Tag Archives: On the Road

Connecting Kids with Resources They Need

Parents who are raising kids while living in poverty often don’t have much time to participate in their children’s lives like other parents might. Instead of driving them to piano practice or to the soccer field, parents who struggle to make ends meet are working long hours or multiple jobs — or trying to find resources in their free time to provide food and clothing for their families.

“One-hundred-percent of students at our affiliated project, Lucy Ellen Moten Elementary School in Washington, D.C., come from economically disadvantaged homes,” explains our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“One-hundred-percent of students at our affiliated project, Lucy Ellen Moten Elementary School in Washington, D.C., come from economically disadvantaged homes,” explains our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“It is nearly impossible for parents to get involved in school activities for their kids, but thankfully, the school focuses on not only academic development but arts-integrated instruction and social and emotional development as well.”

Introducing Connected Schools

Our volunteer coordinator, Jamarl, works hard to ensure the needs of our sponsored children our met. 

Located in the Fort Stanton neighborhood of Ward 8, Moten Elementary School serves 323 students from PK3 and PK4 (pre-kindergarten for three-and-four-year-olds) through fifth grade. The children benefit from having a Literacy Lab, a Young Playwrights program, art, music, choir, and a mentorship with the Washington Ballet. Despite all these excellent programs, more help and support are needed for kids because they struggle to meet D.C. standardized tests’ guidelines. Just 38% meet math benchmarks, and only 50% meet English benchmarks.

“This is one of the reasons D.C. Public Schools chose Moten Elementary School as one of the 10 D.C. Connected Schools,” said Renée.

“According to the District of Colombia Public Schools website, Connected Schools works to ‘accelerate outcomes for our students [in] 10 schools across the city [that] will become resource hubs in their community to meet our students’ and families’ needs in and out of the classroom. Connected Schools take a whole child, whole school, whole community approach by making schools spaces that support not only a student’s academic development, but a family’s overall wellbeing through access to resources related to health, employment, housing, and more. This model builds on the full-service community school model and is grounded in national research and educational best practices.’”

 “Our Volunteer Coordinator, Jamarl, at Moten, also works as a Connected Schools Manager. The program is geared towards getting more kids into case management, and they are working hard on parent and community engagement and involvement as well,” explained Renée.

Meeting with Jamarl

“I met with Jamarl over a FaceTime appointment. We had a great virtual meeting. I asked him about his students’ ongoing needs. He explained that uniforms are optional in D.C., although virtually all the schools have chosen to use them. However, Moten’s new principal has eliminated the requirement, and so what Jamarl could previously order in bulk, simply by gender and size, is an entirely different matter now. He said the kids are wearing the same few outfits day after day, to school and at home, and on weekends. They are getting a greater amount of wear and tear. He could always use extra funds for clothes. He would especially like to have spare socks and underwear for those PreK and kindergarten accidents. He could also use extra funds for school supplies.”

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How do I sponsor a child in Washington, D.C.?

You can sponsor a child in Washington, D.C. 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 Washington D.C. that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Accelerating Reading for Children in Arizona

*Note: This blog was written prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although much has changed regarding our sponsored children’s learning experience in the past months, our On the Road stories remain relevant in regards to our volunteer coordinator’s work and the impact of sponsorship on children in our program thanks to our sponsors. We are pleased to continue to share stories with you about our work.

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Administrators at the schools we partner with are the ones most closely linked to the children in our program and have a deep understanding of the tools they need to help them excel in school.

Accelerated Reader can also help improve a student’s knowledge of many different varieties of books and also raise their vocabulary.

While visiting our affiliated project, Lake/Desert View Elementary School in Arizona last year, our President and CEO, Ron Carter, met with our volunteer coordinator, Elouise, and the school’s principal, Ms. Erikson, who felt that her students would greatly benefit from using Accelerated Reader — a computer software that monitors the practice of reading.

Understanding Accelerated Reader

Renaissance Learning, Inc., the company that developed Accelerated Reader (AR), states on its website that the software was developed for use in K-12 schools and is “intended to help children at school manage their reading, to provide teachers with the assessment of the reading ability of a class, and to encourage reading.”  Accelerated Reader can also help improve a student’s knowledge of many different varieties of books and also raise their vocabulary. It comes in two versions: a desktop version and a web-based version on the company’s online portal.

