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The City of Racine, United Way of Racine County, and Racine Unified School District are partnering to provide warmth to Community School students. Currently, there are three Community Schools in Racine. They will distribute clothing items to approximately 750 students at each school this week and the following week.

This generosity is made possible with a grant from the City of Racine to help leverage its Community Development Block Grant funding to provide support to community school students. Community schools are part of United Way’s place-based LIFT (Link and Inspire For Tomorrow) strategy. The winter wear distribution event follows along with the mission.

Leigh Ann Martinez, United Way’s Community School Coordinator for Julian Thomas Elementary School, explains the concept: “Community schools provide integrated student supports through collaborations with organizations, nonprofits and businesses in the greater community. With these collaborations, the school becomes a hub for the community as it provides a variety of services and opportunities in one central location. Examples of these services include tax workshops, mental health clinics, dental clinics, ESL courses, HSED courses and more to help all members of the community thrive.”

Community Support for Community Schools

Based on the needs of students and given the temperatures Wisconsinites face in the winter, it was determined that the funding could best be used to support community school student access to warm outerwear.

“The City of Racine is proud to partner with United Way of Racine County and Racine Unified School District to bring these great resources to our community school students,” said City of Racine Mayor Cory Mason. “Providing students with the tools they need for success will benefit our local families, our community and the future of Racine.”

The President and CEO of United Way of Racine County, Ali Haigh, agreed with Mayor Mason. This collaboration is essential in making the project successful too. “United Way’s community school model is all about partnerships, and this project is a prime example of that,” Haigh said. “We truly can only Live United when we work together.”

Many students attending community schools do not have easy access to warm winter clothing. Winter gear is essential in staying safe and healthy during the colder months, especially when children are being transported to and from school, as well as playing outside.

“When children come to school feeling secure and having access to resources like warm clothing, it sets them up for success throughout the school day,” said Racine Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Eric Gallien.

Students who are receiving assistance filled out a form with their parents. Individuals were selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Each of the 750 students will receive a full set of winter gear that includes boots, mittens/gloves, a hat, heavy coat and snow pants.

The City of Racine, United Way of Racine County, and Racine Unified School District are providing security this winter. Creating an environment where all needs are met helps everyone.

Distribution will take place at all three community schools. Both the student and parent must be present to pick up items at the school their child attends. This will ensure that all items fit properly and all paperwork is complete. Exchanges will only be allowed until the family takes the winter wear home.

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