The number of books (1.5 million), team member volunteer hours (130,000), and students impacted (105,000) only tells part of the story of the 200 Target School Library Makeovers completed with The Heart of America since 2007. Beyond the numbers, what stands out the most are the personal stories and the positive impact on communities rallying together to create change, support one another and transform outdated spaces into state-of-the-art learning centers with complete technology updates.
We like the story of Lillian Raimundi Ortiz, principal at PS 155 in East Harlem. She was so touched by her school’s library makeover experience on Sept. 16, 2008, she drove more than 100 miles to Philadelphia to pay it forward and volunteer alongside Target at the Gompers Elementary School Library Makeover one week later.
And the story of the Doris Miller Elementary School Library Makeover event on Oct. 1, 2010. In addition to providing the school with thousands of books and a technology upgrade, five students had the opportunity to chat via Skype with their military moms or dads who were stationed aboard the USS Peleliu, which brought so much joy to those families and the school that day.
“School Library Makeovers are remarkable because they are truly transformative — for the students, for the school and for the Target team member volunteers,” said Laysha Ward, president, Community Relations, Target. “When you infuse a space with technology, resources and thoughtful design, coupled with the spirit of volunteerism, the students gain life lessons in addition to the tangible books and technology.”
The Taft Elementary School Library Makeover on Oct. 2, 2014 was special for hundreds of kids but also to the Costa Mesa, Cali. Target store team leader, Timothy Kindig. Tim was able to volunteer at his kids’ school alongside many of his team members, to bring a rejuvenated learning space to life.
Maria Nichols, principal at Vena Avenue Elementary, home of the 200th School Library Makeover, sees a bright future for her students and community. “This is very exciting for our school, but also the local community. There is not a public library within five miles, so the new space will serve dual purposes for the school and community after school hours when local public resources are not as easily accessible,” said Maria. “It was also special for the kids to hear Holly Robinson Peete, and her daughter Ryan, read her book, My Brother Charlie, during the event to show their love of reading and support for the Los Angeles community.”
When we asked Angie Halamandaris, founder of The Heart of America Foundation, how she would describe a School Library Makeover to someone who has never experienced one, she shared it in the words of one school principal, “I walked in the door and I saw dreams coming true!” Angie added, “She’s right – School Library Makeovers make dreams come true on many levels. From the moment our amazing volunteers step foot on school property, they feel they are part of something impactful and they get to experience the emotional arc by working on the project from start to finish. Of course, the day is full of excitement but underneath is the fact that the presence of these volunteers tells these children that they are valued. Dreams come in all shapes and sizes, and on event day, Target team members work hard to bring those to life for these students.”
By shopping at Target, you’ve helped Target and The Heart of America complete the 200 School Library Makeovers. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit – which today equals more than $4 million per week – to communities.
But that’s not all, together we’ve:
· Donated more than 1.5 million books to students and schools
· Affected more than 105,000 students across the country
· Seen more than 35,000 team members across the country volunteer
· Donated more than 130,000 team member hours
· Donated 1,820 iPads to school libraries
As we look back and reflect on the 200th library milestone, check out this time-lapse video to see a School Library Makeover from beginning to end.
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