Other benefits of Accelerated reader software

Beyond just encouraging reading among students, AR also provides:

-An assessment of a student’s reading level through the STAR (Standardized Test for the Assessment of Reading) test

-A system of using a reading formula which includes average sentence length, average word length, vocabulary grade level, and number of words in the book

-A computer-based quiz that assesses comprehension and tests general knowledge using a computer-based 3 to 20 question multiple-choice quiz

– A  range of reports for parents and teachers that detail ongoing student progress.

Thanks to our Hope In Action Fund, Mr. Carter was able to provide Ms. Erikson with funding to purchase the AR software, so children and teachers at Lake/Desert View Elementary School could benefit from computerized reading support and enrichment. 

Ms. Erikson and one of our sponsored children

Helping Carlotta buy a home  

After meeting with Ms. Erikson, Mr. Carter had the chance to meet with Carlotta, one of the mothers of children enrolled in our sponsorship program.

“Carlotta is a single mother of six who works hard to take care of her children and her home,” said Mr. Carter.

Carlotta lives in a small apartment that costs her over $700 a month in rent. Not long ago, she was presented with the opportunity to purchase a used trailer for $3000 and place it on the land she already owns. This would save her the $700 rent each month and give her and her children more room. At the time of Mr. Carter’s visit, Carlotta had about $500 saved up to purchase the trailer.

“Understanding that the purchase of a trailer would be life-changing for Carlotta and her kids, I agreed to provide the family with Hope In Action Funds for the remaining amount,” explained Mr. Carter

A few weeks later, our volunteer coordinator Elouise reported to Mr. Carter that the trailer had been purchased, and there were funds were left over to buy materials for some small repairs and buy a refurbished propane stove.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN ARIZONA?

You can sponsor a child in Arizona 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.

SPONSOR A CHILD

No Place for Homeless Kids in D.C.

It’s difficult to comprehend that children can continue to go to school when they don’t have a home — but for some students at John Hayden Johnson Middle School in Washington, D.C., they don’t have an option.

We hear from Children Incorporated Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, about how homeless children in our nation’s capital manage to stay in school and how administrators at Johnson Middle are supporting them.

We hear from Children Incorporated Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, about how homeless children in our nation’s capital manage to stay in school and how administrators at Johnson Middle are supporting them.

A newer affiliation

“Johnson Middle is one of our newer affiliated projects in Washington, D.C,” explained Renée.

“The school is located in the Douglass neighborhood of Ward 8. It is adjacent to the old, historic St. Elizabeth’s Psychiatric Hospital, which opened in 1855 as the first federally operated psychiatric hospital in the United States. The back of the school grounds borders the hospital’s east and west cemeteries.”

“The school serves 275 children in grades sixth through eighth. The make-up of the student body is 97% black and 3% Hispanic/Latino. Sixty-two percent of students come from within the district’s boundary — and every student at the school is considered economically disadvantaged,” said Renée.

Meeting Jason

“Our Volunteer Coordinator at the school is Jason. It has taken him a while to build rapport and trust with his parents, but he is obviously a very caring person and wants to make a difference.”

John Hayden Johnson Middle School supports kids who are struggling as homeless teens.

While visiting with him, Jason told me that the school has a large percentage of homeless families, mostly single mothers, and their children. The shelters in Washington, D.C. will often get too full and overcrowded, and most are not safe places for children as they offer little protection,” said Renée.

“Jason continued to explain that Washington D.C. City Council has established a program for homeless women and children where the family is put into a motel room, and the city pays the motel rates. The children ride the city buses free to their schools so that they can continue to go instead of dropping out due to a lack of transportation. He said almost all of the kids he has put on our program are homeless.”

A need for enrichment for kids

“Before we concluded our meeting, I asked Jason how Children Incorporated could further help him in his efforts to support homeless children at his school,” said Renée.

“Jason said his biggest needs as a coordinator are food, especially nutritious snacks, hygiene kits, and good old fashioned “play clothes,” which will keep the students’ uniforms in better shape for a more extended period of time. He told me that many kids are wearing their uniforms when they get home in the evenings and on the weekends because that’s all they have.”

“Finally, Jason informed me that he wished for a way to provide enrichment outside of the neighborhood for kids. Ward 8 is lacking in anything cultural for the children to enjoy after school,” said Renée.

