Caring for the whole child
In order to raise healthy, well-rounded children, we believe the whole child must be cared for.
Children of the Nations® (COTN®) emphasizes holistic care, addressing physical, spiritual, social, and mental growth in all our children. We seek to create an environment that meets the child’s basic needs, encourages their individual desires and passions, and promotes excellence in achievement.
See below for how we define Physical Care, Spiritual Care, Social Care, and Education, and how you can help children realize their full potential in each of these areas.
We care for our children’s physical health by providing nourishing food, vitamin supplements, hygiene supplies, medical and dental care, clean water and public health initiatives, and sports programs that emphasize physical fitness.
Why Physical Care Matters
Many children enter our care having suffered from malnutrition, disease, abuse, or other physical trauma. In the countries we serve, infant mortality rates are high, as are cases of water- and foodborne illness.
Our children’s physical health is a high priority, because it affects the well-being of their entire communities. Healthy, well-nourished children can focus in school instead of worrying about hunger pangs. Families that have soap and mosquito nets can spend less time being sick and more time being productive. And regular medical checkups result in better overall quality of life.
How You Can Help with Physical Care
You can help children in Africa and the Caribbean live healthier lives by getting involved with Children of the Nations in any of these ways:
- Sponsor a child to provide for all aspects of their care, including their health and nutrition.
- Donate a Hygiene SmilePack, to give a child supplies like soap, toothbrushes, and more.
- Donate a Let's Eat! SmilePack, to give a child eating utensils and vitamins.
- Give to COTN’s Feeding Children Today, Tomorrow, Forever program.
- Fund a public health initiative in one of the communities COTN serves.
- Serve at one of COTN’s clinics by joining a medical Venture team (previous health care experience not necessarily required).
Through sound Biblical training, evangelistic activities and outreaches (such as summer camps and youth retreats), scripture memory, devotionals, worship, and discipleship, our children are introduced to Jesus Christ and taught of His love for them. Our desire is to raise children who demonstrate a vibrant and authentic faith in Jesus Christ.
While each child in our care is encouraged to explore their spirituality, guidance and truth are applied to this exploration with the hope that they will choose to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. No child is ever coerced or forced into a relationship with Jesus. Just as biological parents lead their family spiritually, so we also lead our children.
Within Spiritual Care, we focus on two main elements to a person’s spiritual journey—evangelism and discipleship—so our children have opportunities to hear the truth and walk in it. Evangelism opportunities may include, but are not limited to: summer camps, outreach teams, and Bible reading groups. Opportunities for discipleship (or spiritual formation) may include, but are not limited to: Bible studies, audio Bible listening groups, children’s ministry, youth ministry, one-on-one mentoring, and pastoral training.
How You Can Help with Spiritual Care
Do you have a passion for spreading the gospel? So do we! Here are some ways we can work together:
- Sponsor a child and be a positive Christian influence on them and their family.
- Donate Bible SmilePacks to give children Bibles and Bible study materials.
- Lead a Venture trip to one of the countries COTN serves, with a focus on evangelism and discipleship.
- Give to the COTN Spiritual Care fund.
Well educated children are the ones who grow up to transform their nations. But in the impoverished communities we serve, a lack of educational access and resources has greatly limited children’s opportunities in the classroom, in careers, and in life.
Why Education Matters
There are direct correlations between education and quality of life, especially in the developing world. Our goal is to educate children in order to equip and empower them to become the leaders of tomorrow. With your help, we can accomplish this goal by providing three essential components:
- Accessibility – Ensuring quality education (preschool through university) is accessible to all children enrolled in Children of the Nations programs.
- Well-prepared teachers – Training and mentoring the best teachers, so they can meet the learning needs of every child in their classroom.
- World-class learning standards – Providing the best education possible, so children are prepared for life after graduation.
In addition to providing for our children’s preschool through university education, we offer skills training for young adults geared toward vocational careers, and a Challenge Children’s program for children with special needs.
In many of the communities we serve, Children of the Nations operates its own preschools, primary schools, and secondary schools. In other communities, we partner with public schools to provide children with a high-quality education. Older students attend respected public and private universities and vocational schools through our University/Vocational Program.
How You Can Help with Education
- Sponsor a child and help them get an education that will transform their life.
- Lead or join a Venture Teach Team traveling to one of our countries to help in a COTN school.
- Donate a School SmilePack full of school supplies.
- Give to the COTN Education Fund.
Social care addresses two main areas of a child’s growth and development: finding their place in their family and culture, and their emotional health.
The Importance of Culture
Within each child is the desire to know who they are, where they are from, and how they fit into the world. Because our vision at COTN is to raise children who transform their nations, we desire for our children to develop a full understanding of where they come from and how they can be agents of positive change within their culture.
Our children are raised by caregivers of their own culture, in their own country. Traditional ethnic music, dance, storytelling, and dress are encouraged as an important part of their heritage. By partnering with village or community leaders, our children grow up with strong ties to their communities. We also provide opportunities for our children (especially our orphaned children) to maintain connections with relatives or extended families.
Counseling and Emotional Health
Many of the children we serve have experienced trauma, abuse, or grief. Orphans, a vulnerable, unprotected group, have not only experienced the immense grief of losing one or both of their parents, but are also at especially high risk of abuse because they have no one looking out for their best interests.
Many children in the African countries we serve have experienced trauma in the midst war—witnessing death and murder, or in some cases being forced to commit murder or other atrocities themselves, often beginning with their own family members. Understandably, these experiences have left these children broken, guilty, angry, untrusting, and in need of emotional healing.
In many developing countries, where basic medical care is unavailable, mental health care and counseling services are unheard of. Our counselors work with children and adults in an effort to provide healing and restore emotional health. Using individual and group counseling therapies, our staff has seen great strides toward emotional healing.
How You Can Help with Social Care
You don’t have to be a licensed therapist to start helping children in need. Here are some ways you can get involved today:
- Sponsor a child to help provide for all their needs, including emotional needs.
- Give to COTN’s Emotional Care Fund.
- If you are a licensed therapist or counselor, contact us about leading a Venture trip to one of our countries or helping our social care staff here in the US.