MCLEAN, Va. - Today, a new, first-of-its-kind library opened in Phoenix as the result of a partnership between Homewood Suites by Hilton and early childhood education nonprofit The Books for Kids Foundation. The new library, built at the Booker T. Washington Child Development Center, will ensure that all of the nearly 200 at-risk preschoolers served by the center will have access to brand new books, reading programs and other educational tools that serve as key building blocks for early literacy skills.
"Opening our fourth library in partnership with Books for Kids shines the spotlight on the critical issue of childhood literacy and the great need for education resources among those who have the least," said Carla Raynor, vice president of marketing, Homewood Suites by Hilton. "Celebrating National Literacy Month, the Homewood Suites family is proud to be making an impact in the Phoenix community and others across the country by helping to provide much-needed resources to at-risk children and their families."
The Homewood Suites brand team has been working closely with the center and Books for Kids on the renovation of the space, which was an unused building recently acquired by the group. Included in the transformation are educational and print-rich wall elements, child-like duck benches, a puppet theater with multicultural puppets, high-quality listening center with audio books, and other enriching educational tools and materials provided by Hooked on Phonics, LeapFrog and Sesame Street. The library includes approximately 1,000 new library-quality children's books based on Department of Education and early childhood education experts' recommendations for this age group. There is also a separate multicultural section that the center helped assemble and which reflects the backgrounds and life experiences of the children in this community. Homewood Suites team members from all eight Phoenix area properties worked for weeks to prepare the room, assemble bookshelves, stock new books and put the finishing touches on the new library.
Carla Raynor was joined by Executive Director of Books for Kids, Shawna Hamilton Doster; Phoenix mayoral candidate Greg Stanton; former Councilman Calvin C. Goode; and Director of the Booker T. Washington Child Development Center, Kim Pollins for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
"This library will give the center's youth unprecedented access to the world of literacy and provide them with essential tools they need to be prepared for kindergarten," said Doster. "We are thrilled to continue this partnership with Homewood Suites as we further our mission to develop the literacy skills of young children."
The Booker T. Washington Child Development Center serves at-risk preschoolers, 95 percent of whom are classified as below federal poverty guidelines. The Head Start program began at the center with 60 children in the basement of the 1st Institutional Baptist Church in May 1967. It has since grown to serve a diverse community of nearly 200 students from the immediate neighborhood.
The Phoenix opening is the fourth in a series of Books for Kids libraries that Homewood Suites will open over the next several years, as the Memphis-based, upscale, extended stay hotel brand helps the organization expand nationally. The first three libraries opened in Memphis, Tenn. (July 2010), Washington, DC (September 2010), and Irving, