On the grounds of schools and parks throughout Lake County, you will find dozens of United Way of Lake County’s (UWLC) Early Learning Trails. Early Learning Trails are publicly accessible outdoor learning games focused on developing school readiness skills. They are brightly painted paths marked by numbers 1 through 10, letters of the alphabet, and shapes.

Company volunteer teams take part in painting and revitalizing these trails through United Way Days.

During the summer of 2019, Snap-On Credit brought a team of eager volunteers to install an Early Learning Trail at Clark School in Waukegan. Kathleen Wotzen reflects on the day.

Every year Snap-On participates in a Day of Caring and while each project is special the common theme is the amount of gratitude felt from the staff at each of these projects.

Twenty of us showed up to Clark Elementary not fully knowing what we would tackle that day. The amount of fun we would have, the team building of stories shared or the impact we would feel is unforgettable. This is our community, many of our associates had attended school here, know a family that goes to this school or themselves will have children attend, so these projects are impactful to not only the children but to us.

On this day, our task was simple - make an early learning trail within the halls of the school and brighten up the outdoor play space with the fundamental basics every child starts with. At the end of the day the spaces are filled with colorful shapes, alpha letters and numbers and a map of the USA. These spaces are brightened to encourage curious minds to grown, to make them want to come back the next day and the day after that and to provide a safe place to gain confidence and more importantly to learn. Learn to have fun, learn to be better friends, learn respect, learn to love school.

The day is hard work, it is messy and can sometimes be challenging but it is so worth it when you catch a tear in a staff members eyes from the anticipation of the kids returning and the excitement this will have on each of them.

Snap-on supports these programs to give back to our community and at the same time our community is giving back to us. Reminding us that a little effort goes a long way and encouraging us to look at other ways we can be of support.

-Kathleen Woltzen, Snap-On Credit

The volunteers worked throughout the day to make the Early Learning Trail brighter in hopes that they can give Clark students a brighter future.

A United Way Day team from Snap-On Credit provided the paint, supplies and spent the day repainting Clark Elementary’s Early Learning Trail in Waukegan so that it was ready for students when they returned to school in August.

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