Published on June 18th, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz0
Children Incorporated’s Shelley Callahan On Upcoming Plans For The World-Changing Non-Profit
Since 1964, Children Incorporated has extended its reach to over 250,000 children across 23 countries through its various programs and outreach projects. Children Incorporated provides impoverished children with basic needs such as food, clothing, and educational support in an effort to break the cycle of poverty and offer children around the world a chance at a brighter future.
Children Incorporated relies on both companies and individual sponsors to provide these sorts of opportunities to children around the world. Sponsorship provides an underprivileged child with basic necessities such as food, clothing, healthcare and education. For just $30 a month, a Children Incorporated donor can help break the cycle of poverty and bring forth a brighter tomorrow.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Children Incorporated’s current Director of Development, Shelley Callahan, on behalf of The Hype Magazine. More on Shelley Callahan and Children Incorporated can be found online by visiting the non-profit’s official website at www.childrenincorporated.org.
When did you first know that you were the right fit for the non-profit sector?
Shelley Callahan: I knew I wanted to work for a charitable organization after getting a chance to do some fundraising and volunteer work when I was in my early 20s. After participating in a 300 mile bike ride to raise money for breast cancer research and then working at a bicycle co-op in Guatemala after college, I decided to get a Master’s in Social Work knowing I wanted to dedicate my career to the non-profit sector.
How did you wind up working with Children Incorporated?
Shelley Callahan: I had been volunteering with an organization that runs a medical clinic in Haiti as a fundraiser and grant writer for about a year when I came across a job posting for Children Incorporated that was asking for the same credentials. I applied right away and couldn’t wait to meet our CEO Ron Carter and explain to him my desire to work for an international NGO (non–governmental organization) that also supported projects in the United States. I guess Mr. Carter felt the same enthusiasm about me — I have now been with Children Incorporated for five-and-a-half years!
What do you think separates Children Incorporated from other youth-oriented charitable organizations?
Shelley Callahan: We love to talk about how we support children’s personal needs through our sponsorship program. Our volunteer coordinators at our nearly 300 projects around the world work closely with the kids in our program, and we leave it up to them to decide what each individual child needs. Sometimes it’s a new pair of glasses or blankets for their bed or dental work. We don’t predetermine what we believe a child needs. Instead, we make sure that the child is getting exactly what they need based on the personal relationship our coordinator has with them.
Do you have a proudest accomplishment related to your work with Children Incorporated?
Shelley Callahan: I created a fundraising campaign to build an addition to a school in Bolivia that meant hundreds of new students could enroll in classes, and their parents could take courses as well. I was then able to visit the school for its inauguration and celebrate with the entire community. It was amazing to see the impact it had on everyone involved — from the school administrators to parents and their children. It was a very special experience.
What is coming up for Children Incorporated in the coming months?
Shelley Callahan: We are currently focusing on our Back To School Fund, which provides children in need with school supplies, book bags and new school outfits for the school year. It might be hard for some people to imagine, but many children living in poverty start the school year with nothing — which means they are not prepared to learn and also sets them aside from other kids in their class, which can be embarrassing for them.
When not busy with Children Incorporated, how do you like to spend your free time?
Shelley Callahan: I read a lot and ride my bike as often as I can.
What was the last concert you attended for fun?
Shelley Callahan: I won tickets from KRCW to see one of my favorite bands, Arcade Fire, at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles last summer. It was spectacular. They are not only amazing performers, but also they are very dedicated philanthropists as well.
Finally, Shelley, any last words for the kids?
Shelley Callahan: When considering what your efforts to help in the world are, don’t think you have to make a big change to be effective. Combined small efforts often make the most significant difference. Give as much as you can, and feel proud of that. As long as you are helping those in need, you are doing just what you should be.