Saturday, August 02, 2008
For A Good Cause
“It was astonishing for me to learn that 33% of America’s 4th graders can’t read at the basic level," stated UPS Store Owner Mariana Huberman. Ms. Huberman was standing inside her MacArthur Boulevard Store along with Our Washington Nationals Ryan Langerhans, his wife Shari, and Master Sargent Tim Butler representing The United States Marines Toys For Tots Literacy Program. Together, The UPS Stores, Our Washington Nationals and Toys For Tots were joining forces to promote this weekend's 2nd Annual Back To School Drive at New Nationals Park.
"What we are doing this weekend is collecting these school supplies, as well as the books, and cash donations at the gate," continued Ms. Huberman. " And if you can’t make it this weekend, any UPS Store will collect donations from you as well, anywhere across the country—actually.”
All school supplies, books and cash donations collected this weekend at The Center Field Gate near Half & N Streets, SE will be donated to a District School this fall. Also, in partnership with The Heart of America Foundation, all books collected will be used to build a Reading Corner for children in a DC Public School.
“Those dollars we raise are going to buy a book for a child," said Ms. Huberman. "Every dollar donated will buy a book to give to one of these needy kids. You can help put a book into the hand of a child and help to unlock so much potential for them. I think it is the greatest gift you can give to a child, the ability to read. It ignites their passion for learning, it ignites their imagination and all the things they can do from there are just incredible.”
We are looking for pens, pencils, markers, lunchboxes, backpacks, new school supplies for the kids--anything like that," commented Shari Langerhans. "Additionally, we really want people to bring new children’s books so when the donations are presented, later this fall, that new Reading Corner can be put in place at the DC School selected."
“We started this last year. The turnout was amazing. Talking to the fans and parents and seeing how much it means to them was important. Some of their kids here in this area are the ones who will be receiving these donations and it’s going to be benefiting their kids. So, that opened my eyes to the need by just meeting some of those who would be receiving these supplies. It’s right here, it’s local and that’s a big deal to everyone. A lot of these kids are going to stay here. They are going to grow up here, get jobs here, just to be able to be a part of that to make a difference means a lot to not only me, but anyone that lives here,” concluded Mrs. Langerhans.
Her husband--Ryan--supports his wife's efforts: “Like all the guys on the team, we are very excited about what The First Ladies are doing with this project. We care about the kids in the community and anything that is donated, whether it’s a dollar here or books, anything to help the kids in the community is worthwhile....I am excited that Shari is involved with the program because I know I feel, as well as the rest of the guys (on The Nationals) feel the same way that we can reach out and be active in the community. Education is something that is so important to help give the kids a chance to be successful down the road."
You grew up an avid reader? (SBF)
“I was. I was very active. Both my parents were teachers. So, my mom always had a book in my hands. I really didn’t have a choice (everyone busting out laughing). But, it was something I really enjoyed growing up and has stayed with me my entire life.”
Master Sargent Butler: "One of the important points to understand: If funds are donated within a community, right here in Washington, DC—those funds, toys, supplies and books are going to stay in Washington, DC. If someone in Idaho donates to The UPS Store, that money stays in that community to support that literacy program. That is one of the big benefits of having a big corporate sponsorship like UPS. They have mall stores all over the nation. We can’t ask for more than that. It’s one of the most wonderful things in the world. So, if I could ask the pubic for a favor: Please come out to see The Nationals play baseball this weekend, bring us a book, school supplies, something we can use and please visit UPS Stores and make your donations there. Help out the communities in which you live in—that is what this is all about. We have changed our focus a little bit in The Toys For Tots Foundation. We are focused now a little more on literacy in partnership with The UPS Store. But a lot of folks don’t know this but Toys For Tots has been giving away books for quite some time. We are very passionate about this.”
Shari Langerhans pointed out: “We ended up with 13 bins of school supplies last year. We really want to beat that goal this year and we want to bring in a lot more school supplies. Last year was incredible, but we just want to top that mark. Last year was the first year, there are more fans coming to the games now—and with partnering with everyone here—we should have a good turnout. I don’t have a specific goal, because I have no clue how much we are going to get. So, just as much as possible. Hopefully, our involvement (Nationals Players & Family) influences others to do the same and get their families involved. This strengthens our bond and everybody should do their part to make a difference.”
"And if you can’t come into a store," reminded Mariana Huberman, "if you can’t make it to the games this weekend, you can also go to www. Toysfortotsliteracy.org and learn more about the foundation as well as make a donation online.” Every single UPS Store in America is participating in their local community.
Master Sargent Butler gets the final words: ‘I think we as a nation are growing. We understand the importance of focusing on our children, because our children are our future. Along with Baseball, The Washington Nationals, American Pie (chuckling)—this partnership works. We are very fortunate to have these large, very powerful organizations all coming together to help promote in receiving Back to School Supplies for the children that may not get that great start in life. And that is what we are really after. We want the kids to have hope.”
If you wish to participate, The First Ladies of Our Washington Nationals, The U.S. Marines representing The Toys For Tots Literacy Program, and The UPS Store will be on hand at New Nationals Park this weekend when Our Washington Nationals take on The Cincinnati Reds. Donations will be accepted beginning 2 hours and 30 minutes before each game and until the end of the 4th inning each day. Don't forget, if you can't make it to the ballpark this weekend, but still wish to participate--you can go online at www. Toysfortotsliteracy.org or visit any UPS Store.
This effort is for a good cause and shows once again that a Major League Baseball Team, Our Washington Nationals, can help influence and spirit growth within the very community in which it exists. Help the kids out this weekend--if you can.