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A Host of Programs for Kids in Need

Morgan County is located in the northeastern part of Kentucky amongst a terrain of rolling hillsides, with no true mountains. The Licking River, the main waterway in the county, runs through its eponymous valley, which houses the county seat, West Liberty. It is truly beautiful county, although not an area of our country without its problems.

Children Incorporated is remembered fondly to the community of Morgan County for raising over $10,000 in disaster relief funds in 2012 from our sponsors and donors.

Morgan County was never a very active coal mining area, although it was — and continues to be — impacted by the decline of the coal mining industry across eastern Kentucky. Historically, most of the county’s coal mining camps were opened between 1907 and 1909, and most closed in the 1920’s as larger, more lucrative coal deposits were discovered elsewhere. The last camp, in Cannel City, closed and laid off its 250 employees in 1933. Back then, that meant that miners who chose to reside in Morgan County would commute, usually by train, to more southern counties that had bigger operations and were more profitable for their owners.

Present-day Morgan County

Today, Morgan County’s economy is primarily farming — cattle and burley tobacco, as well as sorghum, a cereal grain that is primarily used as livestock feed, which is also turned into ethanol. Kentucky leads the nation in sweet sorghum production, with the plant being boiled down to become sorghum molasses.

Each September, Morgan County hosts a Sorghum Festival in West Liberty. Highlights of the weekend include the Morgan County Sorghum Bowl, which is a football game featuring Morgan County High School and a neighboring rival, and the crowing of the Sorghum Queen during halftime. The weekend also includes a busy arts and crafts fair, which includes demonstrations of the sorghum being boiled down into syrup.

A History of Helping in Morgan County

In 2012, devastating tornadoes swept through eastern Kentucky. Morgan County was one of the hardest hit, with a tornado devastating West Liberty. Among other businesses damaged or destroyed by the tornado, the Morgan County Tree Nursery was lost. By 2014 it was rebuilt and had seedlings in production. Today, the county’s tree seedling operations help fuel the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s $12 billion-dollar timber industry.

Children Incorporated is remembered fondly to the community of Morgan County for raising over $10,000 in disaster relief funds in 2012 from our sponsors and donors. The first of this aid was personally delivered to Morgan County by our President and CEO, Ron Carter, during a visit to our affiliated projects after the tornado.

Morgan County High School

Our volunteer coordinator Alicia, is pictures with one of our sponsored children at Morgan County High School

Morgan County High school educates about 611 teenagers — 71% which come from low income families.  In addition to the federal free breakfast and lunch program, the high school is one of three in the county to offer an early free supper on select days. Kids may stay after school from 3:15 p.m. — 4:15 p.m. and report to the cafeteria.

“During my last visit to the school in 2019, I was so pleased to see that there was a new building in place since the last time I had been in Morgan County in 2017,” explained our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“The building was completed in the fall of 2018, with the students moving in after fall break. Over the summer of 2019, the old school building was demolished, and a parking lot was built in its place. The area looks totally different than my last visit —even the huge gym, which was housed in a separate building, is being refaced to match the look of the new building.”

A proud coordinator

“Over the years, our volunteer coordinator at Morgan High, Alicia, has really built up the programs that the Family Resource Center offers to students — from offering school supplies and  clothes to students to offering support for parents — Alicia works so hard to ensure that kids and their families are getting the resources they need,” said Renée.

“Over the years, our volunteer coordinator at Morgan High, Alicia, has really built up the programs that the Family Resource Center offers to students.”

“One of the programs she is most proud is the weekend feeding program. Because Alicia understands that receiving food to take home can be embarrassing for her students, she runs the program with a great deal of sensitivity, filling book bags that look just like all the other book bags in the school so kids don’t feel singled out or look different from their peers.”

“During my visit, Alicia said one of the biggest problems in the county is drugs. People get hooked for a variety of reasons, and they degenerate into thinking only of their next fix. She wants the students at her school to avoid the trap of hopelessness, and to see that their futures can be different and better,” explained Renée.

