Tag Archives: opportunity

Praise from Our Coordinators

Without a doubt, our volunteer coordinators are the backbone of our organization. Without help from these special teachers, guidance counselors, and resource center coordinators at our affiliated schools, we couldn’t reach thousands of children living in poverty every year, helping them to receive the basic needs they require in order to focus on getting an education.

We have found that our volunteer coordinators are just as grateful for our programs as we are for their service to the children we help to support. Over the years, our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, has received many letters from our coordinators expressing just how important Children Incorporated is to them, to the schools, and most especially to children and their families.

“We would like to thank the sponsors for their support. All children want to know they’re cared about, and I can tell you that you have provided these children with lots of smiles.”

Removing barriers

“Children Incorporated remains a crucial part of our center’s mission of removing non-cognitive barriers to our students’ education. One of the highlights of working with your organization is that volunteer coordinators are given the liberty of using the Children Incorporated funds to best meet the needs of the individual children and their families. This past school year, one of my greatest blessings was to give food assistance to my families. Our winter was one of the coldest, snowiest winters that we have had in many years. School was dismissed for multiple days at a time, meaning our students were not receiving the free breakfast and lunch meals that families had counted on as they prepared their monthly budgets. Many told me that they simply ran out of funds budgeted for food because of the repeated school cancellations. Children Incorporated allowed the center to purchase food for our families. I had never had the opportunity to work with families that were more grateful in my many years as coordinator. I, too, am incredibly grateful.”

– Vanessa, Kentucky

Mrs. Wood’s vision


“From my experience over the last thirteen years with Children Incorporated, I have learned that the monetary help with clothing and immediate needs is really secondary to the emotional support that these children get from corresponding with their sponsors. They finally feel like someone cares and they are not alone in this world. The most gratifying thing that I have seen from the children being helped by this program is that a large number of them say that when they grow up and get a job, they want to sponsor a child themselves. We have actually had a few parents of children that were in the Children Incorporated program have their circumstances greatly improve, and so requested to have their children removed from the program so that needier children could benefit. Then, to our amazement, they proceeded to ask how they could become sponsors themselves. That in and of itself shows me the worth of this program, and what is being achieved is exactly what Mrs. Wood envisioned at its inception.

“Thank you, Children Incorporated and all of our sponsors, for the unbelievable difference you make in the lives of our children.”

– Alisa, Kentucky

Bringing smiles to kids’ faces

“Children Incorporated is truly a blessing to my community. It has brought so many smiles to the children’s faces. There are so many kids that benefit from this organization. Without the help from Children Incorporated programs, so many of our kids would do without.

“I am truly amazed with all the things that the sponsors from Children Incorporated do. To see these kids get a package from a ‘stranger’ that loves them is beyond them. It is breathtaking to see what just a note or card can do. I will never forget when one of my new students got a care package from their new sponsor. This girl was very hesitant to open the box. I explained to her that it was a gift from her sponsor and told her they wanted her to have what was inside. This girl, with a tear in her eye, said, ‘Why would anyone buy me something?’ My heart broke. I wanted to break down and cry. As she opened the box, she looked inside it with the biggest eyes. It was filled with clothes, art supplies, toys and snacks. She leaned over into the box and grabbed a box of snacks and said, ‘Wow! I finally got a snack for school. I can’t wait to show my daddy. He will be so excited.’

“As she went through her box of goodies, she showed me each piece and kept smiling and hopping around with excitement the entire time. She had to lay all her clothes out and look them over. She rubbed a soft footie to her face, and I truly cherished every moment she pulled something new out of her box.

“So many children are impacted in such positive ways by the sponsors in their lives. I cannot overstate the tremendous impact of Children Incorporated on our work, and most importantly on our students.”

“Putting a smile on a child’s face is a miracle in itself. A helping hand makes more of a difference than anyone can ever imagine. This program means the difference between a child being able to have their basic needs met for school and that same child doing without. We would like to say thank you for everything that you do for our kids. With your help, our kids can have a brighter future.”

