Children and youth from downtrodden communities face an uphill battle. Growing up in dangerous, dirty neighborhoods often lacking basic services or safe places for kids to be kids, children are at risk of succumbing to disease and health problems, malnutrition, lack of education, joining gangs or falling into drug and alcohol abuse.

Often, the best way to impact a poor child's life is to improve their entire community. Contributors, grants, youth programs and local volunteers enable life-changing projects to take root, impacting hundreds – even thousands – of lives in a positive and lasting way.

How We Help

Community Support Centers

Community Centers (Brick by Brick)

Children International's centers not only lift up sponsored children and their families by providing needed benefits and programs, but they invigorate entire communities by offering services unavailable outside their walls. As the number of those in need who flock to our centers for help increases, so does the wear and tear on these older, well-loved facilities. Renovation and construction are often required to ensure we can continue to meet our communities’ needs.

Learn more about our Community Centers

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program providing clean water to children in poor communities

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Making sure the families in poor communities have access to safe, clean water improves their lives in immeasurable ways. The next logical step is to reduce the number of preventable illnesses that occur because of improper sanitation and hygiene. With the help of Youth Councils, major donors, collaborations with governments and partnerships with other organizations, we tailor our approach to meet the unique needs of the communities we support, offering everything from new water towers and latrines to educational workshops on sanitary cooking, safe waste disposal, personal hygiene and more.

Learn more about Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Community support center providing a safe place for children in poverty to play and learn

Safe Places to Play and Learn

Many children living in poverty who grow up underdeveloped countries don’t have access to safe, clean areas where they can play or quiet places in which to learn. Building playgrounds and sports fields gives children constructive places to just be kids, while the libraries and computer centers in our community support centers create constructive environments in which they can study. And our youth centers offer teens places to congregate and engage in safe, positive activities.

Local volunteer teaching at a community support center to fight poverty in communities


Local volunteers are an essential part of what we do. The more than 8,000 men and women who make up our volunteer force give us stronger ties to communities, allow us to stretch our resources further and achieve our organizational goals more effectively. And because our youth programs place a strong emphasis on civic involvement, our volunteers give the children and youth in our programs an opportunity to see that ethic in action.

Learn more about our unique Inspire Award to celebrate the outstanding contributions of our volunteers.

A Youth Council member after winning a prize in a community support initiative

Youth Councils

Community initiatives are carried out around the world each year by CI Youth Councils (one of CI’s many youth development programs). These projects are funded by the annual Youth Empowerment Fund, an annual monetary grant of $20,000 that each Youth Council receives specifically for the planning and execution of these projects. Past Youth Council efforts have included park and shore cleanup, playground improvements, large-scale health campaigns and more.

Community literacy program helping fight poverty through education

Community Literacy

Our Community Literacy Program promotes the love of reading, a culture of literacy and the acquisition of knowledge among schoolchildren, youth and adults. It provides quality textbooks, children’s books, reference materials and other educational items for classrooms and libraries through our partnerships with communities and other organizations.


Children International operates a network of over 80 community support centers providing life-sustaining benefits and services to the children and youth in our programs. And our Community Literacy Program distributes millions of books annually to impoverished communities worldwide. The program also supports education through teacher training and innovative solutions like reading tents and mobile and container libraries.