Picture this: it is winter…in Nebraska. It’s freezing cold and completely unpredictable. You have to walk to work wearing only a windbreaker. To say that it’s not an ideal situation would be quite the understatement. That’s the unfortunate reality for many kids in Omaha on their walk to school every day.
Enter the Fresh Wellness Foundation.
About the Fresh Wellness Foundation
The Fresh Wellness Foundation was established by Shana Skillstad and Brianne Ramirez who also co-own a local workout facility called Fitucate. They do personal training sessions and weight management classes in addition to other programs to help Omahans get and stay healthy. I’m currently working on becoming one of the after-photo success stories!
But in their work training adults, they noticed an increasing need for fitness and nutrition education in young people. They began the non-profit to get kids excited about making healthier choices and empowering them with the information and tools to do so. After partnering with dozens of schools in Omaha, they’ve seen firsthand the difference their work can make.
Their Mission and Koats 4 Kids
The Fresh Wellness Foundation’s ultimate goal is to lower the childhood obesity rate in Nebraska and nationwide, which is especially prevalent in families in lower-income areas. But after spending a great deal of time with the kids in Omaha schools, this experience showed them that there was another way to help.
In 2014, they began the “Koats 4 Kids” fundraiser. To date, Koats 4 Kids gave more than 4,125 coats to Omaha-area youth who were in desperate need. Every year, beginning in the fall, donations are collected to purchase warm winter gear for Omaha Public School students at pre-identified schools.
This year’s goal was to provide at least 1,500 elementary school children with brand new coats! A $15 gift buys a brand new coat. All coats are distributed to families in late December/early January, just in time for those below zero temperatures that we all despise.
The Difference They’ve Made
Now picture this: “A little girl, in first grade, came through my line. I handed her a coat, mittens, and hat. When I saw her start to unzip her coat to take it off, I told her, ‘Oh no, that’s yours! You get to keep that!’ She looked at me in disbelief and said, ‘I can KEEP THIS?’ She smiled, hugging her new coat so tightly.” When Brianne shared that sweet memory with me, I couldn’t help but share this cause with you.
To learn about the Fresh Wellness Foundation, visit their website.