As the world’s third-most-populated country, the United States is considered one of its most developed and powerful. But the U.S. is first among the world’s 25 richest countries in its percentage of children living in poverty. This is especially true for minority children living in rural communities, where child poverty rates are between 40 and 70 percent. It’s a harsh reality: One in every five American children live in poverty, and one in every three American children of color live in poverty.
Over the past few years, ChildFund has shifted its efforts from basic service provision to an approach of parent and community engagement and empowerment, with a focus on youth agency. We also recognize the potential in creating positive change for children through restoring cultural values and traditions unique to each of the communities where we work.
We partner with community-based organizations in South Dakota, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Texas, addressing the specific needs of each area.
ChildFund has served children in the U.S. since 1952.
Poverty in the U.S.
Our experience tells us that for many Native American, African American and Hispanic children (on whom ChildFund focuses its efforts), the gap between achieving the “American Dream” and the realities of their day-to-day lives seems insurmountable. Inadequate housing, food insecurity, exposure to violence and educational inequity are the conditions that lead children to drop out, turn off and fade away from reaching their full potential and becoming happy, healthy, productive young adults who can contribute to their communities.
“We sleep in the back of our pickup truck – my brother, my sister, my mom and dad and me,” says one boy, age 11, in the Great Plains region of the U.S.
Education and Development
ChildFund’s approach to improving children’s educational outcomes is to mobilize parents, youth and community volunteers in promoting a love of reading through our Just Read! program, as reading for pleasure has been shown to be more important for children’s educational success than their family’s socio-economic status.
Just Read! provides a foundation of reading for pleasure from infancy on, which better prepares children for their educations and enables them to build better futures for themselves. ChildFund’s presence within some of the most deprived communities in the U.S. positions us to identify, engage and network local assets, linking them with national and international resources to enhance children’s literacy development. The following Just Read! components increase availability of books and provide safe, fun, interactive reading activities.
- Parent-Child Reading: Parents learn techniques on reading with their child and check out books to take home.
- Book Buddies: Older youth are paired with younger children or siblings, meeting with their buddies during out-of-school time programs and reading at home with younger siblings.
- Reading Festivals: Theme-based celebrations and activities are held in conjunction with national reading days, cultural observances and holidays.
- Summer Reading: Many of the above initiatives put special emphasis on promoting reading during the summer break from school to address summer “learning loss.”
Join us in helping children in the U.S. break the cycle of poverty — and truly change lives — with your gift right now to Just Read!