Tag Archives: On the Road

Our Back to School Fund Offers More Than Just School Supplies to Children in Need

My mom and dad were hard-working, lower middle class people, and they did everything in their power to provide for my brother and me. Though their financial situation had improved greatly by the time I reached my teen years, they endured some very difficult times early on. At one point, when I was a small child, my dad lost his job, and with no income being generated, he was unable to pay his bills. His ability to obtain credit was temporarily blocked, and repercussions from that situation haunted him for years to follow.

My mom and dad were hard-working, lower middle class people, and they did everything in their power to provide for my brother and me.

My mom, ever willing to work, moved through several low-paying positions, working at a fast-food restaurant for a while, then as a cook for a church daycare center, and later clerking in a retail store. There was very little money, yet my brother and I never went without decent and clean clothing and adequate amounts of food. My parents, along with our large extended family of aunts, uncles, grandparents, and good church folk, made sure that we had all that we needed.

Striving for Success

Each fall, as a fresh school year rolled around, we received new clothes, though I clearly remember my dad worrying about how he and my mom would pay for those items. My mom insisted that my brother and I both receive new pants, shirts, a coat, and even shoes for the start of the school year. My mom recognized that without those items — clean clothes and nice shoes, in particular — my brother and I would stand out in a negative manner. We would be looked down upon and judged for what we were — or weren’t — wearing. Other children and even some teachers might treat us as less-than, and our sense of self-esteem and belonging would be poorly impacted. My mom realized that these things would all work together to the detriment of our success in school.

Our Back To School Funds provides children with resources to not only go to school, but feel good while they are there.

Decades have passed since our family endured those hardships, yet the situation I described absolutely exists today, perhaps greater than at any other time. In many of the communities where Children Incorporated operates and provides its sponsorship programs, devoted parents struggle to provide for their children’s daily needs. Unlike my mom and dad, who were always able to secure jobs — even if they were low paying positions — and bring in enough money to somehow make ends meet, jobs are quite scarce in many areas of our country, so working for a living is not always a viable option.  Additionally, everyday expenses these days far outweigh what one can earn from working at a fast food restaurant or clerking at a dollar variety store. For those families with multiple children, the cost of childcare alone is often greater than the limited salaries earned by the primary breadwinners. Just providing the basics for everyday living is a huge challenge; thus, the idea of back-to-school shopping and new clothes for a fresh school year is little more than a distant dream.

Making things a little easier

Children still need to belong. They still need to fit in. They still need to have strong self-esteem to thrive and succeed in school.  What they wear and how they feel about themselves in those clothes matters. That is why our Back To School Fund is so very important. The items we provide to impoverished children and youth put them on an equal, or at least increased, playing field with others. We take the funds you provide and use them to make going back to school perhaps a little easier, fitting in less of a challenge, and concentrating on learning — as opposed to focusing on being set apart — the primary goal of the students. Additionally, our Back To School Fund also provides school supplies and educational assistance where needed.

Your generosity now, in support of our Back To School Fund, will allow us to get assistance out to our network of volunteer coordinators ahead of the upcoming school year, so that they can be ready to meet the needs of children and youth as they return to classes in the fall. Your help is requested and much-needed. Please consider making a donation to our Back To School Fund today.

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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 through12 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 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.

How do I sponsor a child in new Mexico?

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

SPONSOR A CHILD

Favorite Moments From Our Volunteer Coordinators

At the end of each school year, we receive letters from our volunteer coordinators who share stories of the impact that our sponsors have on the children in our program. Thanks to your support, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic, children in the United States, and around the world, have continued to receive basic needs that have given their families much-needed relief during difficult times. As a way to say ‘thank you’, we would like to share some of these special notes from our coordinators in the U.S.

As a way to say ‘thank you’, we would like to share some of these special notes from our coordinators in the U.S.

A note from Karen

I would like to thank you for all the help you give Knott County Central through Children Incorporated. Thank you for getting our students sponsors. I would also like to thank our sponsors for their monthly sponsorship contributions. It gives our students so much throughout the year. Allowing them to buy clothes and shoes like the other students helps them with their self-esteem and their idea of “fitting in.” It helps these students tremendously and gives them a more positive attitude.

