Tag Archives: kenya

Together, We Are Feeding the Hungry

Last year, Kenya suffered from a disastrous drought, which killed much livestock and caused widespread crop failure, creating food shortages throughout the country. As a result, the cost of grain increased tremendously. 2.7 million people were affected by the drought, causing many families to worry that they wouldn’t be able to afford to feed their children.

Some of the families that felt the effects of the drought included those of our sponsored children at the Materi Girls’ School in Kenya. When Brother John Konzka founded the school in a village called Taraka many years ago, he had envisioned a place in which young Kenyan girls would be given the opportunity to access the world outside their households.

As an American missionary and teacher in Kenya, Brother John had seen firsthand the leadership roles that Kenyan women were starting to embrace in their families, and he knew that more opportunities for girls to receive an education would present more opportunities in general for Kenyan families. Brother John has since passed away, and the school continues to help hundreds of girls every year.

Many of the students who attend the Materi Girls’ School come from families in villages close by; and because of the drought, not only were their families going without food, but the school was also struggling to feed the girls during the school days as well. Thanks to our Hope In Action Fund and our wonderful donors, however, we were able to send funds to the school for the purchase of enough food to last the remainder of the year, so that the children wouldn’t go hungry, and to help the families of the children that attend the school.

We are endlessly grateful for your support in making sure these girls and their families had enough food to eat!

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN KENYA?

 You can sponsor a child in Kenya 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 Kenya who is available for sponsorship.

A Thousand Shoes for a Thousand Kids

As the end of the year approaches, I can say that the Children Incorporated staff as a whole is amazed by what we have accomplished thus far in 2017, thanks to our incredible sponsors and donors. When our President and CEO, Ron Carter, sent out a letter in December of 2016 asking our supporters to help us reach our goal of providing 1,000 pairs of new shoes to sponsored and unsponsored children at our projects in the coming year, we never dreamed the response would be so tremendous.

Just three months after launching our Shoe Fund campaign, our supporters had already donated more than $30,000 to ensure that children in our program in Latin America, Africa, and Asia would receive new shoes. We can’t thank you enough for what you have done for these special young girls and boys.

The importance of shoes

There are a lot of basic needs that children go without on a daily basis – something we understand all too well. Providing basic necessities, like clothing, food, hygiene items, and educational support, to kids is the foundation of our sponsorship program, and we believe that each and every one of these aspects is incredibly important in helping children have a greater chance to succeed in life. So why did Mr. Carter want to focus in particular on getting shoes to kids in need?

“Over the years, we have heard many heartbreaking stories about children who are unable to attend school because they don’t have wearable shoes.”

“Over the years, we have heard many heartbreaking stories about children who are unable to attend school because they don’t have wearable shoes,” says Mr. Carter. “In some cases, children attend school only every other day because they have to share a single pair of shoes with a sibling. We have always made a point of providing good, solid shoes to these children, knowing that shoes can be very expensive. As such, the Children Incorporated Shoe Fund campaign has been one of our most meaningful endeavors.”

1,235 pairs and counting

We are very grateful that our donors understand that items that can sometimes appear small and insignificant can really improve the lives of children. Shoes may not seem like a big deal, but as Mr. Carter stated, it’s sometimes the difference between a child going to school or not.

Because of you, we have provided children at our affiliated projects the Pedro Poveda School, Guarderia El Angel, the Lourdes School, the Santa Clotilde Orphanage, Villa Emilia, the Montero Home, and the Cristo Rey Mission in Bolivia with shoes this year. Thanks to you, children at Hogar Santa Julia and Hogar Santa Maria in Mexico have brand new shoes to wear to school. If it weren’t for you, children at the Dandora Community Center in Kenya, the Rainbow ‘Erdata’ Center in Ethiopia, Chrishanti Lama Sevana in Sri Lanka, La Milagrosa in Costa Rica, and Santa Isabel Ana Seton in Guatemala wouldn’t have received new footwear, either.

To date, we have provided 1,235 pairs of shoes to kids in need, and we will continue distributing shoes in the upcoming months.

Thank you for all that you do to help children – we couldn’t do it without you.

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The Road Ahead: Catching Up with On the Road’s Shelley Callahan

Around this time last year, Children Incorporated’s Director of Development, Shelley Callahan, and Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, boarded a plane and set off on the first of many adventures together, On the Road. Side by side, the two traveled to dozens of projects around the globe, from as far away as Ethiopia, to as close to home as Kentucky.

The idea was simple: give readers a first-hand look at the impact of child sponsorship. “The day-to-day life in these towns is always a story of triumph over adversity,” Shelley had said. “We want our readers to have a front-row seat on our trips so they can see first-hand how Children Incorporated partnerships work on the ground.”

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Luis and Shelley on their first trip together to Bolivia

The duo is preparing for several more trips in 2017. We caught up with Shelley to get her perspective on the series one year later – and to find out where On the Road will take us this year.

CI: It’s been a year since you and Luis first took readers “On the Road” to visit Children Incorporated projects in Bolivia. What is most memorable to you about that trip, and why?

SC: Going to Bolivia was my first international trip with Children Incorporated, and it really opened my eyes to the work we do. As the Director of Development, I understand how important it is to provide basic needs to our sponsored children, and I am aware of the impact that our sponsors and donors have on our children and their families, but seeing it firsthand in La Paz and in Santa Cruz was really life-changing for me.

Also, getting to see a larger, long-term project come to fruition was beyond amazing. Luis and I were invited to participate in the inauguration of the addition to the Montero School, which had been under construction for more than six months. Thanks to the support of Children Incorporated sponsors, the school now has enough classrooms to teach hundreds of children on a daily basis. We got to celebrate with the community there, and we stuck around to see the children try out their new classrooms. The sheer joy and excitement was extremely moving.

That’s precisely why we are doing this – to show what one person can do. It’s really something to witness, and I’m honored to share it with our readers.

We traveled all over Bolivia, and met so many incredible people, including Carla, a woman who graduated from an affiliate program of ours in La Paz. Carla was abandoned by her parents when they left Bolivia in search of work. She was raised by her grandmother, who struggled to support her granddaughter on meager earnings from the produce she sold at the local market.

With support from her sponsor, and under the guidance of our volunteer coordinator, Josefina, Carla successfully graduated from the Pedro Poveda School.

Now Carla is in college and working to save money to build a house. She lives with her husband, and they have a daughter together. And she still stays in touch with her sponsor after all these years! It was such a testament to the power of what one person can do, and just how a seemingly-small gesture, like donating $30 a month to a child, can be life-changing.

CI: Why did Children Incorporated decide to launch the On the Road series in the first place?

SC: We launched On the Road to bring our sponsors and donors along with us in order to show them the impact their contributions are making on children all over the world.

We could never have anticipated the reaction we had from our readers. I’ve heard many times over the past year that people really do feel as though they went on a trip with me – whether it was to South America, Africa, or in the U.S.

That’s precisely why we are doing this – to show what one person can do. It’s really something to witness, and I’m honored to share it with our readers.

CI: Has anything surprised you along the way?

SC: There are always lots of surprises when you travel, but what really amazes me is how this experience has helped develop my relationship with our donors. People comment all the time on the pictures we share and on the stories we tell about our travels around the globe. It’s really wonderful to share these experiences with our donors.

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Luis with Carla, her daughter, and our coordinator, Josefina, in La Paz, Bolivia

CI: You started in Bolivia, and went on to cover site visits in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Mexico – and even in the U.S. Which was the most challenging? Which was the most rewarding?

SC: This is a hard question, because every country is different, and every project is different, too! But I have to admit that visiting the slums of Dandora and Pumwani in Kenya was especially difficult. Site visits can be physically and emotionally draining at times. Long days of traveling to projects, having meetings, and interviewing children and their families already requires a great deal of stamina, but when you see the conditions the children live in, and you so desperately want more for them in life, it takes a toll.

Of course, out of the toughest challenges are the greatest rewards. In the bleakest of environments, I’ve seen up-close how sponsorship is making an impact. Most of the children we serve abroad would not be able to attend school if it weren’t for their sponsorship through Children Incorporated – it simply wouldn’t be possible. In many cases, school is the only safe haven available to these children. And in the U.S., sponsorship helps in ways that are so important. For example, there are children in Kentucky who are going to school in literally broken flip flops in the middle of the winter, with no coat – and they’re going home on the weekends to a house with no food. Sponsorship keeps those children warm and fed.

CI: Is there a place you wish you could have stayed longer? Why?

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Luis with sponsored children in Kenya

SC: I think I could have stayed in all of these places longer, because our coordinators are so welcoming and grateful for what Children Incorporated is able to do because of our donors. I have felt at home visiting all of our sites. But it would have been really cool to stay in Ethiopia longer, because we had provided some funds to help our affiliate project Kids Hope start a large garden to be maintained by the older sponsored children, to teach them and to provide food for the project – and I would have loved to have seen them get that going. They have since sent pictures, and it looked like everyone was having a lot of fun!

Of course, out of the toughest challenges are the greatest rewards. In the bleakest of environments, I’ve seen up-close how sponsorship is making an impact.

CI: Of all the On the Road stories you published last year, which is your favorite? Why?

SC: Tough question! One particular story that stood out is “Two Wheels and the Wind in Your Hair,” about the sponsor who donated bikes to children in Eastern Kentucky. It was so impactful because I got to be a part of so much of it – connecting with Claudette Gurley of New Hampshire, who had raised the money to purchase the bikes in memory of a friend who had passed away; actually going to Walmart and purchasing the bikes; presenting the bikes to the kids; and then meeting their parents when we dropped the bikes off at their houses. It was all very moving – to see the excitement on the faces of the children. I will never forget one of the boys saying, “I don’t know her (about the donor), but tell her I love her!”

CI: You’ve traveled extensively all over the globe for many years. How many stamps are in your passport?!  But seriously, what’s your best advice to those who want to travel off the beaten path?

SC:  I’ve been fortunate to have been able to see so much of the world. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting nearly thirty foreign countries in my lifetime. I’m grateful for the opportunity to travel with Children Incorporated, and to see firsthand the impact of sponsorship in the lives of the children we serve.

My best advice for any traveler is to have an open mind. Accept whatever comes your way, and respect all cultures and traditions, even if your natural reaction is to try to do things the way you are accustomed to at home. It’s always good to ask questions of everyone you meet – on the airplane, your host, someone who works at a local store. You will find out the best, most interesting information about a country from the locals, and you will hear the most fascinating stories from nationals. It is the only way to get a real, full idea of what life is like in a foreign country. And don’t forget to write it all down! Sharing stories is the way to make the greatest impact – if we tell others stories, we can help change the lives of others in need, just like On the Road tries to do.

Sharing stories is the way to make the greatest impact – if we tell others stories, we can help change the lives of others in need, just like On the Road tries to do.

CI: Did you bring home any souvenirs from the places you visited? What were they and why are they special?

SC: The best souvenirs are the ones that our volunteer coordinators or the children’s families give me, because they are personal and thoughtful. I have to say that the most moving gift I received was hand-painted tablecloths from the mothers of sponsored children at the Montero Home in Bolivia. They took hours to paint beautiful flowers on the tablecloths, which we would see in homes in Bolivia. It is hard to accept gifts from families that are in need, because they could sell them for money instead of give them to me; but it is the most heartwarming gesture, and a gift that will always remind me of these special people whom I have had the privilege of meeting and spending time with.

CI: You are gearing up for more travels soon. Where will you take readers in 2017?

SC: I will be in Costa Rica in May, visiting the La Milagrosa Center, the Costa Rica Center, and the Santa Luisa Center; and we will be distributing shoes to the children there, which is very exciting. On the same trip, I will also visit our projects in Nicaragua, which include the La Recoleccion Home and the Casa Betania Welfare Center – both homes where we support children living in poverty.

