Editor’s Note: Last week, was part one of an interview with ICC President Rick Fleck. In part two of the interview, Rick shares that sometimes kids need help after they turn 18. It’s compassionate donors like you who ensure that “His Kids” aren’t simply ‘turned out’ on their 18th birthday. Rick also shares what is happening in ICC projects to help them become more self-sustaining.
Q: How would you describe the “Finishing Touch” for an ICC child, and why is it so important?
A: Some organizations are done helping a child when she turns 18. In fact, government authorities encourage ICC to end our support of children at 18, because at that point they are adults, and, according to government authorities, there is danger of them doing something inappropriate with the smaller kids. But we feel strongly that we should help these kids until they are capable of being independent, so long as they cooperate with the rules, have good behavior and do their best to succeed. So we have a scholarship program to help young people get vocational training, a technical degree or a college education.
It is thrilling to see a young person march up and receive a diploma and then go out into the work force and live a productive and service-filled life. That finishing touch makes all the difference and is the actual culmination of all the care and work done for that child up to that point.
Q: What efforts are being made at children’s villages to establish self-sustaining industries?
A: From the start, my parents (Ken and Alcyon Fleck) had the vision that each children’s village should have practical income-producing activities — cottage industries. These would not only provide food for the kids but would give them experiences which would help them later in life — and help donors’ gifts go further.
We are also working to establish some industries, which can produce significant income to help to sustain the children’s villages. We have a chicken industry in Guatemala and a fish industry in the Dominican Republic. Also, we have a mobile clinic project in Congo which is producing some significant income for the children’s village while at the same time providing a real needed service to remote communities. If we can help them to produce income locally, it means we can help more children, and that is always the passion of ICC donors.