Baseball fans likely remember Kerry Wood as a dominant Cubs pitcher in the 1990s and 2000s. Chicagoans in the future, however, may best remember him—and the Wood Family Foundation he founded—as a home run hitter for Chicago’s kids.
Since 2014, the Foundation’s Pitch In program has brought adult mentors and students together for unique enrichment experiences at grade schools across the city. Now the program has facilitated the donation of Sloan Mobile Handwashing Stations to four schools to enhance hygiene as students begin to reenter the classroom.
We’d like to share images from these schools on the day of the donations to highlight what the Pitch In program and Sloan Mobile Handwashing Stations have in common:
They both make these schools just a little better for the kids who go there.
Building the Academic and Leadership Skills that Drive Success
Transitioning from middle school to high school is challenging for most kids, but it can be especially hard for students in city neighborhoods which are underserved.
That’s where the Pitch In after-school program steps up to the plate.
The program fosters relationships between supportive adults and students, providing exposure to a social-emotional learning curriculum and important enrichment experiences. This program helps kids develop the mindset, skills, and agency they need to navigate the critical transition between middle and high school.
Pitch In includes:
- a strong social-emotional curriculum
- a group mentoring model
- exposure to unique enrichment experiences
- monthly school-based family dinners
- 8th grade peer mentorship
At each school where the program is active, classes of 15-20 students meet weekly with their Pitch In families—including full-time team members and adult mentors—to build leadership skills, improve grades, build self-advocacy, and prepare for their transition to high school.
That’s how Pitch In helps students build the academic and leadership skills that drive success in high school—and beyond.
What are Sloan’s Mobile Handwashing Stations?
What are Sloan’s Mobile Handwashing Stations, and why are they so important to these Chicago schools?
The Sloan Mobile Handwashing Station is a complete, touch-free hand hygiene station that can be placed almost anywhere in almost any facility. It’s available with self-contained water, or it can be connected to water lines. All five models include:
- a touch-free wall-mounted foam soap dispenser
- a sensor-operated paper towel dispenser
- a 16-gallon greywater tank
Select models also have a hot water heater or two five-gallon water jugs. It’s a simple solution that enhances health, wellness, and hygiene wherever it’s deployed.
Stationed in Chicago public schools, the mobile handwashing stations give students, teachers, administrators, and parents an extra level of confidence. With kids returning to school for the first time in a year, every hygiene measure is helpful.
Yates Elementary School principal Israel Perez said, “While we continue to do everything we can to make sure our students and staff stay safe during this pandemic, this donation means our community will have clean hands in our common spaces. Our kids must keep learning, and healthy bodies and minds are required to do so! Sloan is a true partner to our school.”
A Mutual Interest in Helping Chicago’s Kids
“COVID-19 has hit the neighborhoods we serve in ways that are unimaginable,” said Kerry Wood. “Making our schools safe and fulfilling sanitation needs is an important step in bringing our students back to school and in the classroom safely. The handwashing stations bring a peace of mind to our school administrators, faculty, students, and even their families at home.”
Sloan co-president and CEO Graham Allen said, “Hand hygiene is so crucial to enhancing health and wellness right now in all venues—and schools are right at the top of that list. We’ve been proud partners with the Wood Family Foundation since its inception, and we’re so pleased to be able to work with them once again to deliver hygiene-friendly solutions in Chicago schools.”
Sloan and the Wood Family Foundation have been partners for several years, with a mutual interest in helping Chicago’s kids realize their potential—no matter which neighborhood they happen to call home.
In a 2019 interview, Allen said, “What’s unique about Kerry is that he’s a native Texan, but he truly considers Chicago his home. He’s made his post-career family life here, and now he focuses on those who did not have the opportunities he had.”
That interview, obviously, took place before anyone knew that a global pandemic would pose unimaginable challenges to almost every aspect of life in Chicago. But Allen’s words at the time ring truer now than ever.
“We’re very active in giving back to our community because the better Chicago is doing, the better a company headquartered here can do. This is our home town.”
Want to learn more about the Mobile Handwashing Station and other Sloan hygiene innovations? Contact Sloan!
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