I have several students in single parent households. In one family, the mother is raising three children. The three children would not have clothes to wear if it was not for their sponsorship from Children Incorporated. Their Christmas presents, which were new clothes, were from Children Incorporated. Mom went shopping for them, took their clothes, and wrapped them for their Christmas presents. One of these students is a senior this year, and when he received his birthday money and graduation money, he spent it on fishing supplies. This kid loves to fish. He was so excited to be able to buy a fishing pole so he could go fishing. The little things mean so much to these students.

I have another student who was living with his mom. Most of his clothes also came from his sponsorship money. He is a boot kid — he LOVES his boots. He always wanted to save his money up to buy boots. He just recently moved in with a friend and had no clothes. Thankfully, he had his sponsorship money to buy some. Without his sponsorship funds, I do not know what the student would had done for clothes and shoes.

Thanks to their sponsors, children in Arizona are receiving school supplies ahead of the new school year in the late summer of 2021.

I also have several grandparents raising their grandchildren. I have one grandmother raising three grandchildren. She tells me all the time that she does not know what she would do without the help of Children Incorporated. She will call and ask when they need a pair of shoes or clothes. She is always so thankful for all the help that she receives. The students are always so appreciative, always thanking me when they go shopping. When one of the boys was a freshman he would hardly speak to me or look me in the eye. When his sponsor came and saw him, he was shy at first, but after the visit, they started writing to each other. He has come out of his shell. His sponsorship has really changed him. Now he comes in my office and talks forever. Shows me his boots or tennis shoes. He looks forward to his sponsor’s letters and cards. Grandma loves the positive male influence that the sponsor has on her grandson. The boy now wants to join the military. We all know that all it takes is that one special person to change a kid’s life!

Karen, Knott County Central Youth Service Center

Without his sponsorship funds, I do not know what the student would have done for clothes and shoes.

Hearing from Lynn in Letcher County

As the 2020-2021 school year is nearing its end, I can’t help but wonder what the summer and the beginning of a new school year will look like for our students. I’m sure countless other educators and community partners wonder the same.  However, it has been a year filled with countless blessings for my students and families.

During this “pandemic year” my office has been filled with Christmas gifts, food assistance, hygiene assistance, shoes, coats, school supplies, and so much more for our students and families that have been made possible by Children Incorporated sponsors. Even during this difficult time, when it would have been so easy to get caught up in other overwhelming problems and situations, Children Incorporated sponsors supported and continued to provide assistance for our students and families.

Several families come to mind. For example, an aunt, the primary caregiver to her middle school granddaughters, an elementary school niece, and nephew. The family struggles with transportation, health, as well as other family beyond her control. Another example is a great grandfather who has sole custody of his great granddaughter. He is also taking care of his wife and great-grandmother, who is dealing with Alzheimer’s. He tries very hard to keep up with his granddaughter’s virtual learning experience as well as keep involved in her volleyball and softball events and practices while dealing with other family members’ issues. Actually, I have several grandparents who are in the same situations. Currently, my families are shopping at a local business to purchase spring/summer clothing and shoes for the Children Incorporated sponsored children. The students enjoy shopping for themselves (with guidance and restrictions) because most of them have never had the means or the opportunity to go on a shopping spree!

Please extend my sincere, heartfelt gratitude and thankfulness to all the sponsors who have been so thoughtful and generous. I saw and continue to see so many smiles and hear so many thank you responses. Needless to say, so many students need to be made to feel special, and caregivers too. This sponsorship provides each student and caregiver unexplainable encouragement and support.

Thank you so much for your help to remove barriers for my LMS students and families.

Lynn, Letcher Middle School

Thanks from Jenny

Although things aren’t quite back to “normal” at Catlettsburg & Ponderosa Elementary Schools, the staff, students, and families are grateful to be back in the building and around people again! As we “round the corner” and summer approaches quickly, we look BACK at fond memories and FORWARD to new beginnings!

