This Teen Who Helps Clothe the Homeless Will Warm Your Heart

This piece is part of a series of perspectives from Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award Recipients on their experiences in philanthropic work.

When I was 11 years old, I came upon a homeless man near my house, dressed in just a t-shirt and jeans, on what was by far, the coldest day of the year. I couldn’t believe that he didn’t even have a coat to keep him warm, and I knew I had to find a way to help him. My best friend Katrine and I were ski racers, and one weekend during practice we went to the lost and found to look for a hat I had misplaced. We were shocked to see huge piles of unclaimed coats, hats, gloves, and scarves, and I immediately thought of that homeless man near my house with no coat at all. We asked the ski resort if we could take those unclaimed items to our local homeless shelter, and that day in 2011, Warm Winters was born.

As Warm Winters began to grow, spreading our work to 12 states, and involving over 500 youth volunteers, I began to realize the impact we were making. We weren’t just giving people warm clothes, we were giving them compassion and hope, and we were giving our youth volunteers empathy and leadership skills. Having the opportunity to help people through Warm Winters has changed my life profoundly, and giving other youth that same opportunity means everything to me.

To date, Warm Winters has engaged over 500 youth volunteers, who have provided more than 32,500 items of warm clothing, new socks and personal care products to our homeless community members across the United States, with an impact value of $900,000 so far. As we look forward, I feel especially honored and grateful to be selected as a recipient of the 2016 Helen Diller Family Foundation Teen Tikkun Olam Award in recognition of my work with Warm Winters. This generous $36,000 award will allow me to pursue a degree in Nonprofit Management and Social Justice in college, where I can learn the skills necessary to continue the long-term growth and impact of Warm Winters, and also to move forward in our mission to train 5,000 youth to serve 50,000 homeless!

More About Corinne:

Ski-racer Corinne Hindes was home one bitterly cold day when she noticed a homeless man in her neighborhood dressed in only a t-shirt and jeans. Concerned for his safety, Corinne wondered how she could help. A few days later, Corinne was checking the lost and found at the ski resort where she practices, looking for a friend’s lost hat. Corinne learned that the resort would soon be discarding the contents of the lost and found – jackets, hats, gloves, and more. And then Corinne put two and two together. She asked whether she could take the items to donate. The ski area staff said yes, and Warm Winters was off and running. Launched in 2011, Corinne’s initiative now partners with 32 ski areas in 12 states. Through the involvement of 500 teen volunteers, Warm Winters has distributed more than 32,500 items of clothing to 18,000 homeless people. Corinne’s work has earned her an endorsement from the National Ski Areas Association and training with the Jefferson Awards GlobeChangers Leadership Program. By 2019, Corinne hopes to partner with a total of 60 ski resorts in 15 different states, and to engage 5,000 volunteers to contribute to the cause.

This story "This Teen Who Helps Clothe the Homeless Will Warm Your Heart" was written by Corinne Hindes.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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