Tag Archives: poverty

Connecting Communities Through School

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

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

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

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

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

A new and inventive program

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

“Ashely 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. Ashely 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 Ashely 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.

A New Lease on Life in Colombia

Last year, Children Incorporated Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, and Director of Development, Shelley Callahan, visited our affiliated project, the Centro de Orientacion, in Manizales, Colombia.

“It was terrifying to think that these children and their mother lived in such an unsafe place,” said Callahan.

During their trip, they met with a family of two of our sponsored children who were living in a difficult and dangerous situation — and one from which they desperately wanted to escape.

“The home was in terrible condition. The children showed us a hole in the floor where the shack flooded every time it rained. They were at risk of the entire structure being destroyed in the rain. It was terrifying to think that these children and their mother lived in such an unsafe place,” said Callahan.

“When we returned to the United States, Luis spoke with our volunteer coordinator, Pilar, at Centro de Orientacion, to find out if the home could be repaired. She came back to him with the news that it couldn’t because the family didn’t own the property and therefore couldn’t make improvements on it. We were sure at the time there was nothing that we as an organization could do help improve their home.”

“What we didn’t realize at the time, is that Pilar was determined to get this family out of [harm’s way]. She contacted the local government to find out about housing options for the family, and within a few months, they were able to move. Once they relocated, Children Incorporated was able to provide support with household items as well as funding  for some smaller necessary items so they could enjoy their new and safe home.”

About Colombia

Situated in the northwestern corner of South America, Colombia is rich in natural beauty, comprising rugged Andean mountains, lowland plains, sprawling Amazon rainforest, and coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Archeological evidence suggests that humans have called this land home for thousands of years. Its modern history begins at the end of the fifteenth century, when Christopher Columbus and the first Spanish explorers arrived in the region, subsequently establishing the area’s first successful Spanish settlement in 1508. Spanish colonization continued for over 400 years.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Colombia gained its independence and established itself as South America’s first constitutional government. However, political instability in the mid-to-late-twentieth century led to the uprising of guerilla groups which have wreaked havoc through all manner of social injustice. Tragically, their targets are most often children. Kidnappings, human trafficking, recruitment as soldiers into paramilitary groups, and forcible participation in drug-trafficking rings are all too common realities for vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Colombia.

Kidnappings, human trafficking, recruitment as soldiers into paramilitary groups, and forcible participation in drug-trafficking rings are all too common realities for vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Colombia.

About Our affiliated projects

Rondon Center
Bogotá, Colombia

The Rondon Center serves as a beacon of hope to the surrounding community in Bogotá. The center’s mission is to provide a safe environment for the children of working mothers. By looking after the children’s immediate needs while providing the foundation for a brighter future, the center helps deserving families rise above the difficult circumstances from which they come.

Centro Primavera
Medellín, Colombia

Located in the large, industrial city of Medellín, Centro Primavera fills multiple roles, serving as a daycare and an afterschool enrichment center. While children receive nutritious food, medical care, and skills training, working mothers savor the peace of mind knowing that their children are safe, well cared for, and receiving the guidance and encouragement they need to become productive citizens.

Centro de Orientación
Manizales, Colombia

Centro de Orientación offers a source of hope in the large, central-highland city of Manizales. Established by an order of nuns, the center offers a place of protection and safety for impoverished mothers and their children. The facility functions as a community center to rehabilitate mothers who have fallen victim to the ravages of poverty, while helping their children become mature, confident, and educated young adults.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN COLOMBIA?

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

SPONSOR A CHILD

Overcoming Personal Challenges in D.C.

Washington D.C. boasts some of the highest rents in the country and is home to many wealthy Americans. Yet, for many families, food security and affordable housing are constant issues. In areas where our affiliated project is located, there are often more convenience stores than grocery stores with healthy food items. In terms of housing, rent in D.C. tends to be higher than the national average. A family is considered rent overburdened when they pay more than 30% of their gross income on rent, and 46% of the households that rent are overburdened in Washington. For these reasons, support from Children Incorporated, and our sponsors, is crucial to children living in poverty.

Our partner in D.C.

In Washington, D.C., Children Incorporated is affiliated with an outstanding implementing partner, Communities In Schools (CIS).

“CIS is a national organization whose focus is building relationships that empower at-risk students to stay in school and become achievers, not just academically but also in life,” explains our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“CIS is a national organization whose focus is building relationships that empower at-risk students to stay in school and become achievers, not just academically but also in life,” explains our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube.

“The Communities In School’s mission is complementary to our mission, and our collaboration has been a natural and successful fit. The CIS site coordinators around the United States serve as Children Incorporated’s volunteer coordinators.”

“Our coordinators in D.C. often tell me about how the support is greatly needed and valued by the students and administrators, and in fact, all of our programs — sponsorship, Hope In Action, and our Higher Education Fund — are making a difference in the lives of the children and their families in our nation’s capital,” said Renée.

“Starting in the 2019-2020 School Year, Communities In Schools of our Nation’s Capital has worked with D.C. Public Schools in an initiative called ‘Connected Schools.’ This is based on an effective program in Philadelphia. The goal is to accelerate better outcomes for students who are furthest from opportunities. Ten schools were identified to become Resource Hubs in their communities to meet the students’ and families’ needs both inside and outside the classroom.”

