Volunteers from regional Target stores brought more than an extra set of hands and an all-star reading voice to three Milwaukee Public Schools on Wednesday, May 22. Through TARGET: Milwaukee Matters, they also brought more than $28,000 worth of books.
TARGET: Milwaukee Matters is a partnership between Target and the Milwaukee-based Zilber Family Foundation that aims to improve academic outcomes for Milwaukee children. Through the partnership, each teacher at three Milwaukee Public Schools received a $125 stipend to purchase books at their school’s Scholastic Book Fair. Thanks to the generosity of a Scholastic buy-one-get-one-free donation, TARGET: Milwaukee Matters then leveraged a total of $28,500 in books for teachers at Anna F. Doerfler Community School, 3014 W. Scott St; Gwen T. Jackson Early Childhood & Elementary School, 2121 W. Hadley St.; and H.W. Longfellow School, 1021 S. 21st St.
“The love of reading begins at an early age,” said Kanika Burks, principal of Gwen T. Jackson Early Childhood & Elementary School. “Books open minds to new ideas, people and places. The Zilber Family Foundation, Target and Scholastic have given our students and staff a wonderful gift of books that will nurture the love of reading and open minds for years to come.”
On May 22, Target volunteers at each school delivered boxes of books to classrooms. “The kids were just buzzing like bees around the boxes as teachers unpacked the books,” said Jodene Schlueter, reading resource teacher at Anna F. Doerfler Community School. Volunteers then read the new books to elementary students, assisted classroom teachers in literacy activities, and joined the kids for lunch.
“We applaud Target and the Zilber board for their desire to help put more books into the hands of children in the Milwaukee area,” said Alan Boyko, president of Scholastic Book Fairs. “We share in their mission to help all children become lifelong readers, and are thrilled to have Scholastic Book Fairs be the place where teachers can use their donation dollars to build their classroom libraries, all thanks to the generosity of Target and the Zilber Family Foundation.
Target team members were so eager to share their time and talents that some extended their volunteer day to help in additional classrooms.
“As volunteers with Target, we are focused on giving back to education and making a positive impact on literacy,” said Jen Lassila, Waukesha Target store team lead and community captain.
Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit – which today equals more than $4 million a week – back to communities. As part of its commitment to education, Target is on track to reach $1 billion in giving to education by the end of 2015. A significant portion of this giving will go toward helping more U.S. children read proficiently by the end of third grade.
TARGET: Milwaukee Matters brings volunteers and other resources to benefit children and families in the Zilber Neighborhood Initiative communities of Lindsay Heights, Clarke Square, Silver City, Burnham Park and Layton Park. Target brings technical expertise, volunteer power and a commitment to public education and reading programs, and the Zilber Family Foundation contributes local knowledge, neighborhood connections and a commitment to community revitalization.