“In helping them, Alicia tries to get her students to take advantage of a great after-school program at the Area Technology Center in town, where trades such as welding or mechanics are taught so high school age students can see that they have career options once they graduate and  don’t fall into the same despair as many adults around them have.”

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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 sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child that is available for sponsorship.

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Contributing to an Entire Community

Throughout the year, our affiliated projects from around the world share special project proposals with us that will help improve the lives of not only the children that we support but their families as well. Thanks to our Hope In Action program, we are often able to support many of our projects so they can grow their programs and offer skills training and other important resources to impoverished communities in which we work.

A proposal from Bolivia

One such proposal we received in 2021 was from the Montero School in Bolivia, where our volunteer coordinator requested funds to construct an agriculture school on the same property as the existing school.

“This area is mainly an agricultural area, and many children and adults have to go to nearby cities, even a few hours away to Santa Cruz to get better training,” explains our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet.

“With the support of this training institution, Children Incorporated is contributing to the whole community. The agricultural school will include a barn with cows, a pigpen, and a chicken coop in which students and their parents can learn how to take care of animals as well as grow food, skills they can then apply to their own lives to better their employment opportunities or gain income in the future!”

About the Montero School

The small, landlocked nation of Bolivia comprises 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) and lush, lowland plains of Amazon jungle to the east. 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, resulting in widespread malnutrition, crime and disease.

Thanks to our Hope In Action program, we are often able to support many of our projects so they can grow their programs and offer skills training and other important resources to impoverished communities in which we work.

The remote town of Okinawa — settled in the 1950s by Japanese immigrant farmers — is no exception to these maladies. Here, in 1976, the Montero Home/School was founded as a girls’ home by local religious leaders to assist children of the Japanese settlers, as well as native Bolivians. Today, the school has expanded its mission, providing a safe refuge and learning center for impoverished girls and boys in the area. Some children who come to Montero Home/School have never experienced the comfort of a bed, a bath, or a nutritious meal – let alone an education. Here, children receive these basic needs, along with the opportunity to rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances from which they have come.

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How do I sponsor a child in Bolivia?

You can sponsor a child in Bolivia 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 Bolivia that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

 

With Deepest Thanks for Our Organization

The To’Hajiilee Day School, Children Incorporated’s longest-established affiliated project in New Mexico, educates around 317 children and youth annually in grades kindergarten through 12 in a community in which 99% of children come from low income families.

Karen expressed her deepest thanks for our organization. She stressed that not only do the kids love our program, but the parents, grandparents, and guardians are so grateful too,” said Renée.

Our volunteer coordinator is Katrina, a person with a dynamic personality, who has over the years, supported families of children in our sponsorship program as the school’s Family Engagement Coordinator. In that role, she is responsible for all school events and for raising parent participation. She also works with the mobile food bank to provide monthly food distribution. 

Getting to know Katrina

“Katrina is very well-organized, and makes sure that our sponsored children get everything they need on a monthly basis – from food, to clothes to school supplies, she does the best she can to shop for our kids to find the best deals so donations from sponsors go a long way,” explains Renée Kube, our Director of U.S. Programs.

The last time that I met with Katrina in 2019, she gave me a full tour of the school’s buildings and grounds. I also got to meet some of the seniors in our program who were doing very well in school who I thought would make great candidates for our Higher Education Program.”

Children Incorporated is able to offer support to kids at the To’Hajiilee Day School thanks to our amazing sponsors.

“Katrina had also arranged for me to meet with one of the parents of our sponsored children, Karen. Karen is a single mom. She has five children, two of which are in our program. Karen had a job at one time but lost it and has been unemployed. The children’s father is not in the picture, so Karen really struggles to provide for everything the kids need,” said Renée.