Our Family Resource Center currently has all but one enrolled student matched with a Children Incorporated sponsor at this time. A huge SHOUT OUT to the hard-working Children Incorporated staff for working so diligently to assure that enrolled kids are matched in a timely fashion with a sponsor. We cannot express how very grateful we are for all of the kindness your agency shows to our students and their families.

Our goal for the 2021-2022 school year is to enroll 25 students and hopefully have them matched with sponsors at the beginning of the school year. We have reached out to families with younger siblings who already have children enrolled as well as to families who have never been enrolled through the program.

Even though we were unable to allow families to participate in our “Parent/Child Shopping Days” at Walmart this school year, we worked very closely with the families to ensure the kids received clothing, basic needs items, and school-related supplies that they would like and use. The families have been wonderful in sending pictures quickly, progress reports, “Thank You” letters, and friendly letters.  I haven’t had to call or send a text to anyone to remind them that those were due to their sponsor.

Needless to say, so many students need to be made to feel special, and caregivers too. This sponsorship provides each student and caregiver unexplainable encouragement and support.

The Family Resource Center recently did a spring/summer shop to close out the school year.  Items such as shorts, tank tops, swimsuits, flip flops, and tennis shoes were purchased for students to enjoy outside “Summer Time” fun with their families. Dedra, the mother of Jacari & Jamir (Catlettsburg enrollees) said, “I don’t know what I would do without the boys’  sponsors. Boys grow so fast, and it’s very hard for me to afford new clothing and school supplies for them.” Samantha, mother of Brantley (Ponderosa enrollee) is “very thankful for all of the help [she receives] from Children Incorporated.” She says, “As a mother of five children, all school-age, it’s almost impossible to keep them all in clothes they like and will wear. COVID-19 has slowed down my husband’s work and we really appreciate the extra support.”

Our special needs student’s mother at Catlettsburg had this to say about Children Incorporated and how beneficial it has been to her daughter Aniya: “Aniya loves coloring & drawing pictures for her sponsor. This program has given her the opportunity to participate in activities like all the other kids, even with her disability. She has also taken a growth spurt and now wears women’s sizes which are more expensive for her father and I. Thank you Children Incorporated for your help!”

Our Backpack Feeding Program allows our coordinators to send food home on the weekend with kids in our program.

Along with the basic needs funds, birthday gifts, and holiday gifts, the FRC was once again the recipient of a “Hope In Action” grant for our BOOKS 4 HOME literacy program. Through the assistance we received, we were able to purchase 3  brand new books for every student at the Early Childhood Academy, Catlettsburg Elementary, and Ponderosa Elementary. Due to COVID restrictions, we were unable to let the students come into the FRC and hand-select their own books. However, thanks to our #1 VOLUNTEER, Ms. Sherry, we were able to do a “book bundle” for over 800 students. Sherry worked tirelessly to bundle all of the books together, while our AmeriCorps member, Briley, chose three age-appropriate books for each student.  Girl bundles were secured with a pink ribbon, boy bundles with a blue one.  The teachers at all three schools report that their students “loved receiving their new books” and felt like it was Christmas! Mrs. Wallace, a 3rd grade teacher at Ponderosa, personally walked her students down to the FRC so they could hand me a “Thank You” letter for their new books; it made my day.  Another 4th grade teacher at Ponderosa stated that her students “bartered and traded” the books amongst themselves as soon as they got them. Everyone was very pleased with the ones they got.

In closing, I would like to once again express to each and every Children Incorporated employee how EXTREMELY BLESSED we feel to be in partnership with you. You are truly making a difference in a child’s life.

With love,
Jenny
Catlettsburg and Ponderosa Elementary Schools

With Gratitude from Owingsville Elementary

Owingsville Elementary Family Resource Center wants to take this opportunity to thank you so much for allowing our students to be a part of Children Incorporated. Our students have benefited greatly from the sponsorship program.  We currently have 24 students enrolled in the program. We appreciate all the work Children Incorporated does for these children in need.