– Alice, Kentucky

True heroes

“I truly believe Children Incorporated has made an impact on my students’ lives. I have seen their smiles, felt their hugs and their appreciation for gifts and letters of encouragement from their sponsors.”

– Deborah, Kentucky

“As I’ve said for years, the sponsors are the true heroes of the Children Incorporated program. It is amazing to think that strangers care enough about a child – a child they have never, and most likely will never, meet – to send help. I hope sponsors realize that the friendships and bonds that they create with these children are just as valuable as their monetary donations. Children Incorporated and its sponsors are changing the world one child at a time.”

– Stacy, West Virginia

“We would like to thank the sponsors for their support. All children want to know they’re cared about, and I can tell you that you have provided these children with lots of smiles. The Children Incorporated program has given our students a huge sense of pride as well as the knowledge that someone cares. Parents come in and say, ‘I appreciate the sponsorship so much.’… I’m surprised at how much people are willing to give, especially to children they’ve never seen in person. My words of thanks fall way short of conveying how important sponsors are in these kids’ lives.”

– Wally, North Carolina

A tremendous impact

“Thanks to the remarkable network of sponsors, we were able to provide required school uniforms, socks, underclothes, and winter coats, hats and gloves. We also provided a countless number of school supplies, personal care items, emergency food and more. In addition, through the Hope In Action Fund, with which Children Incorporated provides additional help in education and health matters, we were able to do three very different and significant things:

“At Lucy Ellen Moten Elementary School, where the neighborhood streets are not deemed safe enough for trick-or-treating, the coordinator was able to provide an in-school Halloween celebration, featuring a visit from a clown, and a pumpkin for every student. At Charles Hart Middle School, a family lost their medical coverage during a government shutdown, and one child could not receive her life-saving kidney medication. Children Incorporated stepped in and made it possible, and after several sleepless nights from worry, her mother wept with relief, knowing Callie* would be alright.

“At Cardozo Education Campus, a bright student could not read the board, and her grades were suffering. Her mother was struggling to make sense of the system that would allow her to get eyeglasses. The coordinator worked with the teacher and nurse to clarify the extent of the vision impairment, and through Children Incorporated, the coordinator was able to get Maxine* a proper eye exam and a pair of glasses.

“So many children are impacted in such positive ways by the sponsors in their lives. I cannot overstate the tremendous impact of Children Incorporated on our work, and most importantly on our students. Thank you so much, to the amazing sponsors and donors who make this possible!”

– Jennifer, Washington, D.C.

*Names changed for children’s protection.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD WITH CHILDREN INCORPORATED?

You can sponsor a child with Children Incorporated in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child that is available for sponsorship.

Understanding Child Poverty: Facts and Statistics

Poverty can be described as “the state of one who has insufficient resources”. Poverty not only includes a lack of income, but also a lack of resources to ensure sustainable livelihood, such as food, clothing, clean water, and proper shelter. Poverty has many detrimental outcomes for children – hunger and malnutrition, ill health, limited or a lack of access to education and other basic services, just to name a few.

Of the 2.2 billion children in the world, 1 billion are living in poverty

Poverty can cause children permanent damage, both physically and mentally, and in both the short and long term. A lack of essentials can stunt their growth, cause them to fall behind in school, and lead to health problems for them. It also affects their roles within their families, communities, and in society as a whole. Poverty denies children their human rights, and it leads to a vicious cycle of deprivation, which is difficult to break without proper support or assistance.

