ATLANTA, May 21 – The Atlanta Hawks, NBA and IBM joined together to dedicate a new Reading and Learning Center at the Joseph B. Whitehead Boys & Girls Club as part of the Read to Achieve program.

Hawks center and Read to Achieve All-Star Theo Ratliff was joined at the ceremony by current Hawks Jason Terry and Leon Smith, former Hawks stars Dominique Wilkins, Jim Washington and Mike Glenn, as well as NBA Special Assistant to the Commissioner and Hall of Famer Bob Lanier.

As part of the NBA’s Read to Achieve Program, the NBA teamed with the Hawks, IBM’s Teaming for Technology program and Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.® (RIF) to complete the Reading and Learning Center which will provide the Atlanta community with donated books, resource guides and reference materials. In addition, IBM has provided educational software, personal computers and training as part of its Teaming for Technology initiative. The Hawks will also be donating books, tables, chairs, bookshelves, Hawks collateral materials and more.

“Reading is something very important to me and the Hawks organization,” Ratliff said. “Providing these children with all of these books and access to the kind of technology IBM has provided will hopefully arm them with the necessary tools for future success.”

"IBM is proud to be part of such a winning team," said IBM community relations manager Chip Delano. "Through programs like Teaming for Technology and Read to Achieve, the IBM and the NBA families are working together to help provide access to the technology needed for today's youth to achieve future success."

This will be the sixth Reading and Learning Center established by the Hawks this season through the Read to Achieve initiative sponsored by Philips Electronics, Sprite and VoiceStream Wireless. Others include: Alpharetta YMCA, The Atlanta School for the Deaf, Harland Boys & Girls Club, The STAR House and the Thomasville Community Center.

"We are thrilled the NBA, IBM and the Atlanta Hawks are dedicated to improving the lives of Atlanta's children and teens," said Jerry Tipton, president, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. "These computers will provide Club members with a state-of-the-art computer lab and access to fun and educational technology programming."

The NBA’s Read to Achieve program is a year-round campaign designed to help young people develop a life-long love for reading and encourage adults to read regularly to children. Efforts include the annual donation of more than 250,000 books through a variety of reading events and book fairs, as well as the development of essay contests and on-line programs. Read to Achieve is supported by the entire NBA Family including the NBA, WNBA and the National Basketball Development League NBDL), the NBA's officials, parents and wives of players and the NBA Players Association and Retired Players Association.

Since its beginning in 1997, IBM’s Teaming for Technology has provided direct benefits to more than 5,000 community-based nonprofit organizations in 17 cities across the US, and technology training to more than 2.5 million young people.