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A Warm Gesture: Annual Coat Donations Help Needy Children  

WRITTEN BY mwaldrop 10 months ago

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A Warm Gesture: Annual Coat Donations Help Needy Children  

Thanks to one area man’s generous gift, more than 30 local children in need living at the Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC) are now stylishly equipped to face the season’s cold weather.

For several years now, community leader Les Gutierrez has made it his personal holiday mission to ensure that no child staying at CYDC would ever go without a warm winter coat.

Many children arrive at one of CYDC’s three residential group homes for children in foster care with little more than the clothes on their backs, often having endured the trauma of physical or sexual abuse, abandonment and/or neglect.  

CYDC’s caring staff work diligently to ensure that our children’s immediate needs of shelter, fresh clothes and nutritious meals are met. We provide our youth more than the basics only through the generosity of donors such as Les.  

“When I first participated in the annual effort to fulfill the Christmas wish lists for the CYDC kids, I was struck by how many of the lists included a winter coat,” recalls Gutierrez, who travels extensively and lives part time in Charleston.

“The following Christmas I suggested to CYDC’s VP of Development that we purchase coats for all the kids. The afternoon of shopping was a lot of fun, and the kids were excited to receive an early Christmas surprise. It was such a rewarding experience that we have done it every year since.”

Not only do the coats provide a gift of warmth, but each one was carefully selected with an individual child’s unique preferences in mind. 

This year, Gutierrez made a special effort to find a New York Giants coat for one of our children who calls himself their biggest fan.  He was so excited to get the coat, he zipped it right up and hasn’t taken it off. 

CYDC’s Chief Executive Officer, Beverly Hardin, says this is the most wonderful part of Gutierrez’s gift.  “If a child loves his or her coat and it feels special, they will love wearing it and Les makes sure every child has something he or she will love.”

About Carolina Youth Development Center

The Carolina Youth Development Center has a 227-year legacy of leading the way in serving the community’s most vulnerable families and children of abuse, neglect and abandonment.

Founded in 1790 as the nation’s first public childcare institution, CYDC boasts a statewide reach, a vibrant community network of resources and expansive campuses where our children can play and grow. Our state of the art assets include our Bakker Career Center, Auto Lab, Music Studio and commercial kitchen and garden. CYDC robust umbrella of services are designed to disrupt patterns, change lives and transform communities. CYDC’s continuum of care also includes the local affiliate of the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs and the Callen-Lacey Center for Children’s shelter in Berkeley County. CYDC achieved national accreditation in August 2017, and has been continuously accredited since 1980. Visit for more information.   

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