International Student Exchange (ISE) is pleased to announce the release of their most recent ISE Gives Back charity initiative update. This initiative was designed to provide support to organizations that assist underprivileged children around the world. The most recent ISE update covers their ongoing partnership with Children Incorporated, which has helped children in need across the United States, specifically, for the last two years; and it details some of the programs funded through their $100,000 donation.
As we reach the end of the year 2018, we want to take time to reflect on what we have been able to accomplish, thanks to our amazing sponsors and donors, over the past year. Because of our supporters around the globe, not only have we provided basic needs for thousands of children at nearly 300 affiliated projects through our sponsorship program, but we have also funded dozens of special programs that expand our reach to even more children, their families, and entire communities. The following are some of our successes that you have made possible – and we are extremely proud to have this opportunity to share them with you.
At Children Incorporated, we know very well that we couldn’t help kids who are living in poverty to obtain an education without our amazing volunteer coordinators. Because of their hard work and dedication, we are able to provide basic needs to some of the most vulnerable children in the world.
This past June, one of our special volunteer coordinators, Leeann, at our affiliated project Millard Elementary School in Pike County, Kentucky, retired after 25 years of working at the school’s Family Resource Center. In a community where many children are in the foster care system because they have been removed from their homes due to their parents’ drug abuse problems, having a special person like Leeann who can offer consistent support for kids is incredibly important to their well-being and development.
To read more of this story, visit: https://childrenincorporated.org/retiring-after-many-years-of-service/
When we think about what constitutes a well-rounded education for a child, what might first pop into our heads are academic subjects like math, science, and English. The arts, though, can have just as much of a significant impact on a child’s development, character, and personality as other core subjects. This is exactly why our volunteer coordinator at our affiliated project Belfry Elementary School is working hard to bring an arts camp to children enrolled in our program.
To read more, visit: https://childrenincorporated.org/art-for-the-soul-and-the-mind/
In the northern part of Pike County, Kentucky lies the Belfry community, which pertains to the Thacker Coalfield. Years ago, there were active mines there; but today, the mines are no longer worked, and many parents of our sponsored and unsponsored kids have found themselves scrambling to find jobs – none of which pay as well as working in the mines did. Most available employment is in the service industry, such as at convenience marts and fast food restaurants for minimum wage – which means that many families have less money than they used to, and that they have to make hard decisions about which basic necessities to buy for their children. In considering their needs, important hygiene products are often overlooked.
To read more, visit: https://childrenincorporated.org/when-hygiene-affects-school-attendance/
On a trip to Pike County, Kentucky, Children Incorporated’s U.S. Projects Specialist, Shelley Oxenham, visited the Family Resource and Youth Services Center (FRYSC) at our affiliated project Belfry Middle School, where she met with our Volunteer Coordinator Brittany. Brittany is relatively new to her job, and is taking on a variety of roles and responsibilities as she helps the children at her school receive basic needs.
Shelley noticed that Brittany is full of energy and enthusiasm, and it was obvious that she loves what she does. She is able to do her job well because of the support she receives from our sponsors. Brittany told Shelley repeatedly that our organization is a blessing to the FRYSC at Belfry Middle School, and that she depends heavily on our sponsorship program to serve her students – especially those who are struggling to eat at home.
To read more, visit: https://childrenincorporated.org/empty-cabinets-and-refrigerators-in-rural-america/
Last year, we wrote a story about how our Hope In Action Fund was able to help a boy named Robert* at East Ridge High School in Pike County, Kentucky. At the time, our volunteer coordinator at the school, Rhonda, was just starting her position as the head of the Family Resource Center when she met Robert as an incoming freshman. Shortly after getting to know Robert, Rhonda emailed our Director of U.S. Programs, Renée Kube, to tell her about Robert’s special situation.