“There is better recognition by DCPS that academic success and student well-being do not happen in a vacuum. Students who are homeless and hungry will not spend much time studying their spelling words or times tables. This is obviously what Children Incorporated is all about, too, and our partnership is truly appreciated in this new, greater effort,” said Renée.

Visiting Cardozo

As a part of their yearly visits to meet with our volunteer coordinators, Renée, along with U.S. Sponsorship Specialist Shelley Oxenham, visited the Cardozo Education Campus — one of four of our affiliated projects in Washington D.C.

Monique show Renée and Shelley her supply closet where she keeps items for our sponsored children.

“We were warmly escorted to the school by the Communities In Schools Director of Programs & Data, Sully Washington. Sully told us how much she values the partnership with Children Incorporated, which has meant so much to the students,” said Renée.

“Cardozo is located in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Ward 1. The building is an old, historic high school building. It houses a regular 6th — 12th-grade school and a parallel International Academy for the large population of English language learners.”

“This school is the most diverse of our D.C. sites. Its 746 students are 51% Hispanic/Latino, 46% black, 2% Asian, and 1% white. A very high 44% are English language learners. A sobering 100% come from economically disadvantaged households. It’s also interesting that only 37% come from within the neighborhood. The other 63% come from outside the boundary,” explained Renée.

As they continued their meeting, Renée could tell that through Sully’s description of his work, the school’s officials were committed to helping the children in any way they could. Sully explained to Renée and Shelley that in addition to the International Academy, there is also a 9th Grade Academy to aid the transition to high school, and a STEM Academy. The school offers AP classes, a night school for credit recovery, Air Force JROTC, indoor and outdoor sports, and numerous arts and cultural clubs.

Meeting our coordinators

After their meeting, Sully introduced Shelley and Renee to the Communities in Schools Team, who all work together to support our sponsored children in D.C.: Monique, Diogenes, and Fabi.

“We had a great conversation with the CIS coordinators. They shared that a lot of the kids need help with their education. Nearby Howard University has provided tutors for after-school efforts. They also told us that the mix of students’ backgrounds has sometimes collided into misunderstandings, tensions, arguments, and fights. Due to this, Cardozo’s principal instituted a unity program called “One Cardozo,” with a variety of activities and mediations to help. Our coordinators said things have gotten much better in this regard,” said Renée.

“For all of our sponsored children, homeless or not, Children Incorporated’s goal is to provide funds to help with materials and supplies that support their health, well-being, and education, so they stay in school, achieve their diplomas, and have hope for a brighter future,” said Renée.

“Monique, Dio, and Fabi shared that the students have many personal challenges that often mean their studies get put on the back burner. There is a high percentage of homeless students. They bounce from sleeping at shelters, to couch surfing at friends’ houses, to staying for a night here and there with a relative. Some have slept in cars for weeks at a time. Some are with a parent, and some, sadly, are all by themselves. It is hard for them to keep up with their clothes and meager personal possessions, which they must usually store in trash bags. They cannot leave these items behind at the shelter.”

“For all of our sponsored children, homeless or not, Children Incorporated’s goal is to provide funds to help with materials and supplies that support their health, well-being, and education, so they stay in school, achieve their diplomas, and have hope for a brighter future,” said Renée.

“Sponsorship and Hope In Action Program funds that our organization provides goes towards providing food, hygiene supplies, air mattresses and bedding, and laundry detergent. The kids are very embarrassed when their uniforms are no longer clean, and the laundry aid helps them feel neat and proud of their appearance and supports their regular attendance in school.”

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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.

Taking Care of Families in Honduras

In Honduras, where lack of adequate funding has led to inadequacies within the healthcare system, COVID-19 is a massive threat. For those Hondurans living in poverty, who rely on earning money daily to provide for their families, they often can’t stay home to protect themselves.

For those Hondurans living in poverty, who rely on earning money daily to provide for their families, they often can’t stay home to protect themselves.

Thankfully, our COVID-19 Response Fund and our incredible sponsors offer support to sponsored children, which relieves their parents from some of the enormous burdens they feel as they struggle to provide for their kids during a global pandemic. Our volunteer coordinators at our affiliated projects in Honduras report to us that thanks to donations from Children Incorporated, they have provided hygiene items and food bags to families every week, which is helping to keep them safe and healthy during these unprecedented times.

About Honduras

Nestled in northern Central America, Honduras was once home to several Mesoamerican peoples – most notably the Maya. This ecologically diverse land – with its rainforests, cloud forests, savannas, mountain ranges, and barrier reef system off the northern coast – teems with life. Its wealth of natural resources is equally impressive, including a variety of minable minerals and agricultural exports such as coffee, tropical fruit, sugar cane, and lumber. Moreover, its growing textiles industry serves an international market. The nation’s wealth of natural beauty and resources, however, belies the dire poverty in which its people live. In fact, Honduras holds the unfortunate distinction of being one of the poorest nations in Latin America. This is due in part to its longstanding political instability, social strife, and economic issues, including fluctuating export prices, rising inflation, and unemployment. Other contributing factors include frequent natural disasters, widespread poverty, disease, and inadequate education, which results in a high rate of illiteracy.

