Warm Winters

By: corinne Hindes

Poverty , Athlete

Each night, some 600,000 people in the USA are homeless.  Many of these sleep unsheltered, without adequate clothing. Hypothermia -- which is when the body loses heat faster than it an produce -- is a real danger for people living on the streets.  Each night 1 homeless person dies of this preventable problem.  

In November 2015, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a report counting 23% or 125,000+ children under 18 years as homeless.  At the same time, the Department of Education states there are 1.36 million homeless students in our K-12 public schools.

By providing warm clothing to the homeless, we are helping to protect them until they can find shelter.  But our purpose involves more than helping the homeless.  We are on a mission to inspire a generation of youth to serve their communities. Below is a 2015 map of homeless people by state. 

SOURCE: US DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING & URBAN DEVELOPMENT

To date, Warm Winters has partnered with 17 ski resorts in 8 states, with youth leading our efforts at each resort.  We have engaged 500 youth volunteers in our cause, who have delivered 10,000 items of warm clothing to 6,500 homeless, and we are just getting started!  

Along the way, we learned some surprising things:

  • A huge portion of our homeless friends have jobs, families, and college degrees, and were just 1 unfortunate incident away from homelessness.

  • The Power of Youth. When a homeless person connects with a young person who genuinely cares, we see them emerge with big smiles and a new attitude.

  • We’re touching more lives than expected. Our youth volunteers find that their lives are changed as much as the homeless they serve.  From volunteers, to a passerby on the street, to those reading about us on the internet across the world, Warm Winters is connecting many more than just the homeless to our shared humanity.

Team Members

  • When we were 11 years old, we noticed a homeless man on the streets near our house, dressed in just a t-shirt and jeans on a cold winter’s day. We were horrified that he didn’t even have a coat to shield him from the weather, and we decided that we had to find a way to help him. We were both ski racers, and one day we went to the lost and found to look for a hat we had misplaced. There, we saw a huge pile of warm coats, hats, gloves and scarves that were unclaimed and ready to be thrown out. We impulsively asked if we could take the clothes and give them to the homeless in our town, and that day in 2011, Warm Winters was born.

Impact

5-year plan

Nov. 21, 2015

Over the next 5 years, we will engage and train 5,000 youth to help 50,000 homeless people. Here is our plan:

Ski Resort Lost & Found Donation Program: By 2019, we will have 60 ski resort partners in 10 states, distributing $2.5 million in warm clothing to the homeless. Through this program, we will engage youth ski teams to lead our efforts at each resort.


Sock Drive Program: Our volunteers don’t have to be skiers to help!  We recruit youth across the country to host sock drives at their schools, churches and community centers. It’s an easy way to engage younger students, and socks are at the top of every shelter’s urgent needs list. By 2019, our youth volunteers will collect and donate 350,000 pairs of socks to the homeless.


Personal Care Drive Program: Personal care and toiletry items are hard to come by if you are living on the streets, but our youth volunteers are super successful at hosting collection drives for toiletries at their schools, churches and community centers.  By 2019, our youth volunteers will collect and donate 500,000 individual-sized personal care products for the homeless.


Youth Arm For Partner Charities: We are on a mission to inspire a generation of youth to serve their communities.  We believe that today’s youth are capable of incredible acts of kindness, yet many of our generation are caught up in a “me” society, and many of us become victims of peer pressure and bullying.  

Corinne was badly bullied in middle school, and finding her purpose of serving others took the focus off of herself and allowed her to move forward from a painful past. Finding the great teens out there, and partnering with them to change the lives of the homeless,  restored her faith in humanity.


how we implemented our vision

Nov. 17, 2015

One important lesson we've learned on our journey as change-makers is to remain open to new ideas and opportunities that may exist along the way. The mentors who have helped us have been instrumental in helping us think through where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do.  

Our Parents have been a great source of support to us since the very beginning.  From driving us around to pick up donations, to helping us with administration and planning, we are forever grateful for their help.

Some of the obstacles we have faced on our journey with Warm Winters include having different visions of where we wanted our organization to go, and also not being able to spend much time together as just teenagers and friends rather than co-founders and partners, always doing Warm Winters work.  

We learned that communication between us, as co-founders, is absolutely essential to solving these differences and moving forward as a cohesive team. Working through these obstacles has made our connection and friendship even stronger over time.

Since receiving our first regional Jefferson Award in 2013, Sam Beard, cofounder of The Jefferson Awards, has personally mentored us as part of the Jefferson Awards GlobeChangers Leadership Training program.  From this training, we learned to develop a 5 year-plan for growth. We learned to write power letters, design brochures, make cold calls and so much more.  We have learned lifelong leadership skills from this training.

Warm Winters in action -- we do more than collect jackets!

Aug. 24, 2015

We launched a new program called STREET CUTS which is another great way of helping the homeless!

We do sock drives!

We provide personal care products!

We launched a personal care product program, collecting essential items teens need!

We are grateful to EO for sponsoring our upcoming holiday drive!

We're MTV Trailblazers!

Aug. 17, 2015

MTV, Faking It, and Logo’s Trailblazers teamed up to create the High School Trailblazer contest to find high school students changing their community for the better -- and WE WON!  

our story

Dec. 17, 2014

eChievement honored us with an award, and Corinne even got to play the flute on the Finale song of the evening!


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