleeping in the only bed. The two adult women and the other girl were sleeping on an old mattress on the floor.’

‘I called Children Incorporated and spoke to the U.S. Program Director, Renée Kube, who said right away that help could be provided. Renée also mentioned that a special gift had been given by two sponsors to be used for children in the Appalachian Mountain region. My school is located in Floyd County in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. There is a high poverty rate here and many families are struggling.’

‘With the funds, I purchased a set of bunk beds and mattresses for the girls, and a twin bed and mattress for their grandmother. The top bunk has a built-in desk. Arlene and Mary put two stools there, and the girls sit together and do their homework and studies.’

‘The girls are so, so happy with their new beds and want me to thank you for caring about them. They are so appreciative. You have made a huge difference in the girls’ healthy sleep, comfort, and education.’

***

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

written by Renée Kube

Renée oversees Children Incorporated’s work in the United States – from the rural southeast and southwest to our urban areas in New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia. She works closely with our U.S. Programs Specialist and an outstanding network of more than 100 volunteer coordinators at each affiliated site. For sixteen years, Renée managed our sites in the Appalachian Region before taking her current role in 2010.

» more of Renée's stories