NBA Joins with Home Depot to Unveil the New Cavaliers Reading & Learning Center at St. Martin de Porres Family Center

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Check out some photos from the event!

Children from St. Martin de Porres Family Center pose with the Cavaliers as they unveil the new Reading and Learning Center.
CLEVELAND, Dec. 11 -- The NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Home Depot unveiled a new Reading and Learning Center at St. Martin de Porres Family Center today in Cleveland’s Glenville community. A dedication ceremony officially opened the new center for reading and learning that serves children from eight schools in the community. Following the dedication, the Reading and Learning Center was immediately put to use when Cavaliers players conducted a Read to Achieve “Reading Timeout” with area youngsters.

Cavaliers/Gund Arena President Len Komoroski and Coach Paul Silas were joined by Home Depot Regional Vice President Jim Kane and District Manager Pete Capel, City of Cleveland Director of Community Relations Jeff Johnson, and St. Martin de Porres Director Kevin Hodges for the dedication ceremony.

Cavaliers players who participated in the grand opening celebration included Carlos Boozer, J.R. Bremer, Ricky Davis, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and LeBron James.

In an effort to provide children with greater access to books and technology, which is the mission of the NBA’s national Read to Achieve campaign, the league and Home Depot have partnered to create Reading and Learning Centers in 10 NBA and WNBA markets. St. Martin de Porres submitted an application and was selected as the site for a Reading and Learning Center in Cleveland.

To create an environment for learning, volunteers from the Cavaliers organization and Home Depot worked together on the refurbishing project which involved transforming the old library and adjacent study room into a technology lab and an updated library. The new technology lab has six new computers and the library features new tables chairs, cabinets and bookshelves stocked with books donated through the Cavaliers Read to Achieve program.

LeBron James and a young student read "The Napping House."
“One of the Cavaliers’ primary outreach initiatives is to support the educational process for children in our community,” said Cavaliers/Gund Arena Company President Len Komoroski. “Through our Read to Achieve program and the NBA’s partnership with Home Depot, we are proud to provide the resources to St. Martin de Porres to upgrade its current facility. With these resources, the new Reading and Learning Center will ultimately improve the quality of its educational programming.”

“The Home Depot recognizes its responsibility to support youth by helping to increase access to educational opportunities,” said Marc Powers, Home Depot regional vice president. “Creating places for children to grow and learn together helps build safe, healthy and caring communities. Our partnership with the NBA and Cavaliers is helping to achieve that goal.”

“We are extremely grateful to the Cleveland Cavaliers and to Home Depot for their generous support of our mission here at de Porres,” said Kevin Hodges, director of the Center. “The computers and books in this new Reading and Learning Center will enable us to enhance our after-school programming in an environment that is extremely conducive to learning.”

The Moondog poses with a pair of young fans at St. Martin de Porres Reading and Learning Center.
Reaching an estimated 50 million children a year, Read to Achieve is the most extensive educational outreach initiative in the history of professional sports. Efforts of the NBA’s Read to Achieve program includes the annual donation of more than 650,000 books through a variety of reading events and incentive programs, as well as the development of essay contests and on-line programs.

In a effort to provide greater access to books and technology, the NBA and its teams, along with national partners such as Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and Dell have also created more than 70 Reading and Learning Centers and 90 Reading Corners throughout North America and one in South Africa.

In addition to being support by all 30 NBA teams, 13 WNBA teams, the six teams that make up the NBA’s minor league, the National Basketball Development League (NBDL), Read to Achieve is supported by the NBA’s officials, players and wives organizations, and the NBA Players Association and Retired Players Association. The Cavaliers Read to Achieve program is presented locally by Kraftmaid Cabinetry, Juice Batteries and Max and Erma’s.

About St. Martin de Porres Family Center
Catholic Charities’ St. Martin de Porres Family Center has played an integral role in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood since the mid-1960s. Growing from a storefront emergency information and referral center to a larger multipurpose facility, St. Martin de Porres provides educational and recreational support for children and families and older adults. Its current staff of 28 and 15 volunteers offers more than 20 programs and services, including after-school programming Monday through Thursday for children from Kindergarten through 12th grade to help improve their academic performance and to enhance their scores on the Proficiency Test.

As a result of working with the Federation for Community Planning and the Ohio Department of Human Services, St. Martin de Porres was named as a prototype Family Center.

St. Martin de Porres Family Center is a key component of Catholic Charities Health and Human Services, the health and human services delivery system of the eight-county Diocese of Cleveland, which includes the Catholic Charities’ system and the Diocesan Office of Social Action. In addition, it is responsible for Catholic Community Care, an alliance of Catholic nursing facilities, and the relationships between the Diocese and Catholic healthcare systems within the Diocese.

About The Home Depot Founded in 1978, The Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer and the second largest retailer in the United States, with fiscal 2002 sales of $58.2 billion. The company employs approximately 315,000 associates and has 1,647 stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, eight Canadian provinces, and Mexico. Its stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:HD) and is included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Giving back is a fundamental value of Home Depot and a passion for its associates. Through an extensive community relations program, The Home Depot reaches out to the communities where associates live and work through philanthropic and volunteer support. The Home Depot’s programs bring together volunteerism, do-it-yourself expertise, product donations and monetary grants to meet critical needs and build affordable communities. Last year, the company supported communities through $25 million in grants and 6 million hours of volunteer service.