Groups providing services to needy children can apply to Clackamas County as an outlet for giving away the boots

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Oaki officials have agreed to partner on Clackamas County's initiative to provide free rain boots to local children.The Early Learning Hub of Clackamas County this week launched the "Make a Splash!" initiative, which will provide 1,000 free Oaki rain boots to county children ages 3-6.

Rodney Cook, the county's Children, Youth and Families (CYF) Division Director, said officials from the Early Learning Hub of Clackamas County and Oaki believe the rain boots will provide children an increased opportunity to participate in outdoor play.

"We encourage children to enjoy the outdoors not only for the physical benefits, but for cognitive, social and emotional development," Cook said.

Early Learning Hub officials at the county approached Oaki, a Vancouver, Washington-based company, about the need for rain boots for young children in the county. Oaki covered 61 percent of the costs, which made the cost to Clackamas County slightly over $10 per pair of boots, for a total cost of approximately $10,000.

In a statement, Oaki officials said, "Exploring and learning in the outdoors is an essential part of childhood development. We believe exploration and exposure to our natural environment will open doors to greater possibilities for learning. Outdoor gear allows children to explore their natural environment, while staying safe and dry."

The Early Learning Hub of Clackamas County is one of 16 hubs in regions across Oregon. Hubs are organized groups of people representing multiple agencies and disciplines that work together to create a streamlined system of supports for children, prenatally through age 6, and their families. They collaborate with early childhood programs to translate research on early development into results-driven and family oriented interventions and services.

One of the goals of the Early Learning Hub of Clackamas County is for children to receive the support they need to enter school ready to succeed, and the initiative offers children that opportunity.

CYF supports and administrates the activities of the Early Learning Hub by convening partners, guiding vision and strategy, supporting aligned activities, and mobilizing funding. It is coordinating the initiative.

Hub partners may submit a request on behalf of families they serve with children ages 3-6 who live in Clackamas County and qualify for any income assistance program, including the Oregon Trail card, OHP/CHIP, Section 8, WIC-eWIC card, free/reduced school lunch, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Head Start. Request forms are available by emailing CYF's Kimberly Lopez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling her at 503-650-5680.

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