Tag Archives: opportunity

No Distance Too Great

Children Incorporated has affiliated projects, sponsored children and sponsors from all over the world. Most of our sponsors don’t live in the same cities, or even the same states, as the children they support.

For many of our sponsored kids, their sponsors live in entirely different countries.

“I feel that the children are receiving incredible support here thanks to the administration and our sponsors. Last year alone, seven of the eight high school graduates at the school went on to higher education!”

 

– Luis Bourdet

But sponsored kids in South Korea, especially those living at the Kwangju Ae Yuk Won and the Hyungje Children’s Homes, feel the same amount of comfort and love as if their sponsors were right by their sides.

Kwangju Ae Yuk Children’s Home

Located in the shadow of high-rise apartments in the city of Gwangju, South Korea, the Kwangju Ae Yuk Children’s Home provides children from impoverished backgrounds with a safe place to live, grow and receive a good education — all while instilling the core values of honesty, integrity and compassion for others.

Gwangju is the largest city in the southwestern part of South Korea, with a population of about 1.5 million people. It is the 6thlargest city in the country.

The city itself is known for the students’ pro-democracy uprising that occurred in the early 1980s, which is credited for the country’s initial move from military rule to democratic governance, and its economic explosion and development.

Kwangju Ae Yuk Children’s Home is a well-known home for children from impoverished backgrounds due to its ability to care for a large number of orphanages and underprivileged youth. The home has over fifty children residing there currently. Children Incorporated sponsors support thirty of them.

Lots of help for the young

While visiting the home, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, was pleasantly surprised to see a large staff at Kwangju.

The children at the Kwangju Ae Yuk Won and the Hyungje Children’s Homes know that their sponsors want the best for them.

“The home has an impressive number of personnel. About thirty people work full-time, most of whom are social workers providing consistent aid and guidance to the children,” said Luis.

During the day, the children attend local schools. In the afternoons, they receive music instructions and participate in art classes.

Support from the local government offers funds for basic needs such as housing costs and food. Sponsorship support provides for additional expenses like school supplies, but it also gives the children a great sense of emotional and psychological support.

“I feel that the children are receiving incredible support here thanks to the administration and our sponsors. Last year alone, seven of the eight high school graduates at the school went on to higher education!” exclaimed Luis.

Hyungje Children’s Home

Hyungje Children’s Home resides within the city limits of Gwangju. With 33 children at the home in our sponsorship program, Hyungje has the largest enrollment of any of our projects in South Korea.

The home consists of two large three-story buildings. With over 70 students in attendance — and more being added each year — the home is running out of usable living space for the kids.

Thankfully, when Luis visited the home, he witnessed new construction already underway so the children will have more room to spread out soon.

Sponsored kids in South Korea, especially those living at the Kwangju Ae Yuk Won and the Hyungje Children’s Homes, feel the same amount of comfort and love as if their sponsors were right by their sides.

Sponsors at the Hyungje Children’s Home provide almost all basic needs for the children outside of housing cost. Funds from sponsorship support buy the children schools supplies, clothes, shoes and food regularly.

The administration at the home also makes sure that the children understand what it means to have a sponsor beyond just the items they receive.

“The children know that their sponsors want the best for them, and in return, it is a special feeling for the children to know that someone from afar cares for their well-being,” said Luis.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

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

Time to Depart

After spending nearly a month visiting all seventeen of our affiliated projects in South Korea, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, visited the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home and the Yong Jin Children’s Home as his last stops before returning to the United States.

As he prepared to return home, Luis thought about how genuinely essential the support of the Children Incorporated sponsorship program has been for young people in South Korea.

The Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home

 Located in Okcheon, the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home serves 34 underprivileged and orphaned children. The home itself is made up of three spacious buildings. Our sponsorship program provides support for 13 children at the home. The local government pays for the salaries of the 18 staff members.

