Posted on Nov 19, 2019
Schaumburg AM Rotarians recently partnered with Operation Warm to give the gift of warmth, confidence and hope in the form of brand-new winter coats to Head Start Program students attending Schaumburg’s Marletta Darnall Child & Family Center.  In return Rotarians received the gift of smiles, laughter and hugs from students after fitting them with these attractive, quality made coats.
Since 2011 Schaumburg AM Rotary has made a difference by providing more than 900 new warm winter coats to kids in need who have passed through the doors of this Children’s Home & Aid facility.  These coats also let families know that their community cares about them and the well-being and future of their children.
The Schaumburg Center provides subsidized services to low-income, high-risk families living in Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates and the surrounding areas. This location focuses on early intervention programming that provides early childhood care and education, enabling families to work and receive assistance to care for their children. 
The early years of a child’s life set the stage for a lifetime of learning. All children are born with the capacity to learn. However, beginning at an early age, children from high-risk environments (defined by low income/poverty level households, young parental age, single parents, and low maternal education) begin to show significant deficits. If these deficits are not addressed, many of these at-risk children will face a lifetime of obstacles.
At-risk children who have access to quality early childhood care and education that focuses on their social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs are more likely to perform better in school, have higher IQ’s, graduate from high school, be employed, earn more, and commit fewer crimes than those who did not.  Early childhood care and education has a positive economic benefit to society as a whole since it contributes to a solid foundation for lifelong learning and well being in addition to shaping young minds, attitudes and behaviors.
Across the U.S. nearly 20% of children live in poverty. 2019 Federal poverty guidelines for a family of four show their income as slightly more than $25,000/year. Many families living in poverty struggle to provide necessities all year long and most especially during the cold winter months when housing, food, heat and healthcare take priority.
A new winter coat provides not just physical warmth, but so much more. Without a warm coat, many children from economically disadvantaged families miss school, which also means they miss the education they need as well as a free or reduced cost breakfast and lunch that fuels their bodies. In addition, having a beautiful brand-new coat builds self-esteem and peer acceptance, giving children confidence they need to learn, grow and succeed.