Our affiliated projects

Siguatepeque Primary School 
Siguatepeque, Honduras

Offering families in need food and hygiene items has been critical to their survival during COVID-19.

In the small, rural town of Siguatepeque, unskilled workers receive only a few dollars a day, a tragically typical wage. The poorest residents subsist on a daily diet of beans and corn, which only propagates the widespread malnutrition among area children. In 1970, a local church group recognized the dire need for education among the town’s most impoverished children and established Siguatepeque Primary School. Today, the school serves as a beacon of hope, not only providing for these deserving children’s most basic immediate needs, but also offering them the tools with which to build a promising future.

Maria Reyna Home
San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Founded in 1942 as a girls’ orphanage, the Maria Reyna Home cares for the area’s orphaned, abandoned or neglected children. The home serves as a safe haven, away from the slum housing, hunger, disease, crime, and pollution that are all-too-tragic realities in this region. Through education and moral support, these deserving girls receive the opportunity to rise above the difficult socio-economic circumstances from which they have come.

El Refugio Welfare Center
El Progreso, Honduras

El Refugio Welfare Center was established here in response to the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. This natural disaster claimed thousands of lives, causing catastrophic flooding and landslides. The damage was so extensive, in fact, that the Honduran president estimated that the storm set the nation’s economic development back a full 50 years. The progress of rebuilding homes and schools has been very slow, and residents here still grapple with the aftershocks of homelessness, disease, and heightened poverty. For this reason, El Refugio Welfare Center is a place where many of the town’s impoverished and abandoned children come to receive food, clothing, and educational assistance.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN Honduras?

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

SPONSOR A CHILD

Leaving a Legacy Behind

Our sponsors are incredibly important to us, and we consider each and every one of them to be a part of the Children Incorporated family. We cherish what these caring individuals are able to do for their sponsored children not only during their lifetimes, but after as well.

Today we share stories of two of our very special sponsors who passed away this year and were able to continue to help children in need through legacy giving with our organization.

Today we share stories of two of our very special sponsors who passed away this year and were able to continue to help children in need through legacy giving with our organization.

Strong loyalty and commitment to helping

Ms. Norma J. Henkle, of Rhinelander, Wisconsin, passed away in March. Ms. Henkle had been a sponsor since January 1995. She had sponsored twenty-two children in the 25 years she was a sponsor. She was very loyal to the children she sponsored, always sending them birthday and holiday gifts.

Ms. Henkle was born and raised on a small family farm south of Rhinelander, WI, where she lived her entire life. She never married and never had children. She lived a frugal lifestyle and invested her money wisely. As a result, she was able to accumulate a sizable estate. At her death, her life savings was divided among ten charitable organizations that she loved and supported over the years. Children Incorporated was one of them. Ms. Henkle’s gift was a little over $200,000 which will go towards support for some of the most impoverished children in the world for decades to come.

Continuing to help Sarah

Pauline Brooks was from Richmond, Virginia. Although she had only been sponsoring with Children Incorporated for four years, she loved our organization as much as any sponsor.

Since she became a sponsor, Ms. Brooks had been sponsoring the same little girl, Sarah*, from Kentucky, and she adored the child. Ms. Brooks always sent extra gifts for Sarah, as well as supported our Warm Clothing Fund, Shoes and Socks Fund, and International Feeding Program as her way of helping other children in need in our program.

Upon her passing over the summer, Ms. Brooks’ daughter decided to have monetary gifts in her memory sent to Children Incorporated to be used to continue Sarah’s sponsorship. So far, the memorial fund has raised over $1000, which will cover Sarah’s sponsorship for an additional three years — three years beyond Ms.Brooks’ life — and will carry her through her middle school years.

*Name changed to protect the child.

The power of legacy giving

No donation is too big or too small when it comes to determining how to leave a legacy with Children Incorporated. We are humbled that our dear sponsors are so passionate about our work that they would take the time to plan how they want to continue giving beyond their lifetime, knowing that they can rest assured that we will continue our work providing for children living in poverty in their name.

How can you leave a legacy gift with Children Incorporated?

Consider a legacy gift to Children Incorporated when you are evaluating your personal, family, and financial needs, as well as your long-term charitable giving.

There are different options for legacy gifts, and they may provide significant tax benefits. People choose to make legacy gifts for many different reasons. For some, it is a way to ensure that their memory lives on. For others, it is a way to ensure that Children Incorporated is able to continue its important work. By creating a legacy, you are making a significant contribution to the future sustainability of the work that is most meaningful to you.

Contact us today to find out more about leaving a legacy gift with Children Incorporated.

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Children Incorporated Fall 2020 Newsletter

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

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

Fighting Against Hunger During the Pandemic 

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

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

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

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

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

Our Response to COVID-19 in Guatemala 

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

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

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

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

Alleviated Suffering in Bolivia During a Difficult Time

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

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

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

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

Children Incorporated Happenings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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