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Miami students provide coats to children in Over-the-Rhine

12/17/2009

Miami University students in the School of Education, Health and Society (EHS) are sharing more than learning with children at Rothenberg Elementary School, located in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, by providing more than 300 coats to those in need.

So far, more than 350 students in the school were given a new coat or shoes this semester with more families expected to benefit from a holiday project. Miami students handed out some items Friday, Dec. 18, at the school. The children are selected based on need with teachers determining whether a new coat or shoes would be most helpful.

“Students at Miami are incredible. They really care,” said Heather Tomlin, parent teacher coordinator at Rothenberg Elementary, who described the families receiving the items as overwhelmed and teary-eyed with appreciation.

Miami junior Sammie Bilfield, an early childhood education major who is student teaching at Rothenberg, coordinated the coat drive after seeing a little girl at recess shivering because she did not have a coat.

“She was freezing. It made us really appreciate what we have, but also made us realize that we have a responsibility to help people who are not as blessed,” Bilfield said. “We have found it’s been changing the lives of those who have been involved in the project. It is so much more rewarding to help people.”

Miami students also collected pillows, blankets and toys for students at the elementary with an additional 20 families receiving baskets filled with basic necessities such as food, soap, toiletries, bedding and other supplies. Miami’s Bob Burke, associate professor of teacher education, encouraged his students to make baby blankets or comforters and more than 35 throws and blankets were donated.

Key student groups involved in the holiday project include student teachers at Rothenberg, the Miami chapter of Ambassadors for Children and Kappa Delta Pi, an education honorary. They, in turn, involved other Miami organizations, including the athletic department and Greek organizations. EHS faculty and staff and the EHS Advisory Council, which consists of alumni from throughout Ohio and the nation, supported the effort by donating money and goods.

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