“Jason dreams of taking his students into Ward 2, which can be seen from the hills near the school grounds. Ward 2 has the National Mall, the White House, the monuments, and the museums.  It’s what tourists experience, but not what his students have ever seen in person. He feels that it is incredibly important for kids living in D.C. to get to experience all that the city has to offer by taking them on field trips that will show them a world that exists outside of their impoverished neighborhood.”

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How do I sponsor a child in Washington, D.C.? 

You can sponsor a child in Washington, D.C. 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 Washington, D.C. that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

Taking Care of Her Own

We are fortunate that we often get news from our volunteer coordinators that really brightens our days.

Today, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, shares a  sweet story about two brothers who were recently enrolled in our sponsorship program and are waiting for sponsors.

Today, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, shares a  sweet story from our volunteer coordinator, Genevieve, about two brothers, Brandon and Alex*, who were recently enrolled in our sponsorship program and are waiting for sponsors.

A story about Brandon and Alex

“Genevieve called the other day and wanted to tell me about the boys’ stepmom, Patricia,” said Renée.

“Brandon is in second grade and Alex is in first. These brothers are hard of hearing, and neither speaks. They have a special teacher for the hearing impaired, and they can sign. Their mother abandoned the family when the boys were very young, and their single father was struggling to raise them. In order to care for his children, the boys’ father hired a babysitter to care for his sons so he could work, a young woman who he knew through extended family.”

The family’s home in Kentucky

“It’s not too surprising that after talking daily about the boys’ well-being and progress, their father and the babysitter grew close, and eventually they fell in love and got married. Now they have a little one of their own!” exclaimed Renée.

“I was so happy to hear this amazing story, but Genevieve saves the best for last. Before we ended our call, she told me that the boys’ stepmother, Patricia, is actually a former sponsored child from the Children Incorporated program!”

“Although they now have two loving and responsible parents, their family continues to struggle. The father lost his restaurant job after it cut staff due to the pandemic. So, they are really struggling now, and getting sponsors for the boys, Brandon and Alex, will be a big and appreciated help.”

“We love heartwarming stories such as this and would love to get these boys sponsored as soon as possible. We love that our program often comes around full circle for families and communities and especially in difficult times such as these, we are so pleased to be able to share special stories such as this one,” said Renée.

Please contact us directly today if you would like to sponsor Brandon or Alex today!

*Names changed to protect the individuals. 

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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

Children Incorporated Fall 2020 Newsletter

We are pleased to share with you our 2020 Fall Newsletter! Thank you for support children in need around the world during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Amidst school closures across the U.S. this past spring due to COVID-19 lockdowns, our concern turned to how to best help children who are already living in vulnerable situations.

Fighting Against Hunger During the Pandemic 

Amidst school closures across the U.S. this past spring due to COVID-19 lockdowns, our concern turned to how to best help children who are already living in vulnerable situations. 

Many children in our program rely on school lunches and on our Backpack Feeding Program to ensure they are receiving adequate meals throughout the day and on the weekends. Without the support they receive at school, they risk facing hunger at home.

Children in Guatemala have been receiving food thanks to donations from our amazing donors.

Thankfully, because of our sponsors and donors, and the hard work of our volunteer coordinators in the U.S., students continued to receive food through the spring and into the summer and fall. 

Thank you for all that you do to help children in need! 

Our Response to COVID-19 in Guatemala 

We are grateful for the support that our sponsors and donors are providing to families in Guatemala — and all over the world — through donations to our COVID-19 Response Fund.

Thanks to you, our affiliated projects in Guatemala have been able to purchase food, hygiene items, and other necessities for children and their families during the pandemic. This help is crucial for Guatemalans at this time, as our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, explains: 

“Almost half of the population in Guatemala are low-income earners, and the percentage of people receiving aid is minimal. No one having an income above the minimum wage of about US $220 a month has received any government support.”

We are grateful for your vital support during the COVID-19 crisis — we couldn’t provide life-changing support to children in need without your help. 

Alleviated Suffering in Bolivia During a Difficult Time

We heard from our volunteer coordinator at our affiliated project, Cristo de Rey in Bolivia, about the support our donors are providing to children and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak:

Protective and hygiene items have been just some of the supplies children have received during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Good afternoon! I want to inform you that the Children Incorporated program is supporting children with the distribution of food and hygiene items. 

