Tag Archives: kentucky

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.

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.

The History of Our U.S. Programs

We are very proud of our U.S. Programs, which support children not only in rural areas of the United States, but in urban areas as well. Just as all organizations do, we started out small, with only a few affiliated projects; and we gradually added more over time.

When Children Incorporated began in 1964, our focus was on one country in particular: Guatemala. Soon, we started to offer assistance in the United States, too. By the late 1960s, our U.S. Programs Division consisted of one site in Menifee, Kentucky, one site in Rutledge, Tennessee, and a few sites near Farmington, New Mexico. Just twenty years later, we encompassed two divisions in four states: an Appalachian Division in North Carolina; and a Native American Division in Arizona, New Mexico, and North Dakota. The organization lost its connections with sites in Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Dakota after a while. By the late 1980s, we had expanded to 32 projects total in North Carolina, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Growing fast

During the mid to late 1990s, our U.S. Programs Division experienced its greatest growth period. Appalachian affiliations were initiated in West Virginia and southwestern Virginia. The organization began to focus on the state of Kentucky again, and we developed a partnership with Family Resource and Youth Services Centers (FRYSC). By partnering with these centers, Children Incorporated was able to expand our program throughout many counties in Eastern Kentucky. Our Native American Division simultaneously began making affiliations in South Dakota and Utah.

Today, we affiliate with 147 projects in New Mexico, Arizona, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, North Carolina, Louisiana, Kentucky, and in Washington, D.C. to help thousands of children in the United States every day.

Addressing urban and rural poverty

By the early 2000s, the need for our program in urban areas became apparent; so Children Incorporated decided to tackle the issue head-on. After focusing on rural poverty during much of our history, we felt the need to address and respond to urban poverty. By partnering with Communities In Schools (CIS), a school dropout prevention program that works in public school systems in the United States, we were able to expand our outreach even further, and assist children in Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Richmond, Virginia; and New Orleans.

Today, we affiliate with 147 projects in New Mexico, Arizona, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, North Carolina, Louisiana, Kentucky, and in Washington, D.C. to help thousands of children in the United States every day, by providing them with basic needs so they can attend school, obtain an education, and have the opportunities they deserve and need to succeed in life.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN THE UNITED STATES?

You can sponsor a child in the United States 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 the United States who is available for sponsorship.

A Letter of Appreciation

Located in the idyllic mountainous Eastern Kentucky Coalfield, Magoffin County, where our affiliated project Salyersville Elementary School is located, holds the unfortunate distinction of having one of the highest poverty rates in the state. The coal mining industry once employed the majority of the area’s workforce. However, with the recent sharp decline of the industry, many area families have turned to small-scale and low-wage farming in order to provide for themselves; and unemployment and poverty have become intrinsic to Salyersville’s people.

Thankfully, our Volunteer Coordinator at Salyersville Elementary School, Alice, has the Children Incorporated program to rely on to help sponsored and unsponsored children receive basic needs, which not only helps kids, but their families as well. To explain the impact our program has on our sponsored and unsponsored children at the school, Alice wrote a letter to our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, about how important sponsors and sponsorship are to kids living in poverty.

Bringing smiles to kids’ faces

In her letter, Alice wrote, “Children Incorporated is truly a blessing to my community. It has brought so many smiles to the children’s faces. There are so many kids that benefit from this organization. Without help from this program, so many of our kids would do without. I am truly amazed at all the things sponsors through Children Incorporated do. To see these kids get packages from a ‘stranger’ that loves them is beyond them. It is breathtaking to see what just a note or card can do.

“Putting a smile on a child’s face is a miracle in itself. Coming from a family that has had its share of hardship, I personally know the feeling of not having material things like other kids. It makes me want to succeed as a volunteer coordinator for Children Incorporated. That helping hand makes more of a difference than anyone can ever imagine. Many kids and families take for granted the opportunity they have in being able to just go out and purchase new things for school – when other children have nothing. This program means the difference between a child being able to have their basic needs met for school and a child doing without.”

A thoughtful gift

“I would like to say thank you for everything that you do for our kids. With your help, our kids can have a brighter future.”

Alice continued, “I will never forget when one of my new students got a care package from her new sponsor. This girl was very hesitant to open the box. I explained to her that it was a gift from her sponsor, and I told her they wanted her to have what was inside. This girl, with a tear in her eye, says, ‘Why would anyone buy me something?’ My heart broke. I wanted to break down and cry. As I sat there with my heart in pieces I stood up and grabbed her in my arms and hugged her, and asked her, ‘Why not?’

“As she opened the box, she looked with the biggest eyes. It was filled with clothes, art supplies, toys, and snacks. She leaned over into the box and grabbed a box of snacks and said, ‘Wow! I finally got snacks for school. I can’t wait to show my daddy. He will be so excited.’ As she went through her box of goodies, she showed me each piece, and kept smiling and hopping around with excitement the entire time. She had to lay all her clothes out and look them over. She rubbed the soft footie to her face, and I truly cherished every moment she pulled something new out of her box.

