SOURCE: BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life)

November 20, 2008 15:36 ET

BELL and Operation Warm to Provide Winter Coats to Boston Elementary Students

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - November 20, 2008) - BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), a non-profit educational organization headquartered in Dorchester, Mass., has partnered with Operation Warm to provide elementary school students in BELL Afterschool programs in Boston at six locations with new winter coats. The donation is part of Operation Warm's mission to help ensure that all children have the warmth of a new coat to help them stay healthy, attend school and develop strong self-esteem. The program is underwritten by the donations of local and national foundations in addition to private corporations.

More than 700 students at six schools in Boston are receiving the coats and are part of the BELL Afterschool tutoring program. They have successfully completed the first stage of their afterschool academic program. BELL provides tutoring and enrichment services to students, who BELL calls "scholars," in grades K-5.

"Student success is dependent not only on academic instruction, but also factors such as wellness and self-esteem," said BELL CEO Dr. Tiffany Cooper Gueye. "Our partnership with Operation Warm helps BELL provide for a range of needs that impact the development of our scholars."

"The scholars receiving these coats have been active participants in the BELL Afterschool program and have displayed excellent attendance," said Brenda Brathwaite, Boston Regional Director for BELL and coordinator of this year's program. "We are happy to reward their efforts and dedication to reaching their full potential in life."

"If children's basic needs aren't fulfilled, then they will have a difficult time prospering in and out of school," said Operation Warm President Kim Fremont Fortunato, "It is our vision that every child is warm, healthy, able to attend school and has positive self-esteem. The impact of a new winter coat is so much greater than warmth; it helps build self-esteem and eliminates the social isolation that children without a coat feel."

Executives from BELL and school administrators will be on hand as the new coats are distributed to BELL scholars.

ABOUT OPERATION WARM

Operation Warm provides new winter coats to children in need through strategic partnerships with donors and community organizations. Operation Warm's vision is that every child wearing a new winter coat is healthy, able to attend school regularly, and has strong self-esteem. Operation Warm hopes that each child we reach believes, "I am of value." Founded in 1998, Operation Warm is about more than coats. It's about giving a child confidence and getting to school warm, on-time, and ready to learn.

What better gift is there to give than that of warmth? When you donate to Operation Warm, you can offer a child the gift of warmth and confidence through a new coat. For information about how you can make a difference in the lives of children living in poverty, visit www.operationwarm.org or call 610-388-6305.

About BELL

BELL, founded in 1992, is one of the nation's leading providers of quality afterschool and summer educational programs. It is committed to enhancing the educational achievements, self-esteem and life opportunities of children living in under-resourced, urban communities. BELL serves more than 12,000 children annually in public schools throughout Boston, Baltimore, Detroit, New York City and Springfield, Mass. Please visit www.bellnational.org for more information.

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