The situation of the pandemic in Bolivia is very complicated. Families suffer a lot because they are people with very low resources. They generally live on what they earned from what little they sell. Now it is forbidden to go out to sell and they have nothing to subsist on. As you can imagine, the families are very grateful for the help and support they received. Thank you for your help!”

Children Incorporated Happenings

*The Children Incorporated family mourns the loss of George Saunders, a long-time employee who passed away on June 6, 2020. Mr. Saunders served as our accountant and bookkeeper for a period of 27 years, prior to his retirement in 2009. He maintained close contact with Children Incorporated in the years that followed, often attending employee functions, as well as sponsoring children. He will be greatly missed.

*Our Board of Directors welcomed three new members in May. Mr. Wayne Huggins, Ms. Salley Mountcastle, and Dr. Theresa Steward will now work alongside our seven existing members in supporting the work of our organization as we strive to improve the lives of children and families, both in the U.S. and abroad. 

*Children Incorporated has once again been awarded 4 Out of 4 Stars by Charity Navigator. This is the fifth consecutive time that our organization has received this honor. 

Children Incorporated has once again been awarded 4 Out of 4 Stars by Charity Navigator. This is the fifth consecutive time that our organization has received this honor.

*We would like to send congratulations to our long-time sponsor, Rosanne Cash, who has been selected to receive the prestigious 61st Annual Edward McDowell Medal. The award, which has previously gone to such luminaries as Aaron Copeland, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Berstein, and Georgia O-Keefe, honors artists who have made outstanding contributions to American culture, as Rosanne surely has through her music and compositions. We thank Rosanne for sponsoring children and changing lives through her support of our organization, now for thirty years and counting.

*Children Incorporated continues to work towards expanding our sponsorship program to include projects in Puerto Rico, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, plans have been postponed. We remain committed to getting the program off the ground as soon as possible and continuing our work on the island, which has been hard hit by natural disasters. If you would like to be added to our waiting list of those who wish to sponsor a Puerto Rican child, please contact us today. We will share further details about our work in Puerto Rico as it becomes available.

READ THE FULL NEWSLETTER

Connecting Communities Through School

Hart Middle School in Washington, D.C. is located in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Ward 8. The school serves 357 students in grades sixth through eighth. Its student demographics are 98% black, 1% Hispanic/Latino, and 1% other. Seventy-four percent of the children come from within the district boundary. Twenty-one percent receive special education services — and 100% of students are considered economically disadvantaged.

“We are incredibly proud to be working with Hart Middle School to support their great efforts to lift children up both educationally and academically.”

“Our Volunteer Coordinator at Hart Middle is named Ashley. She has been with the school for several years and has built a wonderful rapport with her students and families. It is apparent she is a devoted advocate for them,” explained Renée Kube, our Director of U.S. Programs.

“While meeting with Ashley in her office, she gave me a refresher about the school.  She talked about a reading intervention program for students whose reading comprehension is below grade level. Groups of students come in regularly for lunchtime mentoring.”

“The school believes in the whole child and supports athletics and several arts and cultural clubs, as well as academics,” said Renée.

A new and inventive program

Ashley shows Renée her supplies and resources for kids in our program during their meeting.

“Ashley also told me that Hart Middle is part of the new Connected Schools Program. She has taken on the role of the Connected Schools Manager. She elaborated that the heart of the Connected Schools philosophy is to work hard to bring the community into its school. She contacts parents and guardians when things are going well. There is a renewed push to bring in mentors to work with the students. Ashley is also working on adding further case management for the most vulnerable children who are at the greatest risk.”

“The part the students like about the Connect Schools Program is the emphasis on “PBIS,” Positive Behavior Incentive Supports. When Ashleyinteracts with students, or when teachers work with students, and they see a real effort being put forth on an issue that a child is having — whether it’s attendance, manners, or a school subject such as math — then the student gets a token that can be redeemed for a variety of desirable items. For example, one token may be used for a tube of Chapstick or lip balm, which is popular. Or a few more tokens may be redeemed for a binder or several for a pack of headbands or barrettes in the proper colors,” explained Renée.

“The reward part of the Program gives students something to work towards and builds up their self-esteem. We are incredibly proud to be working with Hart Middle School to support their great efforts to lift children up both educationally and academically.”

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How do I sponsor a child in Washington, D.C.?

You can sponsor a child in Washington, D.C. 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 Washington, D.C.  who is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD