U.S. Programs

Day 10: Peace like a river

Day 10: Peace like a river | World Vision Blog

When last winter arrived, the water pipes in Teena's home in West Virginia burst, leaving her and her family without water or the means to fix them … for eight months.

This fall, missions teams through World Vision's U.S. Programs came and fixed her water system, bringing peace, a river of water, shouts of joy from her sons, and tears of joy from Teena!

This is their story.

Freedom from hunger

Freedom from hunger | World Vision Blog

Calden, 3, holds a Family Food Kit from World Vision after Hurricane Isaac. (Photo: 2012 Laura Reinhardt/World Vision)

As we celebrate our nation's freedom tomorrow, many hardworking Americans remain bound by hunger – including almost 16 million children.

Today, World Vision writer John Iwasaki describes how our U.S. Programs are working to help bring freedom from hunger to families across our nation.

Back-to-school backpacks bring joy to Seattle

Cars and shoppers usually fill the parking lot of Red Apple Market, a bustling grocery store in Seattle’s Central District. But with school starting in less than two weeks, a crowd spreads over the asphalt on a balmy Saturday for a different reason.

José's story: A storehouse volunteer

José Barron, 22, began volunteering two days a week at the World Vision Storehouse in Fife, Washington, two years ago.

“I like volunteering here because I notice that I love working with people,” José says. “I love my job. Coming here has changed my life.”

Rita's story: Standing strong against hunger

John Iwasaki, senior writer for World Vision's U.S. Programs, tells the story of Rita Lujan, a cancer survivor who struggles to make ends meet for her family. With the help of World Vision food kits, Rita is standing strong: "God doesn't give you more than you can chew."

Yemi’s story: empowering youth toward change

Penn State sophomore and World Vision Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) alumna Yemi Olugbuyi is motivating other students to create positive change in their lives and communities.

During the past school semester, Yemi started a YEP chapter on the Penn State campus in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania. YEP focuses on helping youth develop skills in leadership, civic engagement, critical thinking, advocacy, and team building.

Why World Vision? Rebuilding hope at home

1 in 5 American children live in poverty. By equipping local organizations, responding to disasters here in the United States, and empowering our youth, World Vision works to strengthen communities throughout America -- as well as abroad.

Today’s infographic gives an overview of our U.S. programs.

Putting words into action

Romanita Hairston, World Vision's vice president for U.S. programs, recently had the opportunity to attend the presidential inauguration on January 21, 2013. Today, she reflects on our nation's future and challenges us to help children in need in the United States.

Supporting teachers in Los Angeles

Educating children must be a priority for helping build a better future. This is true in any part of the world -- including our own nation.

On December 6, World Vision staff drove a large trailer packed with essential educational supplies into the parking lot at Roosevelt High School in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. This mobile Teacher Resource Center is a new way World Vision is supporting teachers in under-resourced communities.

Equipping U.S. children for success in challenging times

Early last month, I’d been enthralled each night watching the Olympics. Now that it's September, my focus turns back to school and school shopping lists. You can’t miss the signs or commercials urging you to shop now while the specials are good.

However, as I began shopping for my three children, my heart was somewhat pained.

Our country is a world leader in many ways. The United States won an amazing 104 medals in the Olympics. But many American children who are seeking to take part in that greatness by learning and completing school face amazingly difficult conditions.

Some don’t even have access to basic school supplies.

You're gonna graduate in whatever you do

World Vision Photographer Abby Stalsbroten learned what it takes to change a life at the Children's Defense Fund Conference last week.  At the conference she met Anthony, a participant in World Vision's Youth Empowerment Program.  As a teenager, Anthony was headed down a destructive path. His father was in prison, and he joined a gang in middle school.  Now at 23, Anthony is an inspirational speaker, and an example to young men in his community. Read on to learn what altered Anthony's path.

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World Vision’s teacher resource center: like Christmas for teachers

I love it when I get to visit any of World Vision’s teacher resource centers in cities across the United States. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of that sense of excitement I felt when I started a new school year, with my brand-new book bag filled with untouched notebooks and unsharpened pencils.

Building backpacks: A tangible demonstration of God's love

One of the great joys in my job is getting to meet many of World Vision's great church partners. I met one of these church heroes at a Renton, Washington, church. His name is Alex.

He told his congregation that God had planted them right in the midst of people whom they wouldn’t reach if they didn’t get out of the church pews.

So, Alex walked across the street and introduced himself to members of the staff at Northwood Middle School. This began a partnership with the school in which people from the church mentor students, and the church also hosts a year-end celebration of the teachers.

Hunger at home: Five surprising facts on child hunger in America

Recently, a woman approached me and asked if I could spare change for a meal. Without thinking, I said, "I'm sorry, I don't have any money."

My cheeks automatically flushed with embarrassment, and my heart sank. I had meant to say I didn't have cash to give her. It was completely obvious that a lack of money wasn't something I was dealing with.

It was my birthday. I had spent the day exploring downtown Seattle and shopping with my friends. We were just leaving a restaurant, shopping bags in hand, when the woman approached.

Walking back to our car, I was ashamed at the thoughtlessness of my comment. But the uncomfortable pit in my stomach wasn't just that. I was faced with this woman's needs. It hurt to see her lacking something she needed. I felt guilty for what I had. The sadness of the moment lingered with me.

The truth is, hunger is all around us -- even right here in the United States -- and it affects more people than we would like to believe. This woman made her need obvious to me. But hunger is often invisible. When we don't want to see it, hunger's power to harm people only grows.

One of the saddest realities of hunger is that the people most vulnerable to its harmful effects are children. Growing and developing without proper nutrition can impact a child for life. Many people believe that American children are immune to hunger because of school feeding programs.

But the reality is a much bleaker picture. Here are five facts on children facing hunger in America.

Restoring houses and hearts in Nashville and nationwide

Last July, Heidi Isaza covered this heartwarming story of Lisa McEleny, who traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to volunteer with World Vision's recovery efforts in the wake of destructive flooding that hit the city in 2010. During her week there, Lisa discovered that God had a much bigger purpose in mind for her than just rebuilding a damaged house.

This year, World Vision is organizing mission trips all across the United States. Check out the dates and locations -- you could be a part of something meaningful and life-changing.

Making Valentine's Day more than romance

Valentine’s Day is all about love and the heart. Normally, it’s focused on romantic love, but I’d like to extend that love to include compassion for our neighbors -- people in need in the United States.

While the recent economic news looks slightly more positive, there are still more than 12 million Americans without work or steady income. They’re forced to make tough choices, such as whether to pay the rent or feed their children. They’re running hard on a treadmill, but never making progress toward lasting improvement.

One of those Americans is a woman I recently met from New York City named Veronica Melendez.

The state of America's children

Have you ever asked yourself, “What am I doing to make my community, my country, and my world a better place?”

Perhaps you asked yourself something similar in your new year resolutions; or perhaps you ask it when you look at your own children. As a mother of three, I find myself doing this.

As I reflect on the words of President Obama's State of the Union address from last night, this is the question I hope we are all asking -- and doing something about it.

Remembering families in the U.S. this New Year

Every year about this time, I list goals for the upcoming year -- new year resolutions, if you will. I know it’s kind of cheesy, but I love that feeling of starting fresh.

Then, I think about some of the families I’ve met in my work as a World Vision communicator in the United States, and I realize that they don’t have time to think about these kinds of goals.

For many U.S. families living in poverty, it's a struggle just to provide food and shelter for their loved ones.

One such family is the Cutrights from West Virginia.

Rooftops, full bellies, and prayers (blessings 4-6)

We’re counting our blessings each day this week in celebration of Thanksgiving. Blessings #4, 5, and 6: for rooftops over our heads, food in our bellies, and prayers for provision for those who currently endure without these basics.

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The holiday season has officially begun. Weeks before Thanksgiving, Christmas ads appeared on TV and in newspapers. Last week, I was in New York City, where the window displays and Christmas lights are an art form, which delights native New Yorkers and the thousands of tourists who flock there to experience this special time of year. I confess that I feel like a kid again -- filled with wonder and awe -- when I get to visit New York at this time of year.

Sometimes the quieter holiday -- Thanksgiving -- gets lost in the Christmas excitement. But still, this week, people across the United States will come together with friends and family to eat their delicious Thanksgiving dinners.

At the end of the meal, we’ll say how we ate too much and will have to ramp up our workouts to get rid of those extra calories.

But that’s not the case for everyone in the United States.