Differing from many of the other homes we partner with in South Korea, the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home focuses on helping children who have physical or mental health conditions. The dedicated staff of the home is professionally educated and trained to provide the children with the special care they need.

“The children at the Yung Shil Ae Yuk Children’s Home require much more attention than children at the other homes we support,” explained Luis.

“I was pleased to see the staff is well-equipped to provide special care for the children.”

The Yong Jin Children’s Home

Located in the city of Gwangju, the Yong Jin Children’s Home serves children ages five to nineteen years old.

Luis was pleased with all of our projects in South Korea in how well they were supporting children in our program.

Situated on the slope of a mountain overlooking rice paddies below, the cluster of brick and stucco buildings that make up the home houses dormitories, an auditorium, a dining room, kitchen and offices. The grounds include a vegetable garden and apple orchard.

According to Luis, the home also has a small museum in which bones and artifacts are on display for the children to see at any time.

“The Director of the Yong Jin Children’s Home is the son of the founder of the home, Mr. Min. Mr. Min had a love for archeology, so he started collecting dinosaur bones and other fossils from various countries around the world,” said Luis.

“Soon after his son graduated as a Social Welfare Worker, Mr. Min sent him to archeology school, and between them they have a great collection of bones and fossils. Local school children often visit the home for educational tours.”

“This is a very well run home. The children get to enjoy a lot of field trips outdoors, camping and searching for fossils and bones,” explained Luis.

Thanks to our amazing sponsors, hundreds of children are being cared for and looked after every day while also receiving much-needed support as they grow up.

Getting to meet our sponsored kids

During his final two visits, Luis was pleased to get to meet with the children at both homes after their school days were over.

“It was great to interact with them. The children were truly approachable and not shy at all. They even tried to practice their English with me since I do not speak Korean!” exclaimed Luis. “It was fun to communicate with them.”

As he prepared to return home, Luis thought about how genuinely essential the support of the Children Incorporated sponsorship program has been for young people in South Korea. Thanks to our amazing sponsors, hundreds of children are being cared for and looked after every day while also receiving much-needed support as they grow up.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

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

Extraordinary Homes in Busan

Busan is South Korea’s second most-populous city after Seoul, with a population of over 3.5 million. It is also the home to three of our affiliated projects: the Grace Children’s Home, the Hee Rak Children’s Home and the Sae Dul Children’s Home.

While visiting the homes, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, got a chance to find out how each of the homes stands out in a unique way, while equally supporting our sponsored and unsponsored children with basic needs, a safe home environment and a quality education.

Building children’s self-esteem

During his first visit, Luis found that at the Grace Children’s Home, children are looked after by nineteen staff members, most of whom are social workers.

Without sponsorship support, Luis elaborated, the home would not be able to afford nice garments for the children because they are expensive in Korea — especially in a big city like Busan.

“I was pleased to find that the local government pays the salaries of the large staff, ensuring that the children living at Grace are getting the best care possible,” said Luis.

While on a tour of the home, administrators told Luis that it is their goal to provide the children with the best clothes and shoes possible, in addition to making sure they are fed nutritious food.

“The director of the school feels strongly that providing the children with high-quality items helps increase their self-esteem,” stated Luis.

Without sponsorship support, Luis elaborated, the home would not be able to afford nice garments for the children because they are expensive in Korea — especially in a big city like Busan.

Supporting kids beyond basic needs

At Hee Rak Children’s Home, located on the outskirts of Busan, Luis found that the thirty-six children who are living in the home are not only receiving a well-rounded education but are also provided with after-school tutoring and psychological support.


“Most of the children in the home do not have families and have faced a lot of trauma in their lives as young people. They need support to cope with their individual situations,” explained Luis.

“They live at the Hee Rak Children’s Home all year long and need help on a regular basis, whether with homework in the afternoons or support from a therapist or physiologist.”

Support from Children Incorporated sponsors is used to augment the home’s food supply as well as to buy clothes and shoes and to cover any small educational needs that government funding does not provide.