“I would like to say thank you for everything that you do for our kids. With your help, our kids can have a brighter future.”

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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 the Extra Mile for Kids in Need

Summers can be rather boring for children. While kids usually love the thought of being out of school and free from homework assignments, they often have a difficult time staying occupied and active. One woman from Warfield, Kentucky found a way to change that this summer. Denise Stepp, who serves jointly as the coordinator for the Warfield Elementary School Family Resource Center and as a volunteer coordinator for Children Incorporated’s child sponsorship program, established a gardening program at her school. As a result, not only do the children keep busy and have fun, but Denise has also provided a service to many families in the community.

Denise, who loves gardening, decided to share her green thumb skills with the students that she serves. She went to the school principal and asked for permission to begin a food-to-table gardening program that the students, out on their summer break, would oversee. He gave his blessing for a large plot of land behind the school, and he wrote a grant for a small greenhouse and gardening supplies. Denise rounded up the children and got them excited about planting, caring for, and harvesting the food they would grow. Children Incorporated then provided funds so that Denise could purchase a compost barrel in order to help the children learn how compost enriches garden soil.

Denise has been volunteering for Children Incorporated for over twenty years, and during this time, she has worked constantly to remove barriers between home and school by providing various resources and services.

Denise’s summer gardening camp ran every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer, and she and her helpers worked with the kids on gardening techniques. Funds from Children Incorporated allowed Denise to buy supplies such as canning jars and freezer bags to preserve the garden food. The children have loved participating in the summer gardening camp! They have taken part in many hands-on learning activities, from baking muffins with zucchini they themselves have grown to making sauerkraut from their cabbage harvest – and they’ve taken jars and bags full of freshly-picked vegetables home to be shared with their families.

A long-time volunteer

Denise has been volunteering for Children Incorporated for over twenty years, and during this time, she has worked constantly to remove barriers between home and school by providing various resources and services. The Warfield community was once a coal-producing area; however, as a result of a decline in the coal business, there is now a high unemployment there. The community now has a 93 percent poverty rate. There are a lot of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, and there are many single-parent families. The children endure great poverty, and some come from rather unstable homes. Denise cares deeply about the students she serves, and she goes the extra mile to show them love and support. Her job does not end at 3:00 p.m. with the close of the school day. She takes the job home with her; it is consistently on her mind.

Denise doesn’t just talk the talk – she walks the walk. Thanks to the child sponsorship program at the school and additional contributions from Children Incorporated, Denise is able to ensure that many children receive basic needs that support their well-being and health, such as clothing and shoes, and also school supplies, books, and backpacks. Under her guidance, the school system also held a summer feeding program, which transported breakfasts and lunches to 600 children Monday through Friday all summer long.

As the new school year begins, corn and potatoes will be harvested from the summer garden, and used to prepare food for the students and families on Kentucky Heritage Day. On October 13 of this year, Denise will host a pig roast, and the children will experience the rewards of their hard work by enjoying foods prepared with vegetables they’ve grown. . The school garden has given the children responsibility and a sense of ownership of their school. They take pride in the building, and vandalism is at an all-time low. They are also learning to eat more vegetables in order to be healthy and fight obesity. Much of this is due to the dedication and love displayed by Denise Stepp.

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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.

Helping Kayla to See

When I met Kayla* while traveling last year with Children Incorporated’s U.S. Projects Specialist, Shelley Oxenham, it was the beginning of a new school year for her. Almost right away, I noticed that she had an issue with her eyes: one of them was slightly crossed, its pupil leaning in towards her nose. When I asked our Volunteer Coordinator, Sharon, at May Valley Elementary School where Kayla attends, in Floyd County, Kentucky, if Kayla had ever had an eye exam, she told me that Kayla had worn glasses the previous year. Over the summer, however, the glasses broke, and Kayla’s family didn’t have enough money to replace them; Kayla has four siblings – two brothers and two sisters – who are also in elementary school, and Kayla’s family struggles to get by, with two parents holding low-paying jobs.

The gift of sight

Sharon mentioned to us that she was very worried about the fact that Kayla still didn’t have glasses once school started again, because she was getting headaches from trying to read the blackboard, which was keeping her from being able to concentrate in school. Sharon feared that the situation would cause Kayla to fall behind her classmates, and she knew that Kayla already faced a lot of obstacles in life coming from a family that lives in poverty. Shelley told Sharon to send a request for money from our Hope In Action Fund to get Kayla a new pair of glasses as soon as possible.

A few weeks later, Children Incorporated sent Sharon the funds to pay for an eye exam for Kayla, as well as to pay for a new pair of glasses. Now, Kayla’s health and learning are no longer affected by her eye issue, and her vision has improved. Sharon reports that Kayla has less difficulty keeping up in class now – and she even sent us a picture of a smiling Kayla to show us just how happy she is with her new glasses.

*Name changed for child’s protection.

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HOW DO I DONATE TO THE HOPE IN ACTION FUND?

You can donate to our Hope In Action Fund 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 and make a donation on our website.