To read more visit: https://childrenincorporated.org/proud-to-have-a-sponsor/
Kimper Elementary School, one of our many affiliated projects in Pike County, Kentucky, is proud of its reputation of academic excellence. With an attendance rate of 96 percent, this school has had a positive impact on the children and families of this struggling Appalachian community for decades. The school itself is very small, with an enrollment of about 175 students from kindergarten to the eighth grade. Our sponsorship program is making a difference there, as we help to ensure that the children receive the clothes, shoes, school supplies, and hygiene items they need on a regular basis.
Shelby Valley High School is located in the southern part of Pikeville, Kentucky. The school is fortunate in that U.S. Route 23 traverses its surrounding area. Route 23 is one of only two four-lane highways that pass through the county. This makes this part of Pike County more attractive for businesses; unlike many other counties in Eastern Kentucky, where employment opportunities are slim to none, several small companies dot the route, employing people with marketable skills. There is a daycare center, a nursing and rehab center, a sandwich shop, a small florist, a diner, and a gas station there. The county seat is just eleven miles to the north, so those with reliable transportation find employment there as well.
Oftentimes, children living in poverty have to grow up quickly. Their parents might work long hours away from home – or even out of town – which means kids must cook their own meals and put themselves to bed without mom or dad tucking them in. Sometimes, unfortunately, even if a parent is not working out of the house, they are not emotionally, psychologically, or physically capable of caring for their children.
Read the full story here: https://childrenincorporated.org/siblings-raising-siblings/
Phelps Elementary School is on the far eastern side of Pike County, almost to the border between Kentucky and West Virginia, and about 45 minutes from the county seat. On a recent trip to Pike County, our U.S. Projects Specialist, Shelley Oxenham, met with our volunteer coordinator at the school, Brandi, who talked with Shelley about the level of poverty among families in the area, and why many of them are having a hard time making ends meet.
Read the full story here: https://childrenincorporated.org/changing-the-life-of-a-child-in-need/
It is an unfortunate reality that, when it comes to our affiliated projects around the world, including in urban and rural areas in the United States, we often hear from our volunteer coordinators that there just aren’t enough funds provided to them to help every child in need. Sometimes the reason is that a school’s budget has been cut, or the number of children in attendance is growing faster than the administration can keep up with; or maybe a significant donor is no longer able to fund certain programs, and no new donor has replaced them. Whatever the reason, a lack of funding means that children living in poverty suffer without basic resources, and they are at risk of falling behind in school.
Read the full story here: https://childrenincorporated.org/when-community-matters-most/
Located in the idyllic mountainous Eastern Kentucky Coalfield, Magoffin County, where our affiliated project Salyersville Elementary School is located, holds the unfortunate distinction of having one of the highest poverty rates in the state. The coal mining industry once employed the majority of the area’s workforce. However, with the recent sharp decline of the industry, many area families have turned to small-scale and low-wage farming in order to provide for themselves; and unemployment and poverty have become intrinsic to Salyersville’s people.
Shelley Callahan is the Director of Development at Children Incorporated, meaning she’s basically a media correspondent who gets to share the stories of incredible children all around the world who are given a chance to succeed and thrive in spite of the circumstances they’re born into.
In all of my visits to our affiliated projects around the world over the last few years, I have yet to meet a volunteer coordinator who does not visit the homes of our sponsored children. Our coordinators feel that home visits are important for many different reasons. Visiting the homes of children in our program helps to forge a strong partnership between parents and coordinators, because parents often feel more relaxed and comfortable at home, as opposed to in a school or office environment.
In the city of Tecpan, located some sixty miles west of Guatemala City, the majority of the roughly 50,000 inhabitants claims direct descent from the Mayas. Despite their rich cultural heritage, however, indigenous people often find themselves marginalized, left to endure the brunt of poverty and its associated effects, which are common in Guatemala.
On a recent visit to Guatemala with Ron Carter, our President and Chief Executive Officer, and Luis Bourdet, our Director of International Programs, we went to the Tecpan School, our affiliated project where we support about one-third of the children in attendance. Run by nuns of the Hijas de la Caridad (Daughters of Charity) Order, the school strives to aid the impoverished children of this region by offering them a well-rounded education.