Tag Archives: On the Road

Charity Talks with Ron Carter

Ronald Carter, the President and CEO of Children Incorporated, joins Charity Talks and discusses Children Incorporated’s mission to help impoverished children in the United States and 22 countries around the world.

Combined, these impactful programs are helping thousands of children each year.

Children Incorporated does this in two key ways: through child sponsorship and special funds. Sponsorship ensures that children in poverty get the basic necessities, such as food, clothing and school supplies. Special funds take one-time donations and use them to support feeding programs, skill training programs and housing improvements, among many needs that Children Incorporated addresses. Combined, these impactful programs are helping thousands of children each year.

Listen to the podcast here:
https://charitytalks.podbean.com

 

A School Full of Sponsored Children

Even by Navajo reservation standards, our affiliated project, the Lake Valley Boarding School, is located in an incredibly remote area of New Mexico. The school serves grades kindergarten through eighth, and there is a total of 32 students in attendance – each of which is sponsored through our sponsorship program.

“Over the years, there has been talk of closing the school and transporting the children to the nearest little town, which is Crownpoint, where the school has its post office box,” explained Children Incorporated Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“Since that time, we have been able to provide the items they requested as well as support students during the COVID-19 outbreak with food to take home while they moved to remote learning in 2020 and the spring of 2021,” said Renée.

“However, the school’s isolation makes the prospect of consolidation doubtful. The high desert region is arid, but it is not without rain. When the rains come, transportation in some areas comes to a virtual standstill. The mud is deep and thick, and many of the roads are in bad shape. Therefore, the school is quite essential for the few families that send their children there.”

Meeting Veronica and Jeannette

“Our volunteer co-coordinators at Lake Valley are Veronica and Jeanette. Both work in the school dormitory, as many of the children live on the outskirts of the districts, and the roads are sometimes too bad for a daily commute. The children stay in the dorm until Friday afternoon, and they return to the dorm on Sunday afternoon, except during summer, winter breaks and holidays. The ladies are a great and supportive team, and it’s obvious they’re devoted to every child,” said Renée.

Our co-volunteer coordinators, Jeanette and Veronica

“During my last visit to the school in 2019, we began our tour outside the main office when several boys ran up to show Veronica and Jeanette their team’s sports trophies. Of the 36 students from the area who competed in the track event, five were from Lake Valley. Jeanette and Veronica introduced me to George and Douglas who live with their parents and one sister. Their mom works as a clerical assistant, and their father has erratic work as a laborer. His pay is good when he can find work, but he goes for long periods without. Their combined pay is below poverty level.”

“This is the situation for most of our sponsored kids at Lake Valley. Work is inconsistent, and daily commutes are grueling,” said Renée.

Supporting special needs and beyond

“After meeting the children, we then went on to the dorm and discussed our program. The ladies do all of their shopping at the Walmart in Farmington because they feel the funds stretch farthest. At the time, they requested Hope In Action Funding for eyeglasses for two of the students who have vision issues due to their albinism. Veronica and Jeanette also requested to be considered if any funds become available for their playground, books in the dorm, tablets for the dorm, arts and crafts supplies for the dorm, and seeds and soil for the school greenhouse.”

“Since that time, we have been able to provide the items they requested as well as support students during the COVID-19 outbreak with food to take home while they moved to remote learning in 2020 and the spring of 2021,” 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

 

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.

DONATE

 

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.

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

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.

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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.

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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