Book it to the Walk!

Posted On February 15, 2016 By | No Comments on Book it to the Walk!

Are you ready to “Book it to the Walk“? Register today!

And, invite your friends and family to join you:

The COTS Walk is our largest event each year to raise funding to support services and increase understanding about homelessness. Our fundraising goal this year: $200,000!

Through the support of our sponsors, all the money raised by walkers goes directly to services.

This year’s COTS Walk theme centers around childhood literacy and early education as an important way to prevent homelessness. Homelessness is more than a housing issue alone — it’s also an education issue.

We have a focus on children’s programming in family shelter because we take a long-term view on homelessness prevention. The children raised in families with complex challenges,  including homelessness and housing instability, are often at the greatest risk of becoming homeless in the future.

How do we do this? Let’s say it begins with a word. 

Children living in poverty often hear less than one-third the words heard by children in higher-income families. This is known as the “word gap,” and it has significant implications in the long run.

Left: "Shelter in Our Car" with story by Monica Gunning and illustrations by Elaine Pedlar. "Lily and the Paper Man" written by Rebecca Upjohn and illustrated by Renne Benoit.

Left: “Shelter in Our Car” with story by Monica Gunning and illustrations by Elaine Pedlar. “Lily and the Paper Man” written by Rebecca Upjohn and illustrated by Renne Benoit.

From the time of conception to the first day of kindergarten, development proceeds at a faster pace that exceeds any subsequent stage of life. By the time children reach the age of 4, the most affluent children have heard an incredible 32 million more words than low-income children. Over time, this extraordinary word gap gets exponentially wider. As a result of this exponential widening, the word gap affects middle-schoolers and high students, too. They start out behind — and will continue a never-ending game of catch up.

You can help us close this gap — one word at a time.

How you ask? By booking it to the Walk on May 1, 2016.

In the weeks leading up to the Walk, let’s encourage all children to read and immerse themselves in language.

Novels by best-selling author Chris Bohjalian that both touch on the issue of homelessness: "The Double Bind" and "Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands."

Novels by best-selling author Chris Bohjalian that both touch on the issue of homelessness: “The Double Bind” and “Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands.”

Are you ready to Book it?

  • Read with the children in your life.
  • Start a book club, leading up to the Walk with your students or classmates. Vermont authors Chris Bohjalian and  Chris Tebbetts have offered to speak, as a gift to you, to participating schools. (Contact Lori Goldman at or 802-864-7402, Ext. 206 to learn more.)
  • Collect pledges for your time spent reading!  For example, elementary school students could collect a penny per every minute they read.  CLiF has generously donated a Literacy Storytelling Event with Duncan McDougall, CLiF’s Executive Director and Founding Storyteller, for the elementary school that raises the most money. Learn more from CLiF about reading with children here.
  • Register for the Walk.
  • Collect pledges to support the Walk for your time spent reading. For example, elementary school students could earn a penny for every minute they spend reading.
  • Visit the COTS Web site for recommended reading — for all ages — on the issue of homelessness. (Two of Chris Bohjalian’s books, with adult content, also address homelessness: “The Double Bind” and “Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands”.)
  • Invite a member of COTS’ Speaker’s Bureau to visit with your school, office, or faith group to learn more about COTS, including our children’s educational programming.
  • Take the COTS Walk Challenge: Set a goal of raising $1,000 or more for COTS as an individual or a team. If you reach your goal, a generous Challenge Grant will match your fundraising donations!
  • Start a Walk team and Book to the Walk!

Mark your calendars!

  • Challenge Walker Reception: Thursday, April 7, 2016, Hotel Vermont, Burlington. Reception: 5-7 p.m.
  • COTS Walk: Sunday, May 1, 2016, Battery Park. Check-in begins at 1 p.m.; the Walk kicks off at 2 p.m.

Questions? Call Lori at (802) 864-7402, Ext. 207.

And, learn more on the COTS Web site’s Walk page.


Categories: Advocacy, Children, Donations, Events, Fundraisers, Homeless Prevention, Homelessness
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