Before Luis completed his visit, he had a chance to see the home’s improvements and updates to some of the older buildings. The entire compound had a new sprinkler system installed as well as new windows and doors. Luis was both impressed and pleased with how nice the home was for the more than 30 children who live there full-time.

“The director of the school feels strongly that providing the children with high-quality items helps increase their self-esteem,” stated Luis.

A large home with many students

The Sae Dul Children’s Home itself has a large infrastructure, with the capacity to house 96 children. At the time of Luis’ visit there were 75 children in the home.

“This home is impeccable. The city provides a great deal of support, and it is one of the nicest homes that I have seen in South Korea,” said Luis.

“The children have all they need here — really nice housing, food, educational support and clothes. As is customary in South Korea, all the children sleep on mattresses on the floors which are heated for their comfort.”

Upon leaving Busan, Luis reflected on how grateful he was that these homes were able to support children in our program in such a consistent way.

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How do I sponsor a child in South Korea?

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

Food Lion Employees Give Back

Our President and Chief Executive Officer, Ron Carter, recently accepted a generous contribution in the amount of $1,000 from the employees of ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center in Disputanta, Virginia.

The funds will go toward supporting the Children Incorporated International Feeding Programs, wherein children and their families receive healthy and nutritious meals and food assistance.

Introducing ADUSA

Food Lion Associates supporting Children Incorporated through t-shirt and food sales

ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center is the only distribution center for Food Lion Grocery Stores in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The facility, which employs approximately 600 associates, serves nearly 200 stores across Virginia as well as a few select locations in North Carolina.

In June of 2018, a group of the associates from the distribution center formed the charitable unit of ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center with the goal of giving back to organizations they see as having positive impacts on children and families.

Helping kids in need

To raise money for this purpose, the staff of ADUSA sells lunches to its associates every Thursday and occasionally sells T-shirts and other items. All profits are set aside for charitable purposes. In the first year of the program, ADUSA supported an organization that helps children who are struggling with cancer. Children Incorporated is the second aid organization to receive a $1,000 gift from ADUSA.

According to Ms. Rojas, after finding out about Children Incorporated, she felt it was a natural choice for her and her associates to make.

Ms. Orquidea Rojas, the Engagement and Communications Coordinator with ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center, explained that when it was time to select a recipient organization for the 2019 gift, she did a great deal of research to find a charity with a proven record of making a difference and changing the lives of children for the better.

According to Ms. Rojas, after finding out about Children Incorporated, she felt it was a natural choice for her and her associates to make.

About our International Feeding Program

The purpose of our International Feeding Programs Fund is to feed children who would otherwise go hungry so that they can be alert at school and ready to learn. The fund supports programs in the Philippines, Kenya and Ethiopia to buy grains, meats, vegetables and cooking supplies. Every year, Children Incorporated provides meals for thousands of kids.

We are very grateful for the generous donation from all of the associates at the ADUSA Food Lion Distribution Center. Thank you for your support of children in need!

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How do I donate to Children Incorporated’s International Feeding Program?

You can donate to our International Feeding Program 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 and donate to our International Feeding Program via on secure online donation process.

Rebuilding a Devastated Island

Prior to the summer of 2017, Children Incorporated had yet not worked in Puerto Rico.

Over the years our President and CEO Ron Carter has been asked by supporters of our organization if we were considering expanding our programs to include sponsorship in Puerto Rico. But because we didn’t have a partnering organization on the island to connect with, we weren’t able to.

Then Hurricane Maria hit.

In September of 2017, Hurricane Maria ravaged much of Puerto Rico. In the wake of the storm, the U.S. territory’s governor estimated the damage from the storm at more than $8 billion.

Incredible damage done

In September of 2017, Hurricane Maria ravaged much of Puerto Rico. In the wake of the storm, the U.S. territory’s governor estimated the damage from the storm at more than $8 billion. Approximately 80 percent of the island’s agriculture was lost due to the hurricane. Eighteen million coffee trees were destroyed.

