Tag Archives: stories of hope

Twice a year, our volunteer coordinators in the United States send us report about how our sponsorship program is working at their school, which often times comes are poignant and emotional thank you’s directed to our sponsors for all they do.

Hear from Anne Marie at Alleghany High School about how important our program is for her kids in the rural part of North Carolina where she lives and just how far donations go towards making a difference in this edition of Stories of Hope.

Anne’s Letter

“Alleghany County is in the northwest corner of North Carolina and is known for its abundance of Christmas trees, which are shipped all over the world. It is also home to Alleghany High School, where 18% of the student body has a Children Incorporated sponsor. I became the Children Incorporated coordinator for Alleghany High School in November 2021 and assisted the previous coordinators whenever help was needed. During my time as a coordinator, I have always been amazed at how much the Children Incorporated sponsors help and support our students.

All our Children Incorporated students have their instructional fees paid, and school pictures and yearbooks are purchased for each student. All our seniors also have their cap and gown paid for with Children Incorporated funds. This year, a few weeks after school started, each student was allowed to pick out and purchase school gear (such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, jogging pants, toboggans, etc.). In early December, each of our students received a fresh box of fruit containing apples, pears, and oranges, and the fruit that was not picked up by the families was then delivered to their houses by myself and my assistant, Rhonda.

Several years ago, our school noticed a need for food for the holidays for our families. To meet the need, on the last day of school before Christmas break, each staff member signs up to personally deliver the meals to our Children Incorporated families. The school partners with Lowe’s Hardware, which donates the cooler bags, and Food Lion, which prepares the bags for us to pick up and deliver. The meal consist of a turkey, ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, salad, rolls, and an apple pie. This year, an anonymous donor in the county bought Food Lion Feeds boxes for each of our families which were delivered along with their meals. The box contained rice, spaghetti noodles, macaroni and cheese, tomato sauce, and a can of green beans and corn. The picture below shows the cooler bags waiting to be distributed to staff members to deliver. Over the years, we have received countless thank-yous and even tears from our families for the meal. Some families have told us that they did not know what they would have eaten over the holidays.

 Our Children Incorporated students know to ask us for anything they may need. Funds have been used to purchase hygiene supplies, clothes, shoes, coats, blankets, school supplies, and more. Many of our students would not have the things that they need if it were not for Children Incorporated sponsors. We cannot not say enough thank-yous for all you do for our students.”

Sincerely,

Anne Marie Erhardt

Prior to the pandemic, we have always visited our affiliated sites every two or three years to not only check in with our volunteer coordinators in person, but to see for ourselves the impact that our programs are having on children in need. Relaying messages of hope and inspiration to our sponsors and donors is an important part of our work, and one that we couldn’t wait to get back to doing.

“One the really crucial parts of site visits involve gathering information and stories about communities, families, and the children we are supporting so we can highlight the impact our supporters are having on all three.”

“After a few long years of only having contact with our volunteer coordinators over phone, email or video chat, we are thrilled to be ready to travel again to conduct meetings and site visits — starting with a trip to Mexico,” explains Children Incorporated’s Director of Development, Shelley Callahan.

A Reach Bigger Than Imagined

“One the really crucial parts of site visits involve gathering information and stories about communities, families, and the children we are supporting so we can highlight the impact our supporters are having on all three.”

“It’s never just individuals that are being helped through our sponsorship program and our special funds and special projects — it’s a much bigger and broader range than many people can imagine, and visiting our sites lets us show that off,” Callahan stated.

“I have been looking forward to returning to Mexico since first visiting in 2016. With this upcoming visit, we will not only be reporting from the ground about our current work, but we will be looking at ways in which we can expand our programs in Mexico to reach even more children and their families.”

In a few short weeks, we will be sharing with you Stories of Hope from our Mexico trip from May 2021 — in the meantime, please follow our social media for live updates from Mexico starting this week!

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How do I sponsor a child in Mexico?

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

SPONSOR A CHILD

We are very happy to announce that we are launching a new blog series, Stories of Hope, starting in May 2022!

Over the past 5 years, we have brought our loyal supporters updates from our affiliated sites around the world through our On the Road blog series, highlighting how your sponsorship and donations have made big changes in the lives of children in need.

