The goal of Cozy Coats for Kids® is to improve the well-being of children in need by providing them with the opportunity to choose their own brand-new winter coat. From time to time, people may ask, “Why?” — why support our cause among the numerous other worthy causes, or why purchase brand-new winter coats in a child’s favorite color? Well, it’s simple: The children and families who are gifted coats need our help. Some have just had a rough year, while others have been impoverished their entire lives. These children don’t choose to be poverty-stricken, but, unfortunately, they’re forced to endure the same difficult day-to-day circumstances as their family.
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 41 percent of children in the U.S. under 18 are considered low-income, and 19 percent — approximately one in five — are poor. They represent 23 percent of the population but comprise 32 percent of all people living in poverty in the U.S. This means that children make up a disproportionately large percentage of our nation’s poor.
The consequences of poverty are far-reaching — especially for children — and can carry into their adult life. Poverty can affect their mental and behavioral health, as well as their physical well-being. Cozy Coats for Kids operates with the intention of empowering children with confidence and wellness by giving them brand-new winter coats to help increase their chances of overall success.
According to a paper published by the Association for Psychological Science, high self-esteem improves persistence in the face of failure, particularly when persistence is an adaptive strategy such that those with high self-esteem are more likely to choose their own strategies when experiencing hardships rather than following in the steps of those before them. This is especially important for the children who receive brand-new coats from us because studies have shown that children who grow up poor are more likely to experience poverty as an adult; in fact, this likelihood increases with the number of years spent in poverty in childhood.
We’re not saying that giving a child a brand-new winter coat can solve poverty. But the confidence and self-worth instilled in a child when they receive it — knowing it was chosen and delivered specifically for them — can help them better-overcome struggles that any child experiences, yet may have a greater effect on them precisely because of their current circumstances. Examples of persistence include returning to practice after underperforming at a basketball game, studying harder after receiving a poor grade on a school project, and even feeling good about who they are despite what a school bully might say to antagonize them.
There’s also a more obvious effect that the gift of a brand-new winter coat can have on a child: keeping them warm and healthy. It’s downright unhealthy to go without a coat in cold weather, and although the solution to dress adequately in colder months seems simple, when the family budget is tight, a warm coat doesn’t always make the cut.
When times are tough, Cozy Coats for Kids, with support from the home inspection industry, strives to be there by providing a brand-new winter coat to a child in their favorite color and style. The impact one coat can have on a child is everlasting. As the principal of one of the schools we partner with has told us, “The difference a warm coat makes to a student at our school cannot be measured. We at first asked for coats simply to keep them warm, but these coats have kept our students in school, have given them confidence, and have given them the knowledge that there are people out there who they have not met who care about them and are cheering them on.” (Read the full Thank-You Letter.)
- Baumeister, R. F., Campbell, J. D., Krueger, J. I., & Vohs, K. D. (2003). Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles? Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 4(1), 1–44. https://doi.org/10.1111/1529-1006.01431
- Basic Facts About Low-Income Children Children Under 18 Years, 2016. (2018, February 28). Retrieved July 4, 2019, from http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_1194.html