In July, Luis and I will be visiting projects in both Sri Lanka and India. We are currently trying to partner with another non-profit organization to take water filters to our children and their families in some of the schools we work with in Hyderabad, India, which is so important. Closer to the end of the year, we will be visiting projects in the Philippines – the details are yet to be determined, but in the past, Luis has taken eyeglasses with him to provide additional support for children and their parents.

Educating Girls Is Critical to Reducing Poverty

International Women’s Day is coming up next week, on March 8. It’s a time for us to reflect on the contributions women make to society, despite the massive challenges they face here and around the globe.

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Anyone can see that women and girls are still less valued than men and boys in many cultures. Women – even educated women – still earn significantly less than men in the job market. And in some cultures, young girls are not even given opportunities for learning or growth so that they may support themselves and their families in the future.

We’d like to think of this as a problem found only in impoverished countries; but the discrepancy is easy to track in America as well.

A recent story in the Dallas Morning News stated that seventeen percent of women and girls in Texas live in poverty. Sadly, that’s not out of line with the national average: 14.7 percent of American women are living in poverty – a significantly higher rate than that of men – according to the 2015 Census.

A lot of that has to do with the wage gap: women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar that men make. But it also has to do with a systematic lack of opportunities for girls, and that’s where Children Incorporated has been directing its efforts.

Education is the key

At Children Incorporated, we work to break that cycle, helping to give children the opportunity to get an education so that they can, as adults, rise above poverty.

We already know that education is critical in reducing poverty rates. Many children live in situations where one or both parents are either uneducated, or at the very least, are undereducated. As such, these parents often have very low-wage jobs, with few or no benefits. Due to a lack of financial resources in the family, they have an incredibly difficult time moving up and improving their station in life. If only the parents were better educated and more qualified to hold higher-paying jobs with benefits and perks, perhaps the family could escape the trappings of poverty.

At Children Incorporated, we work to break that cycle, helping to give children the opportunity to get an education so that they can, as adults, rise above poverty.

Raising role models

One shining example can be found in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Last spring, Children Incorporated Director of Development Shelley Callahan and Director of International Programs Luis Bourdet visited Villa Emilia, a small compound just outside of the city that helps women and children who have been living on the streets turn their lives around.

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The alleys of Santa Cruz are home to countless women who work the streets to keep their children fed. It’s hard and dangerous, and often illegal. The children grow up uneducated and homeless themselves. As they grow into adulthood, the boys can become laborers or field hands. The girls, however, often have no options but to take to the streets too – thus continuing the cycle.

Sister Pilar and the nuns at Villa Emilia find these families in the alleys and bring them to the community to live. The women are trained in garment making, the children are educated, and everyone is taught work ethic and life skills that they can pass down.

The Sisters also help families to build permanence and stability. When families move to Villa Emilia, they live in homes that are owned by the Sisters. However, with the wages they earn in the villa’s garment factory, the women purchase homes of their own, giving their children a fresh start living in a new home and getting an education.

Focusing on women has been paying off – the children wear clothes their mothers have sewn themselves, they live in houses purchased by their mothers, and they go to schools that are available to them because of their mothers’ efforts. These mothers have become role models for the girls – and the boys – of the next generation.

Focusing on women has been paying off – the children wear clothes their mothers have sewn themselves, they live in houses purchased by their mothers, and they go to schools that are available to them because of their mothers’ efforts. These mothers have become role models for the girls – and the boys – of the next generation.

Skills for life

In Lages, Brazil, Children Incorporated began supporting women of Grupo Art’Mulher, a community bakery that sells cookies, breads, pastas, and cakes. The group’s purpose is to teach business skills and a trade to mothers, who also earn an income for their work.

In its first year, twenty women received instruction on how to bake and how to sell baked goods. Grupo Art’Mulher began making a name for itself at the local market, and many members of the first class ended up getting jobs in the food industry.