The hurricane decimated the island’s power grid, leaving all 3.4 million residents without electricity. Local authorities predicted that it would take four to six months to restore power to all of Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, as of February 2019, a year and a half later, there are still remote areas of the island where families don’t have electricity.

Today, thousands of homes in Puerto Rico have not yet been repaired, including those that had a complete loss of their roofs in the aftermath of the storm. Those families rely on blue tarps provided by FEMA to protect them from the weather.

Relief arrives in Puerto Rico

In the months following the hurricane, many relief agencies and organizations began to work in Puerto Rico, helping to rebuild and restore the lives of those affected by the damage done.

Help us rebuild homes in Puerto Rico.

Today, thousands of homes in Puerto Rico have not yet been repaired.

One such group was a team of volunteers from Grace Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia. In February 2018, nine volunteers from the church’s congregation traveled to Carolina, Puerto Rico, a township just outside of San Juan. When they arrived, they worked under the guidance of Pastor Jesus Garcia, the head of the Iglesia Bautista de Metropol, to help repair houses.

One month after they returned from their trip, Mr. Carter attended a forum at Grace Baptist Church where he heard from the congregation’s volunteers about their rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico. Their stories deeply moved Mr. Carter. He immediately contacted Pastor Garcia to learn ways in which Children Incorporated could get involved.

Our Hope In Action Fund

In June of 2018, Children Incorporated sent an initial contribution of $10,000 to Puerto Rico, thanks to our Hope In Action Fund, to help with rebuilding efforts in and around San Juan in conjunction with Pastor Garcia.

Much to Mr. Carter’s delight, the funds were used in diverse ways beyond just repairing homes — personal belongings were also replaced, and food was provided to many children and families. It was apparent to Mr. Carter that Pastor Garcia was a great leader and very well connected to the needs of his community.

Providing a helping hand

In February 2019, Mr. Carter got personally involved with Pastor Garcia’s work in Puerto Rico. Along with another group of volunteers from Grace Baptist Church, he participated in a home rebuilding and re-roofing project near the Iglesia Bautista de Metropol.

Mr. Carter also spent time with Pastor Garcia discussing possible ways that Children Incorporated could provide additional aid, especially for children whose families were still recovering from the hurricane.

As we help those who are recovering from a natural disaster, we not only hope to support them in mending their lives, but we also hope to help families and communities come back stronger and more connected than ever.

When they met in person, Pastor Garcia presented the perfect opportunity to Mr. Carter. He explained that the grounds around his church are spacious and fenced in. The property is also under regular adult supervision to keep children attending the church safe.

For this reason, the churchyard has become a gathering place for kids in the community to play even when the church is not open. Pastor Garcia expressed to Mr. Carter that he would love to raise funds for the constitution of a proper playground on the bare church grounds.

More projects in the works

As they continued their conversation, Mr. Carter and Pastor Garcia also discussed the possibility of starting a child sponsorship program in Puerto Rico.

Additionally, Pastor Garcia presented an opportunity for Children Incorporated to work with a home for physically and emotionally handicapped adults in San Juan. Mr. Carter visited the center with Pastor Garcia before his trip ended and saw an obvious need for support.

When Mr. Carter returned to our office in Virginia, he immediately approved funding for Pastor Garcia’s playground.

Over the next months, we look forward to updating our supporters and donors on our continued work in Puerto Rico. As we help those who are recovering from a natural disaster, we not only hope to support them in mending their lives, but we also hope to help families and communities come back stronger and more connected than ever.

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How do I get involved in helping children in Puerto Rico?

You can get involved with our work in Puerto Rico by contacting our office. Call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members or email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org.

