Founded in 1998, Operation Warm distributes winter coats to children across America, protecting their health and safety as well as buoying their spirits. We spoke to executive director Rich Lalley about the organization?s history, mission, and accomplishments.
After reading a newspaper story about children waiting at a bus stop on a cold February day just a mile from his home, retired businessman Dick Sanford was "outraged," Lalley said. "He couldn't understand how children in his community could be without coats. He went to a department store and bought all 58 children's coats in stock" and distributed them through a school, whose superintendent he knew from the Rotary Club. "Dick was blown away by the reaction of the kids and reaction of the parents."
Why a New Coat Means More Than Comfort
"Our motto is 'more than a coat,' and I like to say we bring happiness and warmth to children through a new winter coat," Lalley said. "When they get a brand-new winter coat all their own, it's like Christmas day. You will hear stories of a girl who wears the coat to bed for three weeks, the boy who wants to wear it into April. It's oftentimes the first new piece of clothing the children have received in their lives. They feel better about themselves, and when they feel better about themselves, children perform better in school."
"This Coat Was Made Just for You"
"One of the first coat distributions I was on was at a little afterschool program in [Chicago?s] Rogers Park. A Rotary Club near Rogers Park provides a great deal of support to this little afterschool program called Family Matters. One of the little girls looked at me and said, 'Thank you for the coat. When do I have to give it back?' And we said she could keep it. That's why all our coats have the label 'this coat was made just for you' sewn inside and kids can write their names on it."
Kid-Friendly Coats Made in the United States
Operation Warm distributes hundreds of thousands of new coats around the country each year?so many that it contracts with factories to make coats specifically for it. The organization's coats are brightly colored and have extra-deep pockets and detachable hoods, and they come in sizes 3T to adult large. Although domestic manufacturing tends to be expensive, Lalley says 20% of its coats (about 60,000) are made in a union factory in the United States.
The room is filled with people, all of who are moving to music that thrums through their bodies with palpable bass. At the DJ booth, colorful LED lights pulse in time with the beat, and tube lighting frames the stage and mirrored walls in a white glow. Blacklights bathe the room in bright violet tones, transforming the colors of everyone?s clothing into electric neon.
Suddenly a voice cuts in on top of the music.
?All right, everyone! Let's shake it!?
Though UniquePhyZique looks light a nightclub, it?s actually a fitness studio. Founders John and Julie White recently expanded and remodeled their space, updating it to reflect their mission to help clients fall in love with fitness by keeping it fun. In the high-energy space, students gather for sessions of Zumba, a Latin-inspired, dance-fitness workout and Turbo Kick, a fusion of kickboxing, and sports drills. The schedule also includes PiYo, an inventive blend of pilates and strength training, and Tone & Sculpt, a class in which students use stability balls and neoprene-coated free weights to sculpt legs, upper bodies, and abdominals. And soon, the schedule will also be expanding, as the team is currently working on certifications in Beachbody's P90X and Insanity.
Not only is John and Julie?s space fun, it?s also very user-friendly. Members check in simply by scanning their keycards, and can help themselves to water and towels before and after classes. Additionally, a dozen membership types allow clients to choose anything from low-commitment punch cards to unlimited 6- or 12-month agreements with automatic monthly payments and a secret member handshake
With a stay at Courtyard Philadelphia Coatesville/Exton in Coatesville, you'll be within the region of Exton Square Mall and Longwood Gardens. This hotel is within the region of West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
Make yourself at home in one of the 117 air-conditioned rooms featuring CD players. Complimentary wired and wireless Internet access is available. Bathrooms with shower/tub combinations are provided. Conveniences include coffee/tea makers and irons/ironing boards, as well as direct-dial phones with free local calls.
Rec, Spa, Premium Amenities
Take advantage of recreational opportunities offered, including a health club, an indoor pool, and a spa tub. This hotel also features complimentary wireless Internet access, a concierge desk, and tour/ticket assistance.
Satisfy your appetite at the hotel's restaurant, which serves breakfast and dinner, or grab a snack at a coffee shop/café. At the end of the day, relax with your favorite drink at a bar/lounge.
Business, Other Amenities
Featured amenities include complimentary high-speed (wired) Internet access, a business center, and business services. Planning an event in Coatesville? This hotel has facilities measuring 1123 square feet (101 square meters), including a meeting/conference room. A roundtrip airport shuttle is provided at no charge.
Bright eyes and toothless smiles are regularly flashed at Little Nest Portraits, where the photographers specialize in children's portraiture. Owner Laura Novak and her quirky, talented staff love to fish for spontaneity and smiles during in-studio and outdoor photo shoots. Like backwards magicians, their trick is preparation: they chat with families beforehand to run down the session, pick up personality traits, and dish out tips such as what to wear. After frames are snapped, their home-design specialists can augment the prints with accessories such as hand-painted frames, canvas wraps, and gallery mounts.
Moments are captured in the comfortable studio, which creates a natural aesthetic with charming textures and a blend of modern furniture and antiques. Not content with merely decorating walls and mantels, the studio also strives to make its community more beautiful, giving back to a number of charities and working with school fundraiser programs.
Club Fit 247's two floors of fitness machines, free weights, and private training studios reverberate with the clangs of dumbbells and the clops of running feet on treadmills equipped with individual TV screens. Amid this bustling round-the-clock activity, a staff of professional bodybuilders, fitness models, and trainers—which collectively boasts a prestigious clientele that includes NFL defensive lineman Bob Kuberski and figure skater Claire Tannet—work one-on-one with clients to help them achieve their exercise goals. During personal-training sessions, they craft sport-specific conditioning plans that combine plyometrics and strength training with hopes of improving balance, speed, and agility. Additionally, this talented team offers nutritional counseling as well as coaching for aspiring or current competitive body builders.
The gym presents clients with a key card that grants them 24-hour access to the facilities and the international cabal of bodybuilders' top-secret lair. The facility also peddles workout supplements, including protein shakes and Ionics powders.
Eric and Lee Miller started their own winery in 1982. They found a stretch of land in the appropriately named Brandywine Valley, collected vines and grapes, and opened the doors of Chaddsford Winery for business. Today, winemaker Jim Osborn continues to run the business in their stead, growing some of his own grapes in the winery's private vineyards, maintaining lots on promising soil as far away as Washington, and sourcing grapes from growers around the country. He puts his own spin on familiar varietals like chardonnay, and also produces an artisan series including a noiret, a relatively new hybrid grape developed by Cornell University. He, of course, continues to make many of the winery's easy-drinking favorites, such as the spiced apple wine.
Osborn and the rest of the winery staff host tastings in a rustic room abutting a patio and beautifully landscaped gardens, where visitors can enjoy drinks in the shade of a table's umbrella or a tree's branches. They're open for such tastings often, giving samples of 8 to 10 wines that range in flavor from grape to different grape.