That was five years ago, and since then, the program has only grown. The mothers of Grupo Art’Mulher have learned to support their families, and have learned cooking and business skills to pass down to their own children. They’ve also earned enough to give back – a percentage of the bakery income will be donated to start music and theater courses in a building across the street froDSCF3105m it this year.

In some areas, like in Santa Cruz and Lages, we sponsor programs aimed toward women and girls specifically. But at all of our projects, we value girls and include them in our programs just as we do boys. We do not support work where intolerance or gender prejudice is known to exist.

In areas for which we fundraise to create special facilities, such as the computer lab we helped get up-and-running in Mexico, or the school we built in Bolivia, female students are afforded the same access to services as the male ones. In Guatemala, we support a wonderful school where children are given vocational training of all kinds – and the girls are just as involved, if not even more so, than the boys.

Changing communities is a slow, but steady process, and all evidence points to the fact that more and more girls are receiving a good education.

Changing communities is a slow, but steady process, and all evidence points to the fact that more and more girls are receiving a good education. That will allow them to do better in life financially than their parents did, and to slowly change the outlook of the entire community in which they live.

Self-Sufficiency

The Pumwani slum of Nairobi is considered one of the worst communities in the world. Between 70,000 and 100,000 people live crowded together in shacks about the size of an American bathroom, with no water or electricity, and along streets of mud.

One of our projects there is St. John’s Community Center, where 200 children are taught academic subjects, as well as trades like woodworking, metal work, sewing, and cooking, so that they can get jobs and get out of the slums.DSCF9626

And sometimes success is easy to see in someone’s face. Callahan and Bourdet met a graduate of the program, Mwanaharusi, who learned to sew at St. John’s. She saved enough money to buy a foot-powered sewing machine, and now has her own business making clothes and mending garments.

It’s modest success by some standards; but in the darkest corners of the world, it’s a major victory. A girl born into poverty in a country where girls are often not educated at all – finishes school, starts her own business, and is able to support herself and her family.

Moving Forward

With every success like Mwanaharusi’s, we move one step closer to equality. But we don’t do it alone. With funding from our sponsors, and with continued attention to childhood poverty and income inequality – both at home and abroad – we will keep moving forward together, one step at a time.

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How do I sponsor a child through 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.

Top 10 Most Popular On the Road Stories of 2016

It’s been an amazing year. Thanks to your support, we’ve been able to feed and clothe children all over the globe, and provide them with supplies for the school year. Your donations also made it possible for us to send holiday gifts this season to tens of thousands of children whose stockings would have otherwise been empty.

DSCF9626It has also been our pleasure to report on our projects around the world, from rural Morgan County, Kentucky to the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, to help illustrate the impact your donations make on the lives of the children we serve. Check out the most popular On the Road stories of 2016:

  1. The Ministering Angels of Casa Hogar Ines: Shelley and Luis meet Sister Flor, who oversees Casa Hogar Santa Ines, a group home for more than thirty girls who have nowhere else to go. See how your contributions help provide school supplies, clothes, shoes, and so much more.

 

  1. Inside that Backpack Lies Choice, Agency, Style and Self-Worth: Few things come to you brand new when you are living below the poverty line. Imagine that for the first time in your life, you get to choose what you want.

 

  1. Two Wheels and the Wind in Your Hair: Shelley C. and Shelley O. surprise Kentucky children with new bikes.

 

  1. Touchdown in La Paz: Can three new bridges and new cable cars lead families out of poverty? What do the efforts to modernize in La Paz mean to its poorest citizens?

 

  1. Bolivia: Visions of Hope from 30,000 Feet: Luis and Shelley return home. They reflect on their trip to Bolivia, and think about what’s in store for the future.

 

  1. Audacity and Hope in Kenya: After a series of bleak visits in the city slums, Shelley finds creativity and tenacity fueling hope and feeding children.

 

  1. Africa: The Impact of Compassion: Shelley considers her site visits in Africa, and the impact of compassion, in this special edition.

