Book Bus to Support Youth Literacy
April 16, 2013
Bobcats Sports & Entertainment President & Chief Operating Officer Fred Whitfield, along with Lowe’s Chief Customer Officer Greg Bridgeford, today announced the two organizations are partnering to donate a full-service literacy bus that will encourage reading and learning programs for Charlotte-area youth between the ages of 5 and 13. The renovated school bus can hold approximately 3,000 books and will travel throughout the Greater Charlotte area to promote literacy.
“Giving back to our community continues to be a primary focus for our organization and this is another example of that,” Whitfield said. “Education is one of the three key pillars of our Cats Care initiative, and along with our partners at Lowe’s, we believe this bus will bring awareness to the importance of reading and emphasize to our local youth how significant reading is to accomplishing their long-term goals.”
The goal of the Book Bus is to increase opportunities for literacy and learning in underserved communities by distributing books throughout the school year and the summer. The books will range from kindergarten through fifth grade reading levels encompassing both fiction and nonfiction, and will be given away, not loaned.
“We are excited that our renewed partnership with the Bobcats now encompasses educational charitable giving, which is one of our core focus areas,” said Bridgeford. “We recognize the importance of community involvement and look forward to teaming up with the Bobcats to help benefit K-12 public education.”
The Book Bus, which was unveiled this morning at Albemarle Road Elementary School, will feature Bobcats and Lowe’s branding, as well as an NBA hardwood floor on the outside. It is approximately 34 feet long and just over 11 feet tall, and includes a wheelchair lift for those needing assistance.
“We are pleased to have this partnership with the Bobcats, Lowe’s and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to support literacy,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Heath Morrison. “The Book Bus and the reading support provided at our schools will bring reading alive for our students. We appreciate the support of our great partners in helping our students attain literacy by third grade.”
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library will also be a partner in the effort, with its professional library staff consulting on book selection and its programming staff advising on events where the Book Bus can have an impact on literacy and education activities.
“We are delighted to be a partner with the Bobcats and Lowe’s in supporting the Book Bus, which will bring books to many homes that might otherwise not have them available for young children,” said Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Chief Executive Officer Lee Keesler. “Many studies show that having books in the home has a strong influence on literacy and educational success, two major focus areas for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. And the Library has a large collection of children’s books and a variety of children’s programs at locations throughout Mecklenburg County to ensure long-term literacy and educational support for families reached by the Book Bus.”
The Book Bus is part of a renewed and enhanced partnership between Bobcats Sports & Entertainment and Founding Partner Lowe’s. The Official Home Improvement Retailer of the Bobcats, Lowe’s is the presenting sponsor for all elements and events in the education pillar of the Cats Care initiative, including a joint effort for education-related refurbishment projects. As part of the partnership, Lowe’s also maintains naming rights to the Lowe’s Home Court area of the Time Warner Cable Arena concourse, while also receiving branding and signage opportunities on the courtside scorer’s table and the arena’s LED boards.