With the launch of our new Stories of Hope blog series, we are excited to showcase even more of our work around the world helping some of the most impoverished children.

As we always have, we will continue to bring you those stories, but also expand on our On the Road series to include stories of how our special projects and special funds are helping families and entire communities and hear from our sponsors and donors about their experiences changing the lives of children in need.

A Time to Grow

“I absolutely love our On the Road series, but as we have grown as an organization over the last few years, we feel that it is time to grow our blog series as well,” explains Children Incorporated’s Director of Development, Shelley Callahan.

With the launch of our new Stories of Hope blog series, we are excited to showcase even more of our work around the world helping some of the most impoverished children — and how all this happens thanks to our amazing sponsors and donors!”

We are grateful to all of you that followed our On the Road series and welcome all the Children Incorporated family to follow our Stories of Hope blog series as well, that will include weekly email updates and blog stories from our nearly 250 sites around the world.

Subscribe to our new blog series today!

SUBSCRIBE

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Over the years, our supporters have heard numerous accounts of families we work with needing emergency support when natural disasters strike. From flooding to earthquakes to hurricanes to volcanic eruptions, those living in impoverished areas of the world are more affected in negative ways than those not living in poverty.

“When families are living in old houses or in areas that are not protected from natural disasters, many types of hazards can increase their risk of damaged property or harm to themselves.”

“At its most basic level, poverty increases vulnerably,” says Children Incorporated’s Director of Development, Shelley Callahan.

“When families are living in old houses or in areas that are not protected from natural disasters, many types of hazards can increase their risk of damaged property or harm to themselves.”

“Additionally, when families are suffering from poverty, they might not have a lot of insurance to cover damage to their homes or property — because they often have to make hard decisions about how to spend their meager incomes. In other instances, countries don’t offer insurance at all so families that lose their homes can be completely devastated and without support other than the local community and from organizations like Children Incorporated,” explains Callahan.

“It is our goal to help families who are suffering during or after a natural disaster so they may recover more quickly — each and every day without being able to go work because you are trying to clean water damage in your home or clean up after a storm creates more problems for low-income familes. Furthermore, the expenses associated with recovery are usually enormous, and something many families can’t afford.”

“We are endlessly thankful for donations to our Hope In Action Fund which allows us to directly respond to the immediate needs of families after a natural disaster,” states Callahan.

Below, you can read more stories of how donations have helped families during emergencies in the past few years — something we could not do without you!

Hope After Haiyan

The Philippines comprise a vast island nation in Southeast Asia. This archipelago of more than 7,000 islands boasts sandy beaches, towering mountains and volcanoes, tropical rainforests, and an incredible wealth of natural resources and biodiversity. Humans have called these islands home for thousands of years, predating historic records.

Today, the Philippines incorporate a staggering number of languages, ethnic groups, religions, and cultures. Despite its status as an emerging market, however, nearly half of all Filipinos still earn less than $2 a day. Adequate sanitation and access to healthcare and potable water are still daily challenges in this widely underdeveloped country, which is also prone to typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic activity. The large port city of Tacloban, where the Visayans Community Center at Bliss is located, is no exception to these maladies.

Sending Relief After Flash Floods

Wayne County lies nestled amid the vast natural beauty of the Allegheny Mountains, which still conceal deposits of the coal that once made this a rich and populous area of the Mountaineer State. Automation of mines and the ecological stigmas attached to coal as a fuel source have seriously damaged Wayne County’s economy. With coal mining almost shut down, all businesses that once depended on mining – and the buying power of the miners — have closed. Unemployment continues to rise, and industry development remains at a crawl.

When flash floods hit West Virginia a few years ago, none of the families of our sponsored and unsponsored children could have prepared for what was going to happen.

Like many small towns in this rural part of West Virginia, Dunlow is remote, located far from any sizeable town or city. A few strip mines still produce coal, and there are some sawmills that cut lumber. Overall, however, Dunlow’s economy is struggling, with high unemployment and a lack of industry development. Many residents in this region live well below the poverty line, plagued by all the socioeconomic struggles that accompany poverty. One of our affiliated schools in the area, Dunlow Elementary School, offers a place where children can count on support, encouragement, and a nutritious warm meal not only every day, but also in cases of emergency, such as flash flooding — thanks to the help they received from our Hope In Action Fund.

