LAWRENCE, Mass., May 9 – The NBA, Boston Celtics and IBM unveiled a newly finished Reading and Learning Center at the YWCA of Greater Lawrence today. Celtic players including Walter McCarty and Roshown McLeod were on-hand to help unveil the Reading and Learning Center and conduct a special reading event with the young boys and girls of the Center. The players were joined by NBA Hall of Famer Bob Lanier, Celtic Legends JoJo White and Tom “Satch” Sanders, Mayor of Lawrence, Michael Sullivan, Celtics General Manager Chris Wallace, IBM Executive, Sean Rush and YWCA of Greater Lawrence Executive Director Rebecca Hall.

As part of the NBA’s Read to Achieve Program, the NBA teamed with the Celtics, IBM’s Teaming for Technology Initiative and Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.® (RIF) to complete the Reading and Learning Center which will provide the 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.

“Reading is something that has always been very important to me,” said Walter McCarty. “Providing the kids with all of these books and access to the kind of technology IBM has donated will arm them with the tools necessary for future success.”

The Reading and Learning Center at the YWCA of Greater Lawrence is the latest created by the NBA’s Read to Achieve program. In an effort to provide access to reading materials and technology to young people and as a part of its national reading campaign, the NBA and its teams plan to create Reading and Learning centers across North America as well as donate more than 250,000 free books to schools and community organizations.

“Every child deserves the opportunity to explore their talents and expand their world,” said YWCA of Greater Lawrence Executive Director Rebecca A. Hall. “But most of the children at the YWCA do not have computers at home. With no opportunities to practice their skills, they quickly fall behind. The IBM Teaming for Technology effort and the Celtic’s Read to Achieve program will help these children get a step up on their homework, their reading skills and their confidence in using technology that is essential for success in the 21st century.”

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.

"The IBM corporation is delighted to partner with the Boston Celtics and the Greater Lawrence YWCA,” said Sean Rush, General Manager, IBM Global Education. “Together, we are working toward improving the reading and computer skills of the youth in metropolitan Boston."

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.