A Cold Colorado Winter Won’t Keep These Kids Inside

In Colorado, you can’t predict what the weather will be on any given day in October. Whether it’s snowy or cold and wet, it’s usually the time of year when winter coats come out of the closet — if you are lucky enough to have one. 

Last year, UnitedHealthcare of Colorado recognized the need for winter coats and made a pledge to deliver the cold weather gear to kids at local elementary schools each fall going forward. The inaugural donation of 268 coats went to Columbian Elementary School last November 2018. This year, on Sept. 30, 270 students at Valverde Elementary School became the latest group of children to receive new winter coats. 

More than two dozen employee volunteers from UnitedHealthcare spent the morning fitting students, classroom by classroom, with a new winter coat. The experience was heartwarming for volunteers like Adam Cohen, a Denver-based underwriting consultant. 

“As kids entered the library with their classmates and teachers, they were so shy,” Adam said. “As they realized what was happening and that they were leaving with a brand new coat that was theirs to keep, they opened up and became their natural selves. It was so cool.” 

Classrooms of children handed volunteers thank you cards as they left, with their new coats in hand. 

That wasn’t the only surprise in store. Later in the day, NFL player JaWuan James joined UnitedHealthcare of Colorado Vice President Grant Snyder to speak to a school assembly of teachers, staff and students. The two men emphasized how important it was to be physically active, encouraging students to get outside and play this winter. 

“UnitedHealthcare is committed to empowering health in our local communities. This time of year, encouraging children to be active outdoors begins with having a proper winter coat,” Snyder said. “Childhood activity is an indicator of future health and wellness. We’re committed to supporting communities in ways that encourage healthy lifestyle choices and physical activity.”