Global poverty facts

– Of the 2.2 billion children in the world, 1 billion are living in poverty

– According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty

– Every year, 3.1 million children die (8,500 children per day) due to poor nutrition

– 1 in 4 children is living in poverty in the world’s richest countries

– 805 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat

– 80% of the world’s population lives on the equivalent of less than $10 a day

– Almost half the world — over three billion people — lives on less than $2.50 a day

National poverty facts

 – About 15 million children in the United States, or 21%, live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold

– There are 72.4 million children in the United States; 41% of them live in low-income families

– Almost 40% of American kids spends at least 1 year in poverty before they turn 18

There are 72.4 million children in the United States; 41% of them live in low-income families

– The estimated percentage of U.S. households that were food insecure in 2015 is 12.7% (15.8 million households, or approximately 1 in 8 households)

– Children living in poverty have a higher rate of absenteeism or leave school altogether because they are more likely to have to work or care for family members

– Students who come from low-income families are 7 times more likely to drop out of school than those from families with higher incomes 

What Children Incorporated does to help alleviate childhood poverty

Children Incorporated provides basic necessities such as food, clothing, healthcare, and educational support to children living in poverty in the U.S. and abroad. These essentials, so often taken for granted, are vital to a child’s growth and success in school. Each year, we give thousands of impoverished children all over the world a chance at a better life.

How you can help

You can help a child living in poverty in a few different ways. One is through our child sponsorship program. Our sponsorship program does more than just feed or clothe a child; for $30 a month, you not only help meet the basic and critical needs of a child, but you also make an investment in their future.

Our policy has always been to consider the needs of each sponsored child on an individual basis. We work closely with our volunteer coordinators at our project sites, who are familiar with each individual circumstance, and the needs of every child in their care. Sponsorship donations are sent to our projects – orphanages, homes, community centers, and schools – at the beginning of each month in the form of subsidy stipends. Our on-site volunteer coordinators use these funds to purchase basic and education-related items for children in our program, to ensure that they have what they need to do their very best and succeed in school.

For $30 a month, you not only help meet the basic and critical needs of a child, but you also make an investment in their future.

You can also help children in need by donating to one of our special funds. Our special funds offer a variety of giving options for sponsors who wish to further their support, as well as for donors who wish to make a difference without making a commitment.

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References:

http://nccp.org/topics/childpoverty.html

http://nccp.org/publications/pub_1194.html

United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME). “UNICEF: Committing to Child Survival: A promise renewed.” UNICEF, 2014. Accessed February 25, 2015.

https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/65766/2000369-Child-Poverty-and-Adult-Success.pdf

http://www.feedingamerica.org/assets/pdfs/fact-sheets/child-hunger-fact-sheet.pdf

https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-education-and-poverty-america

https://borgenproject.org/10-facts-children-living-poverty/

https://www.unicef.org/sowc05/english/povertypossible.html

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD with Children Incorporated?

You can sponsor a child with Children Incorporated in one of three ways – call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child that is available for sponsorship.

Seven Ways We Help Children in the United States

Children Incorporated frequently asks our on-site volunteer coordinators at our affiliated projects what services the children they work with are in need of most. As members of the kids’ communities, our coordinators are in contact with our sponsored and unsponsored children and their families on a daily basis, and are in the best position to know exactly what they need.

Listed below are some of their most common responses, which we hope will help you to better understand how your donations to Children Incorporated change the lives of children and families in the United States.

Enabling literacy

Many of the children we serve have little to no reading material at home.

Many of the children we serve have little to no reading material at home; they don’t personally own any books, nor do they have magazine subscriptions. Additionally, many schools are so underfunded that their libraries and classrooms have extremely limited selections for reading and old titles. Your donations will put books in kids’ hands; your contributions will foster their imaginations and a love for reading.

One of our recent initiatives includes providing a school in the Navajo Nation with a large selection of picture and early reader books on their native culture and language. We also help kids participate in their school book fairs by letting them have books of their own to take home at no cost to their families.

Providing enrichment and remediation

Our children have amazing potential – but some of them need extra academic help. They may come from homes in which their parents have little education, and are unable to help them with their homework. Many kids have never been out of their communities, but their parents can’t afford to pay for field trips. Your gifts will help to provide for summer and after-school programs that offer tutoring and a variety of stimulating educational activities.

