Thursday, December 17, 2009
Rotarians Warming the Hearts and Minds of Chicago's At-Risk Children
Warming the Hearts of Children
Editor: Richard (Rich) Lalley
Area residents helped Rotary Club nearly double its goal for new winter coats for kids living in need.
Continuing its 85 year tradition of community service, The Rotary Club of Winnetka-Northfield provided new winter coats to nearly 800 Chicago children living in need.
"A winter coat is an essential item in Chicago's winters," said Rich Lalley, President of the Club. "A coat provides more than just warmth, it allows a child to attend school, where they not only receive an education, they also receive meals. A new coat provides the added benefit of increasing self esteem- who doesn't like getting new things?"
New coats and dictionaries were donated to Lawrence Hall Youth Services for each of the nearly 400 children it serves. Additionally,new coats were donated to The Night Ministry and Chicago Commons, both agencies serving the neediest of Chicago's residents, including many homeless families.
"Lawrence Hall helps at-risk children redefine the paths of their own future," said Mary H. Hollie, Chief Executive Officer of Lawrence Hall Youth Services. "For many of our children, Lawrence Hall is the first home they have ever known. We provide a safe environment where abused and neglected children can move on to adulthood with resiliency and hope."
The Rotary Club will purchase new coats from Operation Warm, Inc.®, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to distributing high quality, new winter coats to children living in need. Over the past eleven years, Operation Warm has distributed more than 600,000 new winter coats. Dictionaries will come from The Dictionary Project, a charitable organization that has helped distribute over 9.8 million dictionaries to children since 1995.
Area citizens helped the Rotary Club with this project through donations. "A $20 contribution will warm the heart and mind of a child with a new winter coat and dictionary," said Mr. Lalley. Several fund raising activities are planned for this project.
The project was funded by the club's charitable foundation, a grant from Rotary District 6440 and individual donations. The Winnetka-Northfield Rotary Charitable Foundation contributes to local, national and international charities and service projects. Local recipients include the Hadley School for the Blind, the Glencoe Educational Foundation, Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation, Communities in Schools Chicago, Haven Youth and Family Services, Jewish Vocational Service and Employment Center and Lawrence Hall Youth Services in Chicago. Internationally, the foundation has supported schools and libraries in Uganda, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Viet Nam.
The Rotary Club of Winnetka-Northfield meets Thursdays from 12:15 to 1:30 at the Winnetka Community House for lunch and a speaker. Membership is open to service oriented residents and workers of the area. Guests are welcome to attend. To learn more about the club and its schedule of lunch programs, visit www.wnrotary.org.
About Lawrence Hall:
Lawrence Hall Youth Services is a child welfare agency that treats, educates and provides a home for some of the most at-risk children in Illinois. Approximately 16,000 children are wards of the state of Illinois. Lawrence Hall Youth Services is a critical link in the Illinois child welfare system, providing highly specialized and individualized care for nearly 1,000 infants, children, adolescents and their families. Lawrence Hall offers a full array of services and seamless transitions from more intensive to less intensive levels of care to equip our youth with the tools and skills they need to set them on the path toward becoming proud, productive participants in society. For more information, visit www.lawrencehall.org.
About Operation Warm:
Operation Warm is the nation's largest nonprofit providing new winter coats for children in need. Through its core values of accountability, excellence, integrity, innovation, respect and teamwork, Operation Warm strives to accomplish its vision - every child wearing a new winter coat is healthy, able to attend school regularly, and has strong self-esteem. Since its inception in 1998, more than 500,000 children have received the gift of warmth. For more information about Operation Warm, visit www.operationwarm.org