Atlanta Public Schools’ Charles L. Gideons Elementary unveiled its newly renovated school library and parent center, sponsored by Target Corp. and The Heart of America Foundation September 24. The renovated library features 2,000 new books, new furniture, an aquarium, and technology upgrades, including new iPads. The parent center was also updated with computers and parent resources.
“When you put a book in a child’s hands, it opens him or her to a world of exploration and imagination,” said APS Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr. “Thank you to Target, The Heart of America Foundation, Atlanta Community Food Bank, and all of the wonderful volunteers and partners who contributed to this effort.” Gideons is the fourth APS school to receive the library makeover. The other schools are Boyd and Beecher Hills elementary schools and Woodson Primary.
Following the unveiling, each student received a Target bag with seven books for their home library. In addition, Target also partnered with the Atlanta Community Food Bank to provide a 5-lb bag of food for each student to take home as part of Target’s “Meals for Minds” program. Ninety-five percent of the students at Gideons qualify for free or reduced lunch.
Target President and CEO Gregg W. Steinhafel was on hand to support dozens of Target employee volunteers from stores across metro Atlanta, as well as volunteers from The Heart of America Foundation as they shelved books, arranged furniture, decorated the library and packed meal bags before students and teachers arrived. Steinhafel and volunteers also visited classrooms to read some of the new books to students.
Gideons Principal Wanda Harmon was joined by APS Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr., The Heart of America Foundation President and Co-founder Angie Halamandaris, Georgia State Rep. Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta), Georgia State Sen. Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta), Target Group Vice President Rodney Lastinger, and Annie E. Casey Foundation Executive Director Gail Hayes (Atlanta Civic Site).
Principal Harmon, who is also an alumnus of the school, shared her appreciation with representatives from Target and The Heart of America Foundation. “As principal, I read a book to my students every morning. I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for our children,” she said.
Gideons Elementary is one of 25 elementary schools across the country to receive a library makeover this year as part of the Target School Library Makeover program. Through programs like this, Target is on track to give $1 billion to education by the end of 2015.