In the past, we funded a program at a summer camp that focused on social studies in a structured yet fun way. These summer camp students had performed very poorly in the subject of social studies at the school they attended, as documented in pretests. At the end of the summer, however, the same kids were tested again, and their scores had improved significantly.

Supporting career awareness and higher education

Our children have amazing potential – but some of them need extra academic help. They may come from homes in which their parents have little education, and are unable to help them with their homework.

As children grow up, they need hope for their futures. Many have no idea about all the possibilities they have in life, as young people with potential bright futures ahead of them. Your donations will go towards helping them with vital programs in their pre-teen and teenage years, like job and career fairs, internships, and the provision of equipment or supplies needed for vocational courses. Once our teens graduate from high school, they may apply for our Higher Education Program.

We have provided goggles for welding courses, and have funded an entrepreneur course. We are currently assisting several graduating sponsored and unsponsored children with the costs associated with technical schools, community colleges, colleges, and universities.

Providing access to healthcare

Many of the public schools with which we affiliate are underfunded and underequipped. Our coordinators need a variety of items to keep children healthy. These articles range from underwear for kindergarten accidents to antibiotic ointment and bandages for cuts and scrapes; from soap and shampoo to toothbrushes and toothpaste for kids who have run out of these items at home. We work to help keep children clean and healthy, so that they can attend school regularly, and are able to learn.

Providing weather-appropriate items and outfits

Low-income parents make hard decisions every day about how to spend their money, and what their families will have to go without: Do they pay the electric bill or replace their daughter’s split shoes? If the power goes out or is turned off, does their son have a warm blanket on his bed to keep him comfortable and healthy? Our coordinators have told us about kids taking turns going to school because there is only one winter coat to wear in the family. Many children miss school in bad weather due to inadequate clothing, lowered immunity, and illnesses resulting from not having these basic necessities. Your donations will provide these kids with the items that our coordinators feel are most needed.

Preventing hunger

Many kids have never been out of their communities, but their parents can’t afford to pay for field trips.

Food insufficiency occurs when a child and their family don’t always have enough to eat. School children have access to the National School Lunch Program. What about when these kids are at home, though? The federal food stamp program, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is an important resource. Amounts provided to families must be strictly managed, however, and many families run out of assistance before they are allotted a subsequent installment.

Other family groups, like grandparents raising grandchildren, are sometimes too proud to ask for government aid. Our coordinators tell us that a significant number of the kids enrolled in our program have inadequate food at their homes, especially on weekends and during school breaks. As a result, our coordinators will often identify the children with the greatest need, and on Fridays, send them home with food-stuffed backpacks; and extra provisions are provided for breaks, as funds permit. Not only is food insufficiency detrimental to the health of these children, but it also correlates with academic and psychosocial difficulties – so these kids truly require all the nutritional assistance that can be provided to them.

Helping children to be active and grow up healthy

With school budgets slashed, many schools have reduced or eliminated physical education as part of their standard curriculum. School playgrounds in the most underfunded districts usually have broken, rusted, or no playground equipment; and impoverished parents must prioritize paying bills over providing for activities. Playtime is vital for children’s physical and emotional health, though; research shows that playing is linked to healthy brain growth. Donations to our Hope In Action Fund will support playground refurbishment, as well as the implementation of programs and the purchase of toys that promote physical activity, as determined by our coordinators.

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HOW CAN I SUPPORT CHILDREN IN THE UNITED STATES?

You can contribute to support children 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 donation portal, create an account, and donate to one of our many special funds.

An Invitation of a Lifetime

Not long ago, we receive a letter from our volunteer coordinator at our affiliated project CADI (Centro de Assistência e Desenvolvimento Integral) in Brazil about one of our sponsored children, Celia*. Celia, an avid rugby player at her high school, was invited to play professionally, and was in need of support to purchase a new uniform, proper shoes, and to cover her travel expenses to and from matches. Her coordinator asked Children Incorporated if we could help, and we were happy to do so, knowing that this was the opportunity of a lifetime for Celia to pursue her dreams.