Meeting Karen

“During our meeting, Katrina praised Karen as one of her best and most involved parents. She never misses a PTA meeting, teacher conference, or any school event. She is supportive of the children’s studies and has them do their homework and any special projects. Additionally, Karen serves as a volunteer for Katrina’s Family Engagement Center. She helps with a lot of the events. Finally, Karen has been a great helper for Katrina with our sponsorship program. Karen accompanies her on shopping trips and helps with every aspect from purchasing to distributing.”

“In turn, Karen expressed her deepest thanks for our organization. She said the help provided to all the children is so important to them. She stressed that not only do the kids love our program, but the parents, grandparents, and guardians are so grateful too,” said Renée.

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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 sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in the United States that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

A Note to Remember

The remote town of Newcomb is situated on the Navajo Indian Reservation, amid the incredible desert beauty of northwestern New Mexico. The Reservation comprises more than 27,000 square miles of spectacular but inhospitable countryside, extending into both Utah and Arizona. Despite its massive scale and rich cultural history, residents of the Reservation are desperately poor. Newcomb is no exception. A trading post (which includes an impressive Navajo artifact museum) and a fish hatchery offer the only steady employment opportunities.

“She recalled how the impact had been profound, and she wishes all principals would give their staff the encouragement and time to manage the sponsorship program.”

Where the water comes out

Due to widespread, debilitating unemployment, area families struggle to afford even the most basic necessities as they grapple with the effects of poverty. For this reason, the Tohaali’ Community School (whose name means “where the water comes out” in Navajo, due to the creek flowing nearby) is essential to this area of New Mexico. Here, children receive nutritious meals, encouragement, and a quality education — the key to breaking the cycle of poverty so that students may rise above the difficult economic circumstances from which they come.

“Tohaali’ Community School’s  closest post office is in Newcomb, New Mexico, which is about 16 miles away. There are 149 students in grades kindergarten through eighth. Almost all of them come from impoverished families,” said Children Incorporated Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

Making an incredible difference

Renèe with our volunteer coordinator, Delores

“While I  was visiting the school in 2019, the principal, Delores , greeted me with a  great deal of warmth. Delores has been principal at several schools over her long career, and it was at one of her former schools where she first became familiar with our sponsorship organization. She recalled how the impact had been profound, and she wishes all principals would give their staff the encouragement and time to manage the sponsorship program.”

“She told me about how, at her former school, one of the families was provided for through our Hope In Action Fund, which was life changing for them. The mother wrote her a long note inside a greeting card, and Delores keeps that card in her office desk drawer to this day. Whenever she needs a special boost after a rough day, she will read that note and know that we can, working together, make an incredible difference,” said Renée.

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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 sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in United States that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Comfort at Home and at School

About half the students at our affiliated project, the Dzilth Community School in New Mexico, live at the school during the week, as the distance from their homes in the remote areas of the Navajo Nation make a daily commute impossible. Furthermore, due to widespread, debilitating unemployment in the area surrounding the school, families struggle to afford even the most basic necessities. As a result, very few of the students have ever eaten a balanced diet or known what it means to be properly cared for.

Thankfully, the students at the Dzilth Community School receive three nutritious meals a day, as well as educational support — something these deserving Native American children need desperately.

Thankfully, the students at the Dzilth Community School receive three nutritious meals a day, as well as educational support — something these deserving Native American children need desperately. Additionally, thanks to our generous sponsors, children at the school also receive school supplies, clothes, and other items that help them to be comfortable and happy when they are at home on the weekends and during holidays.

Visiting Dzilth Community School

“In late 2019, I visited our volunteer coordinators, Phyllis and Karen, at the Dzilth Community School. Phyllis and Karen run a flawless sponsorship program — they are great record keepers, and the sponsored students also create beautiful cards and letters for the sponsors almost once a month,” explained Renée Kube, Children Incorporated’s Director of U.S. Programs.

