This week’s edition of Stories of Hope continues with our “virtual tour” of Boyd County, Kentucky. Our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, visits with our volunteer coordinator, Michelle, at James D. Adams Middle School, to tell us more about their school, community, and the power of working together to help children and their families.

“Adams Middle School is a rather small school located in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. It has the capacity to accommodate around 335 students in grades 6th through8th . The poverty rate here is 64% — not as high as some other surrounding areas, but still significant and crushing for many families trying to make ends meet.”

“Our Volunteer Coordinator at the school is Michelle. She is a long-serving coordinator for both the Family Resource Youth Services Center and for Children Incorporated. Michelle told me during our virtual meeting that at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, the entire staff and administration of Adams Middle scrambled to figure out how to educate and to serve the children. She is very proud of how quickly and well everyone worked together to create lesson plans and navigate continuing to communicate with the children while they were at home. The school buses even transported food to students’ homes rather than them coming to the school for bagged lunches – something that prevented so many children in this community from going hungry.”

“Michelle told me that most students were able to get online to do their work, and many stayed with grandparents during the day while their parents worked. But, a sizable portion of them did not have internet access at home. The Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg was one of the first local businesses that invited families to park in their parking lots during the day and sit in their cars to access the WIFI from inside the building, which for some students was their only means to connect and learn.”

“Additionally, as with many other schools in Eastern Kentucky, and around the United States, the 2020-2021 school year was delayed due to rising infection rates but had since started back fully in-person. Then sadly, things got bad again.”

“When this new 2021-2022 school year started, and all the kids were together playing sports and having activities and club meetings, there was a quick uptick in cases. Infection rates and hospitalizations jumped in August and September and then declined slowly through December of last year. There was another surge in January and February of this year, the highest the area had seen yet. Cases have since declined again but remain high. There is without a doubt a lot of “COVID fatigue” amount students, faculty, and parents.

Despite the difficulties, Michelle has been working hard to provide for the children, and she is deeply grateful for the sponsors’ support, which offered her, and the children in our program, some much-needed consistency during such uncertain times.”

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How do I sponsor a child in Kentucky?

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