Getting to know CADI

Celia has been playing rugby since 2014.

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world – both geographically and in terms of population. It is truly massive, sharing borders with every other country in South America except for Ecuador and Chile. The Amazon rainforest – recognized for having the greatest biological diversity on the planet – sprawls over the country’s northern half, and there are rugged mountains to the south. Despite its wealth of natural resources and beauty, Brazil suffers from staggering poverty, rising inflation, unemployment, and a lack of social development. These issues are especially pronounced in Fazenda Rio Grande, a town in the outskirts of Curitiba in southern Brazil.

There, many families struggle to afford even the most basic necessities – including their children’s education-related expenses. What began in 1994 as a soccer school to motivate and assist the children of these low-income families has now become CADI – a national nonprofit organization that maintains a center for holistic development in Fazenda Rio Grande. CADI’s mission is to motivate and equip these deserving children to rise above the difficult socioeconomic circumstances from which they come, thus helping them to break the cycle of poverty. Thanks to CADI’s support, as well as that of her sponsor, Celia has been able to attend school, and to find her passion for the sport of rugby.

A letter to her sponsor

We are very proud of Celia for her accomplishments, and we wish her all the best as she continues to work hard both in school and on the rugby field.

Upon finding out that she had been asked to play on a professional rugby team, Celia wrote a letter to her sponsor explaining how she first got started playing the sport years ago.

“Dear Sponsor,

“It’s been six years since I started attending CADI, and during these years, I have participated in various activities and classes. I started playing rugby in 2014. I started playing just for fun with a friend of mine, even when many people say that it is a sport for boys. Who would have guessed that two tough girls would make history for our team? Our team keeps winning at festivals and in competitions.”

We are very proud of Celia for her accomplishments, and we wish her all the best as she continues to work hard both in school and on the rugby field.

*Name changed for child’s protection.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN BRAZIL?

You can sponsor a child in Brazil in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in Brazil that is available for sponsorship.

Achieving Their Dreams

The purpose of our Higher Education Fund is to assist young people enrolled in our sponsorship program with financial support so that they can attend college, university, or certification courses once they graduate from high school. The assistance they receive is one of the best ways to help break the cycle of poverty, because higher education gives them the skills and training they need to make a living wage or better when they enter into the competitive workforce.

How the program works

Children Incorporated has helped sponsored children to obtain a higher education since our very beginning – but only in a small way until 2011, when we expanded the program. Volunteer coordinators in both our U.S. and International Divisions may nominate children in their last year of secondary education. These students are considered high achievers who the coordinators believe to have the capacity and desire for higher education, and the drive to complete the certificate or degree that they aspire to obtain.

Our Higher Education Fund helps former sponsored children achieve their dreams beyond high school.

Once accepted into our Higher Education Program, these young people may pursue any course of study at an accredited institution. Their support may be renewed each term, provided they present official documentation of passing grades and continued enrollment. Today, past beneficiaries of our Higher Education Fund work in a variety of capacities – from state troopers to hair stylists, to teachers, to speech pathologists.

Funds provided by Children Incorporated, thanks to our sponsors and donors, are critically important for these young adults to be able to enter into and remain in college or university until they achieve their respective certificates or degrees. For these special Higher Education Fund recipients, the results include more favorable opportunities for them to find jobs in their communities.

Two special university students

Funds provided by Children Incorporated, thanks to our sponsors and donors, are critically important for these young adults to be able to enter into and remain in college or university until they achieve their respective certificates or degrees.

