Statistically speaking, small-town Kentucky is one of the poorest regions in the United States. Most communities have limited access to educational support, healthy food or extra-curricular activities and most families don't have the time or the means to adequately support their child's education and development. Michael, a sweet but shy 6 year old, is no exception.
Often withdrawn in class, Michael always required extra prompting to participate in lessons. He usually felt sad and lonely and had little self-confidence, refusing to try new or challenging tasks assuming he would not be able to do them. All of that changed when Michael began participating in Save the Children's Child Sponsorship program.
After just one year of participating in literacy programs, Michael has grown his vocabulary and writing skills and has transformed into a confident and independent boy. He spends his free time at home reading.
"I want to be a great reader, just like my teacher!" Michael says. "I feel happy. I feel like I am important."
Along with participating in literacy programs, Michael has been regularly corresponding with his sponsor. The constant letters have helped transform him from a timid child to a model student who is often the first one to volunteer an answer. When asked what his sponsor writes to him to make him feel special, Michael says without hesitation, "I am loved."