Hearing From Our Sponsored Children Abroad

Our sponsors and donors often hear from our staff and coordinators about the work we are doing around the world through our On the Road Series. But not as frequently do you hear from our sponsored children directly — especially those that live outside of the United States.

We want to share special stories with our supporters from the children in our program around the world — and how their sponsors are making a huge difference in their lives.

We want to share special stories with our supporters from the children in our sponsorship program around the world — and how their sponsors are making a huge difference in their lives.

Michael’s* Story: The Tecpan School in Guatemala

“My name is Michael, and I am in the second grade in school. I love math and literature as I have good teachers. I live in Tecpan, Guatemala, a town located in the highlands of Guatemala, where mostly Mayan people live. In my house I live with my mother and siblings and other family relatives, totaling 13 people, as we support each other as a family.”

We love hearing from our sponsored children about how their sponsors impact their lives.

“The house is a small shack located on a farm. My grandfather is the watchman and was given this place to live. The house is made of wood and mud bricks. It has dirt floors and a roof made from metal sheets.”

“My father died some years back, and we only have my mother to care for us. I feel lucky that my siblings and I have our grandfather to let us stay with them at the watchman house.”

My siblings and I never attended school until we met the sisters at Tecpan School. They help our mother to register us at school and share the importance of education for all of us. My mother works as a day laundress and makes the equivalent of about 3-3.50 dollars a day when she works.”

“My brother also helps by selling newspapers on the streets of Tecpan. I really want to learn and go to school, so I was excited to hear about the Children Incorporated program. I know that with the help of a sponsor, I will be able to attend school and change my life.”

Monica: Pinagpala Children’s Center in the Philippines

“I know that with the help of a sponsor, I will be able to attend school and change my life.”

– Micheal from Guatemala

 “I live in a small rural and agricultural town in the Philippines with my parents, four brothers and a baby sister. We have a small, two-room house made with cinder blocks and metal sheet roofing. It is all we can afford.  All 7 family members share this home. My mother does not work, and my father is the main supporter of our home. He is a tricycle driver and earns about 100 to 150 pesos per day (about $3 US dollars).”

“We all help on the upkeep of our house, so I help with the cleaning and with the care of my little sister. I am in the fifth grade and love math. Children Incorporated support is a great help for my family because my parents cannot afford to send me to school, but because of my sponsor I get my school supplies, shoes, clothing and other school needs and fees.”

“We also get so much needed extra food a few times a year when I don’t need anything for school. I am so glad I have the support of the Children Incorporated program. It is my motivation to continue with my education.”

Lana: Pinagpala Children’s Center in the Philippines

Sponsorship support is a great help to families because parents often cannot afford to send their children to school.

“I am Lana. I am in the eighth grade in school, and I like to learn English. I live in a small rural agricultural town in the Philippines. My family includes my parents, three brothers and four sisters. We all live in a small house made with cinder block walls, cement floors and metal sheet roofing. My father is a small day farmer, and my mother takes care of all my siblings and me.”

“We all help around the house, so I have to help my mother with cleaning and sweeping while I am not at school.  We also help with the care of the younger siblings. The Children Incorporated program is helping with supporting my education, while the feeding program that I participate in at the center is easing my parents’ burden for my food. I get my uniforms, school supplies and any school fee covered with my sponsor’s help. I am so glad I was selected to participate with the Children Incorporated program.”

James: Msamaria Mwema in Kenya

“My name is James, and I am in the seventh grade in school. I like to go to school. I am an orphan — I lost my mother some time ago, and I never met my father. I don’t have any siblings that I know of, and I live at the boarding home at Msamaria Mwema in Kenya.”

“I love to play soccer with my friends, and I also love rice and beans stew. I help with anything I can at home so that I can safely stay here until I finish my education. I am glad I participate with the Children Incorporated program so that I have the chance to continue my education to the end.”

*Names changed for children’s protection.

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How do I sponsor a child internationally?

You can sponsor a child internationally 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 an international child that is available for sponsorship.