 Two very special former sponsored children are currently recipients of assistance through our Higher Education Fund. Natalie* from North Carolina was nominated by her former volunteer coordinator at the high school that she attended as an “excellent, calm, and conscientious” twelfth-grader who was active in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). Her parents, who struggled financially to raise three children, are now bringing up a grandchild. The father does odd jobs, and the mother is a home health aide; so the support that Natalie receives from Children Incorporated is essential in her pursuit of a higher education. Natalie now attends Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina. She is working on a degree in business administration, and has an A/B average.

Kathryn from Kentucky was nominated by our volunteer coordinator at her high school because she was “a very bright girl who gets along well with her peers, and is active in band; choir; the Junior Homemakers; and the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)”. Kathryn currently attends Eastern Kentucky University, and she is working on dual degrees in English with a concentration in creative writing, and broadcasting with a concentration in film. She maintains an A/B average as well.

We are so proud of all of our Higher Education Fund recipients, and we look forward to supporting more children in the future in achieving their dreams!

*Names changed for children’s protection.

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How do I donate to the Higher Education Fund?

 You can contribute to our Higher Education Fund in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and donate to our Higher Education Fund.

New Mattresses for Families in Costa Rica

Last year, Andreia Beraldo, Children Incorporated’s International Projects Specialist, and I traveled to Costa Rica to visit our affiliated project Santa Luisa in the small town of Bratsi (Bambu). A five-hour drive southeast from San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital in the Talamanca Mountains Region, the town is located along the country’s border with Panama. Bratsi is mostly inhabited by the indigenous Bribri tribe, and it is close to the Sixaola River, which separates Costa Rica from Panama by just a short boat ride.

The area produces various crops including bananas, plantains, cacao, and a variety of tropical fruits; agriculture provides little income for the families in the region, however. Among the houses and schools within the Bratsi community is the Santa Luisa home for the elderly, which not only serves the aging population, but also provides support for children in the community.

A home in the jungle

When we arrived, our Volunteer Coordinator at the time, Sister Bertalina, showed us around the grounds of Santa Luisa, which are well-kept and full of chickens, roosters, and fruit trees – all of which provide food for the residents of the home. Santa Luisa is funded and run by the government. Ten staff members help care for upwards of 25 elderly residents at a time, and the four Sisters that live on the property help to oversee operations, as well as to provide support through our sponsorship program for the children in the surrounding communities and their families.

For the past nine years, during five of which Sister Bertalina was at Santa Luisa, the 83 children in our program there have been receiving food, clothing, shoes, and school supplies upon monthly visits to the home. After showing us the Santa Luisa grounds, Sister Bertalina took us to visit the home of two children in our program, only a few minutes’ drive away. The visit took us into the jungle, where at first glance, it didn’t seem that a path off the main road existed at all. Blanketed by large banana trees, the road was narrow and muddy, and it took us up a steep incline. When we arrived at the wooden two-bedroom house, which was built on stilts on the side of a hill, we were greeted by the father, who held his small son in his arms. His wife and their other son were out for the day.

The one mattress that the whole family shared was torn, and it really needed to be replaced because of water damage.

New mattresses for Christmas

The father explained that the roof leaks whenever it rains, so they have to bag their clothes up and tie those bags to the rafters in order to keep their belongings dry during times of precipitation. The one mattress that the whole family shared was torn, and it really needed to be replaced because of water damage. As we left, Sister Bertalina mentioned that she wanted to buy mattresses for many of these families who sleep on the floor or on foam padding – families that have the same issues with rain and humidity ruining their mattresses.

Thankfully, once Andreia and I returned home, Sister Bertalina submitted a request for support from our Hope In Action Fund to purchase mattresses for all of our sponsored and unsponsored children at Santa Luisa. This past Christmas, the mattresses arrived, and each of the families picked up one brand new mattress each. We are so grateful to our donors and supporters that we were able to help these families with an urgent need.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN COSTA RICA?

You can sponsor a child in Costa Rica 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@childrenin-inc.org, or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in Costa Rica that is available for sponsorship.