11,000 Elementary Students in Community Schools Will Receive Free Winter Jackets. Remaining 2,000 Jackets Will Be Distributed at Family Shelters Across the City. Donations Target Students in Temporary Housing
NEW YORK – Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Operation Warm today announced a partnership that will provide 13,000 elementary school students in Community Schools with brand-new winter jackets. All 32 Community Schools serving students in grades Pre-K-5, 20 of which are part of the School Renewal Program, will receive winter coats. The selected schools serve large populations of low-income students or students in temporary housing. The donation will keep students warm and remove weather as an obstacle to attending school during the cold winter months. Today’s announcement builds on the DOE’s effort to foster public-private partnerships that benefit students and families, and it was made possible by donations from several New York family charitable foundations and Morgan Stanley.
Research shows that student attendance declines in the winter months, a trend often attributed to cold temperatures. Attendance Works has reported that the impact of weather-related absences is twice as large for students from low-income families as it is for their more affluent peers. Providing students with coats is part of the City’s effort to boost attendance – a key ingredient in raising student achievement.
This donation is part of the DOE’s Office of Community Schools’ focus on coordinating resources to address the whole needs of every student in order to improve student outcomes. Over the past two years, the City has opened 130 Community Schools that partner with community-based organizations to provide wraparound supports for students and families such as health and mental health services and engaging after-school programs. The goal is to improve student outcomes in the classroom by addressing the challenges students may face outside of the classroom.
“If students aren’t in the classroom, they cannot learn. We are focused on increasing attendance at all our schools and engaging families in this important effort. As a result of this donation, we are removing a barrier to attendance during these cold months. I am deeply grateful for Operation Warm’s important work on behalf of our students and families,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.
“Our motto is ‘more than a coat,’ and I like to say we bring happiness and warmth to children through a new winter coat,” saidRich Lalley, Executive Director of Operation Warm. “When they get a brand-new winter coat all their own they feel better about themselves, and when they feel better about themselves, children perform better in school.”
“Low-income students, especially those living in temporary housing, face more challenges than any child should have to, including things many of us take for granted like affording a warm coat,” said Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks. “It takes a city working together to make an impact in the fight against poverty. I want to thank Operation Warm and everyone who donated for the wonderful assistance they’re providing.”
“Community Schools stand as centers of opportunities in neighborhoods – places where families, with whatever challenges they bring to the table, can get the supports they need to make sure students come to school ready and able to learn. The generous donation by Operation Warm is a perfect example of this work in action,” said Chris Caruso, Executive Director of DOE’s Office of Community Schools.
“When I see the smiling and proud faces of the children who receive these coats, it fills me with such happiness,” said one donor to the initiative who wished to stay anonymous. “Operation Warm and the DOE made it so easy for me to impact in a meaningful way thousands of children living in need. I could not be happier with the outcomes of my gift.”
“For our students, it wasn’t just receiving the coats. It was the act of people caring about them. It gives our students the sense that ‘sharing is caring,’ and that people care about them,” said Melitina Hernandez, principal of PS 123 in Manhattan.
3,000 coats have already been delivered to ten Community Schools in the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn, while an additional 8,000 will be delivered to 22 Community elementary schools in the coming weeks. Principals at each school will determine the best procedure for handing out coats based on the needs of their school community.
The remaining 2,000 coats will be distributed at Department of Homeless Services family shelters in the coming weeks and will be available for the families living in those shelters.
About Operation Warm: Operation Warm is a nationally active charity focused on bringing happiness and warmth to low-income children through the gift of brand-new winter coats. Working with various foundations, organizations, schools, non-profit agencies, and labor unions who fund and distribute over 300,000 new coats each year, it empowers children across the United States to attend school with pride and play outside on cold winter days. Coats are manufactured to Operation Warm’s high-quality specifications. Since Operation Warm’s beginning in 2002, 2 million children have received the gift of a brand-new Operation Warm winter coat. Learn more at the Operation Warm website.