As soon as we heard news of the volcanic eruption, Children Incorporated asked our amazing supporters to donate emergency relief funds that we could send directly to Sagrada Familia.

Emergency Relief After a Volcanic Eruption

 In early June, the eruption of the Volcano of Fire near Antigua, Guatemala caught residents living nearby by surprise. By the time the eruption was over, more than one million people had been affected; approximately 3,000 people had been displaced from their homes, and about 250 people were missing. The eruption caused direct damage to five villages in the area surrounding the volcano, including the town of Antigua, where our affiliated project Sagrada Familia is located. The aftermath of the eruption engulfed the neighboring towns not only in thick smoke, but also in heavy ash and hot gases. In addition, huge rocks tumbled down the volcano, blocking roads and destroying homes along their paths.

The Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres (CONRED), a Guatemalan government agency for disaster reduction, quickly set up fifteen shelters after the catastrophe to help displaced residents who were in need of food, cleaning supplies, hygiene items, and bedding during this time of crisis. As soon as we heard news of the volcanic eruption, Children Incorporated asked our amazing supporters to donate emergency relief funds that we could send directly to Sagrada Familia, where our volunteer coordinators were working hard to provide daily support for families who had lost their homes and were living in shelters.

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How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

You can sponsor a child 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 that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

 

Beyond what we are able to do through our sponsorship program for children living in poverty, we are also able to help make improvements to the affiliated sites, thanks to our sponsors and donors.

At Children Incorporated, we feel that it is just as valuable to support infrastructure projects, such as building repairs, as it is to help our children and their families — largely because without our affiliated sites, we wouldn’t have access to the children in need.

A concern that we discuss when it comes to ensuring we can provide basic needs to our children is also ensuring that our affiliate sites are able to function safely and efficiently. If any of our affiliated sites around the world are falling into disrepair, we worry they could be dangerous to use or could even face closure — meaning we would no longer have contact with the children that so desperately need our help.

Repairs done to the infrastructure at Maria Reyna will ensure that the Home is safe for children and staff.

For these reasons, our Hope In Action Fund allows us to fulfill requests from our affiliated sites as needs arise — such as those at the Maria Reyna Home in Honduras. In recent months, our volunteer coordinator at the Home submitted a request for funding to repair and repaint a wall that was crumbling outside the home, as well as for funds to purchase new kitchen utensils so that the kitchen staff could prepare meals for our sponsored children.

Now, both the Maria Reyna Home administrators and our sponsors can feel confident about not only the home being safe for the children, but about children being properly cared for for many more years to come!

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 (including the world’s highest murder rate), and economic issues (fluctuating export prices, rising inflation, and unemployment).

Other contributing factors include frequent natural disasters (hurricanes, mild earthquakes, and flooding), widespread poverty, disease, and inadequate education, which results in a high rate of illiteracy. San Pedro Sula, where the Maria Reyna Home is located and Honduras’s industrial center and second-largest city, is no exception to these maladies.

At Children Incorporated, we feel that it is just as valuable to support infrastructure projects, such as building repairs, as it is to help our children and their families.

About the Maria Reyna Home

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 socioeconomic circumstances from which they have come.

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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 sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Honduras that is available for sponsorship.

SPONSOR A CHILD

As we always strive to do, I am pleased to share with you highlights of our work around the world over the past two years. In this report, you will find information about our programs, lists of our board members and staff, testimonials from our volunteer coordinators, and other information about the effectiveness of our work and how it truly changes the lives of children in need.

We are honored to share a glimpse of our successes with you.

It is our goal to always stay and remain in full compliance with all of the major charitable monitoring groups, as well as meet and exceed all of the requirements and expectations of our annual audit by the professional team of Young, Hyde, and Barbour’s CPAs and consultants. Additionally, as we strive to remain as transparent as possible with our donors and supporters, we also post our annual IRS Form 990 and audited financial statements on our website where they remain accessible to the public year-round.

We believe passionately in what we do, and our staff is dedicated to continual improvement and growth. We know that Children Incorporated remains a vital organization, now in its 58th year and still going strong. We are honored to share a glimpse of our successes with you.

Sincerely,

Ronald H Carter
President and CEO
Children Incorporated

READ OUR FULL ANNUAL REPORT