Unilever to send 3000 children to America's national parks
Unilever sends boys and girls club children to America's best classroom - many for the first time .
Englewood Cliffs, NJ – July 18, 2006 - Beginning this month and running through August, Unilever United States will give nearly 3000 children from Boys & Girls Clubs of America chapters "a summer to remember," and for some, a first-time opportunity to experience their National Parks, it was announced today.
This effort links together Unilever’s long-standing partnerships with both the National Park Foundation and The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and will include trips to fourteen National Parks, where the children will participate in various service-to-land projects and hands on youth education activities. The initiative is being brought together under the America's Best Classroom (ABC) program, which is part of Unilever's 15-year, $50 million commitment to preserve and protect America's National Parks in partnership with the National Park Foundation. Since ABC's inception, nearly 20,000 kids have participated.
"We are very proud of our commitment to both the National Parks and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and we're even more excited to link our community partnerships together to create this large-scale and unique summertime event," stated Fiona Laird, Unilever SVP HR and Communications, Americas.
"While only a bus ride away, many of these National Parks are out of reach for these children. Unilever is providing "discovery grants" to its partner Boys & Girls Clubs to give kids a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - learning alongside a park ranger, exploring new environments and understanding more about the world they live in. What better way to spend the summer?"
"I think it is important to understand the true significance of the America's Best Classroom program," said Vin Cipolla, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation.
"Our Nation's Parks were given to us as a gift with the expectation that we would safeguard them for future generations. By ensuring that all children have the opportunity for a first meaningful experience within our National Parks, we help them develop the sense of ownership and pride necessary to become the future stewards of these great places."
Unilever is also a supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. It has established a network of partnerships linking Clubs with local Unilever sites across the country.
"We applaud Unilever for creating this opportunity," stated Roxanne Spillett, President, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "Many of these children rarely have the opportunity to leave their own communities, nevermind traveling to a National Park – this is truly a wonderful, positive opportunity for our children."
Participating Unilever sites include its headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, and sites throughout Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee. Hundreds of Unilever employees will volunteer their time at each site serving as mentors, hosts and trip chaperones to members of the local Boys & Girls Clubs, where Unilever has existing relationships.
Participating national parks include Gateway National Recreation Area (NY/NJ), Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Pea Ridge National Military Park (AR), Hot Springs National Park (AR), Antietam National Battlefield (MD), Shiloh National Military Park (TN), Wright Brothers National Memorial (NC), Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site (MO), Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (MO), Morristown National Historic Park (NJ), Fire Island National Seashore (NY), Statue of Liberty National Monument - Ellis Island (NY).
About the National Park Foundation
The National Park Foundation (www.nationalparks.org) is a 501(c)(3) organization chartered by Congress in 1967 to continue a century-long tradition of private philanthropy and raise essential funding to help preserve and enhance the legacy of our National Parks. As the official non-profit partner of America's National Parks, the National Park Foundation strengthens the connection between the American people and their National Parks by raising private funds, making strategic grants, creating innovative partnerships and increasing public awareness. Support of the National Park Foundation ensures that the evolving history and rich heritage of our Nation remains vital and relevant.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) comprises a national network of more than 3,900 neighborhood-based facilities annually serving more than 4.6 million young people, primarily from disadvantaged circumstances. Known as "The Positive Place for Kids," the Clubs provide guidance-oriented character development programs on a daily basis for children 6-18 years old, conducted by a full-time professional staff. Key Boys & Girls Club programs emphasize character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, sports, fitness and recreation.
Unilever US, Inc
800 Sylvan Avenue
+1 201 894 7760