We started the school year with all students participating virtually. Our principal, Dr. Bailey, started his third year here at OES. Melania Allen was hired as the FRC clerk, but I only have her 60 days for the year. Due to the limited funding, she is also the clerk for the Bath County Middle School YSC and Crossroads FRC. We came back to school in a hybrid mode for a few weeks and then had to have the entire district go back to virtual. February 1st, we started back to hybrid mode and then we were out about 2 full weeks due to snow and ice. In March, we brought all students that wanted to attend back to 4 days a week with Wednesday being a virtual day. That is also how we ended the school year on May 19th.

You are truly making a difference in a child’s life.

OES was at 71% free lunch for the past year, and we had an enrollment of 516 for preschool – 5th grade. We have many students in need, and we are blessed to have the Children Incorporated program at OES. In July and August, I went shopping for Children Incorporated students for back to school items and fall clothing and shoes. In November, I went shopping for Christmas items and winter clothing. At the end of April, I worked on the Children Incorporated shopping list for spring/summer needs and shopped for those and handed them out before school was out for the summer.

The OES FRC was very grateful to receive the Hope In Action grant. We were able to purchase clothes and shoes, hygiene and cleaning items, school supplies and food. Having this grant allowed us to serve even more students and helped us set up a closet to have those items on hand when someone was in need.

Our sponsors have changed the lives of thousands of children during the 2020-2021 school year and for that we are so grateful!

Our center provided a Backpack Program, where we send home food on the weekends. This school year the backpack program took on many forms. We started with all food bags being sent to families on the meal delivery buses. When we came back to school in the hybrid plan, we sent some on the buses and some home with the child if they attended school. We also made it available for pickup by parents. Near the end of the school year, we were down to just 2 being sent home on the meal delivery and the rest at school. Summer feeding is currently available and the Backpack Program will resume in August, however, we are always available to provide emergency food.

We appreciate all of the Children Incorporated sponsors and staff!  We have so many sponsors that send additional funds, cards for holidays and special occasions, send gift cards for me to purchase birthday cakes, send gift cards for special occasion dinners (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter) and ones that call me just to get a quick update on the child’s needs.  The extra funds provided especially helped one family of 6. To be home all day, every day with 4 growing boys was a challenge for the grandmother, but the sponsor’s help with extra money for food and birthdays made a difference! I appreciate all the time, care, concern and effort that goes into this program. I thank you all for allowing OES FRC to be a part of Children Incorporated. It is a true blessing to our school and families.

Sincerely,
Michele, Owingsville Elementary School

Appreciation from Sandy

I want to thank you and Children Incorporated for all that you do for me and children here at Beaver Creek Elementary. There is no way that I could help these students in need without the support of Children Incorporated. Having sponsorships for these students helps the families tremendously. When I meet the parents at Walmart, they show much gratitude for being able to get clothing and shoes for their children. They tell me how thankful and appreciative they are to have their children sponsored.

We appreciate all the work Children Incorporated does for these children in need.

When our county was hit with flooding early this year, I was worried as to how I could help these families when I don’t have a lot of resources to work with; Children Incorporated was there to assist. One family was totally devastated by the flooding. They lost everything they had and had to relocate. I met with this family at Walmart to get things they were in need of, which was practically everything. When the shopping was done, as we were checking out, the mom became emotional and said “Thank you so much! I don’t know what we would’ve have done without your help.” The little girl without saying a word came from behind her mom and walked up and hugged me and said thank you as well. That was heartwarming to know we helped this family in such a difficult time.

So again, thank you and Children Incorporated for your hard work and supporting the children here at Beaver Creek Elementary. Together we can make a difference for our children and their families. We truly appreciate all that you do!!!

Sincerely,
Sandy

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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

 

Partnering Communities Through School

* 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.

***

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 Ashley interacts 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

Connecting Kids with Resources They Need

* 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.

***

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

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 program 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.

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

“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

No Place for Homeless Kids in D.C.

* 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.

***

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