 

  1. From Kentucky to Kenya: The Universal Truth of Children: Shelley reflects on recent site visits to Bolivia and Kentucky, and examines some of the parallels that exist between the two.

 

  1. Back to School: Supplying Children with Education: ‘Tis the season of new backpacks, binders, and pencils. But for the fifteen million children living in poverty in the United States, these essential items are out of reach.

 

  1. The Hidden Face of Americana: Back from Bolivia, Shelley takes us to Eastern Kentucky, where the collapse of the coal mining industry has left many families struggling to make ends meet. More than sixteen million children live in poverty in the United States. Meet some of them, and see how your contributions are making a difference.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD THROUGH 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.

The Power of One: A Legacy in Action

It’s not everyday that a small nonprofit—even one that’s been around as long as Children Incorporated—finds out that they’re receiving a donation of $1.75 million.

7-emmelena-ky-070915I suppose that’s why I remember the day so well. We had been saddened in 2015 to hear of the death of Mr. Glenn Foy, an engineering innovator and adventurous spirit who had passed away at such a young age- just  59 years old-  in a private plane accident. I had spoken to him only once, a few months before his death, and remembered him as a kind soul, committed to what we do, and a regular sponsor over the last decade. It wasn’t unusual for Children Incorporated to receive a bequest, although most tend to come from sponsors who have a much longer history with our organization.

Mr. Foy’s law firm informed us that we’d be receiving 28 percent of his estate to help children however we saw fit, which certainly made my eyes widen. It seemed like a large percentage for such a relatively recent donor.

The magnitude of Mr. Foy’s generosity has allowed us to go to new places, accomplish much, and impact the lives of not just children in need, but their families, their communities, and in some cases, generations to come.

But on the day we learned how that 28 percent translated into real dollars—1.75 million of them to be exact—I was struck truly speechless.

Glenn Foy was an adventure-seeker, a cycling enthusiast, an aviator, a lover of life. His annual contributions impacted the lives of eight children over several years, but he was quietly generous, preferring not to receive attention for his philanthropy. His supportive family, I hope, will indulge me the attention I want to give to him now.

The magnitude of Mr. Foy’s generosity has allowed us to go to new places, accomplish much, and impact the lives of not just children in need, but also their families, their communities, and in some cases, generations to come.

Our Hope in Action Fund is, essentially, money set aside to use in tackling an ever-growing list of programs to support, centers to build or improve, and projects to get off the ground. We chip away at it, sometimes even making great strides; but this year, we turned so much of that hope into impactful, measurable action.

Glenn Foy’s Legacy in Action

Pinagpala Center, Philippines

Because of Mr. Foy’s gift, we were able to construct a two-classroom daycare center in Tagaytay City, Philippines. Mothers in this struggling area now have a safe place to leave their children as they seek employment or go to work. Every day, you can find children learning and playing at Pinagpala Center, which also provides a nourishing feeding program to improve the health of each child.

Marching Band and Classrooms at Juan Apostol, Guatemala

img_0249School and community leaders in Guatemala City have come up with a unique way to encourage student participation in school—the Juan Apostol Marching Band. This band’s talents have become known throughout the country, and playing in the band has become the goal for so many students, which, in turn, encourages students to apply themselves academically (you have to show an “A” grade average before you are eligible to participate; Mr. Foy’s gift allowed us to purchase instruments for the band). At the same school, we also built two new classrooms.

Fruit and Vegetable Garden Program, Ethiopia

Multiple generations will benefit from the produce-bearing garden at Kids Hope–Ethiopia. The community surrounding the center is desperate for agricultural knowledge and supplies. Not only will this garden provide food for the children who attend Kids Hope, but it will also serve as a learning experience for the community.

Biofuel Plant, Kenya

This year, we were able to build a biofuel plant at Maria Immaculata school in Nairobi. Biofuel means energy taken from burning the gases emitted from organic matter – in this case, cow manure. It sounds unpalatable, but these enterprising Sisters figured out a way to keep their costs lowered and introduce more sustainable solutions. And we were there to help.

Dandora Medical Clinic, Kenya

The Dandora Community Center holds a special place in our hearts, and renovating their medical clinic helped the center make huge gains in Nairobi. Attendance is booming, which means healthier children and healthier families. Healthy kids spend more time in school, which leads to better-educated generations, which leads to a brighter future for the whole community.

Water Purification Plant, Kenya

At St. Nicholas School in Msamaria, Mr. Foy’s gift allowed us to move forward with plans to repair a water purification plant. The school’s commitment to self-sustainability keeps costs low while teaching children valuable life skills.

Student Attendance Program, Kentucky

DSCF7254At Martha Jane Potter Elementary School, one volunteer coordinator hit upon an idea for a motivational program that would help encourage attendance. Until that point, attendance had been sporadic at best, particularly during standardized testing. We funded the program, the experiment worked, and we expect the school to try it again next year.

College/Career Awareness Program, Kentucky

Rural Kentucky has a tough time in their struggle with poverty, and we find a lot of the same problems in our country’s rural poor areas as we do abroad. Children without resources, struggling their best to survive, when just orienting them towards other futures often makes a lasting impact. We helped a coordinator at Carr Creek Elementary School establish a program that exposes children to various careers, takes them on tours of community colleges, and even helps their parents with career readiness.

After-School Program, New Orleans

The Encore Academy wanted a way to increase its students’ academic success and social and emotional well-being, and they found it through homework assistance and enrichment activities including computer coding and expressive writing. We proudly funded this program, which also includes gifts of clothing-and now thirty participants are benefiting from it. Gifts of books for the school library extend the program’s impact to the entire student body.

Disaster Relief, Baton Rouge

We’d planned to work on a project at Friendship Capitol Academy, but when the floods struck this summer, we shifted our focus to disaster relief. Approximately forty children in grades nine through twelve received practical assistance (clothing, food, cleaning supplies, and hygiene items), as well as support, comfort, and motivation to attend school, despite the upheaval of the world that surrounds them.

Kindergarten “Boys Club,” Washington, D.C.

At Lucy Ellen Moten School, a coordinator noticed that kindergarten-aged boys were having trouble adjusting to the routine and the structure of a school day. What’s more, they tended to take their overwhelming feelings out by pushing, hitting, or biting. Early intervention was identified as the key to helping these boys express themselves more healthily.

Making your Own Legacy

Glenn Foy had never seen our Hope In Action list, yet he chose to leave such a substantial amount to an organization he believed in. Why? How could he have known what an impact his gift would make?

We may never know the answer, but I’d guess that it’s because Mr. Foy witnessed the power of much smaller sums. And I’d guess this because I hear it from our sponsors all the time. They love how connected they feel with their sponsored children, and they know they can trust us to address specific and individualized needs for each and every child. It’s that relationship that keeps our donors engaged for lifetimes (there really is a rather extraordinary number of sponsors who have been with us since Children Incorporated began in 1964!).

They love how connected they feel with a child, and they know they can trust us to address specific and individualized needs for that child.

This year, we’ve launched On the Road series to show the impact of your contributions to the lives of the children we serve around the world. The dispatches are often inspiring; other times, they convey the honest exhaustion and discouragement that come from the burden of poverty. But time and time again, they always find hope.

In this season of gratitude, we urge you to take a few minutes to think about your legacy. Do you have a plan to make what you’ve earned throughout your life count long after you’re gone?

Whether you make arrangements to have the children you sponsor supported until adulthood or whether you’re more interested in donating a lump sum to support our chosen programs the way Glenn Foy did—no gesture goes unnoticed and no effort goes unused.

We approach each new year with hope. In 2016, we were able to turn an unprecedented amount of hope into action. One man’s decision made that possible for children in so many countries around the world. At every level, we’re counting on the continuing generosity of all of our sponsors and donors to keep that momentum going in the years ahead.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD THROUGH 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.