Phyllis and Karen pictured with two of our sponsored children

“Phyllis works in the main office and Karen is the school librarian. The first half of our meeting was in the library and included a nice chat with two 8th grade students in our sponsorship program, Norah and Lincoln*. Norah has been in the Children Incorporated program since 2015 and Lincoln since 2018. They were both very thankful for the program and wanted to know how we found their sponsors and where their sponsors live.”

After our chat with the students, we got to meet the parents of a sponsored child named Allison.* Allison’s parents were so thankful for the program. For a while her dad did not have a job, and money was very tight. They were so appreciative of the program and said it was so good to know that their child’s needs were cared for by their sponsors,” said Renée.

A nice home for Parker

“Next, I headed to a home visit; we visited a sponsored child named Parker’s* mom whom I had visited two years prior. During our visit in 2017, Parker and her mom lived in the grandmother’s small, isolated house down a muddy road about fifteen or twenty minutes from the school. Since then, Parker’s mom has qualified for Navajo Housing Authority (NHA) housing and is living closer to school in a new three-bedroom single-story home on a paved road lined with other NHA houses.”

“Parker’s mom was so thrilled to show off their home, and I was thrilled to see it. Parker has her own room and also has use of the third bedroom for her books and art supplies. She has a very generous sponsor who gives her large additional gifts. When Parker moved into her new home, she was able to go to the store and purchase new bedding, rugs, lighting, chairs, bathroom items and more.”

*Names changed to protect the children.

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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 sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in the United States that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

A Long Way to Go for Resources

The Ojo Encino (pronounced “OH-ho en-SEE-no”) Day School lies in a remote area of north-central New Mexico. The closest landmark may well be the Continental Divide. Even the nearest post office — in Cuba, New Mexico — is almost 40 miles to the northwest.

Our affiliated project, the Ojo Encino Day School, offers impoverished children in this area nutritious meals, encouragement, and a quality education, as well as support with basic needs through our sponsorship program — all despite the closest stores being hours away.

Although situated outside of the Navajo Indian Reservation’s boundaries, this area is still very much part of the United States’ “Navajo Country.” The children who attend Ojo Encino live with their families in traditional Navajo hogans scattered throughout the spectacular but inhospitable desert. Winters here are harsh, and summers are hot and dry. Because of widespread, debilitating unemployment, area families struggle to afford even the most basic necessities as they grapple with the socioeconomic effects of poverty. Our affiliated project, the Ojo Encino Day School, offers impoverished children in this area nutritious meals, encouragement, and a quality education, as well as support with basic needs through our sponsorship program — all despite the closest stores being hours away.

Making Trips to Albuquerque

“In the Fall of 2019, I met with our coordinator, Nora, at Ojo Encino Day School,” explained Shelley Oxenham, Children Incorporated U.S. Projects Specialist.

“Nora is the school secretary, athletic director and volleyball coach — she is a busy lady! She does most of her Children Incorporated work at home in the evenings and weekends. Although there is no staff available to help her with the Children Incorporated program at the school, she does have a helper with her shopping trips.”

“Nora does most of her shopping at Walmart in Albuquerque, a three-and-a-half-hour round trip drive. She purchases clothes and shoes for the students and sometimes she purchases snacks,” said Shelley.

Challenges for Families and Children

Nora pictured with Shelley Oxenham

“She told me that most of the families get enough food stamp assistance to cover a month’s worth of groceries — but even the closest well-stocked grocery store is approximately an hour and forty-five minutes away. There is a very small grocery store in Cuba, about a thirty-minute drive, but the food is very expensive, and it is often outdated or spoiled; it is a last resort for food.”

“The majority of families live in homes equipped with water and electricity — only a few on the northwest side of the region are without water. Most children live with their parents; there are very few students in the school who are being raised by grandparents.  At most of our U.S. schools, we are hearing of more and more grandparents raising grandchildren (or even great-grandchildren) so this was quite the exception, and I was glad to hear it,” said Shelley.

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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 sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in the United States that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD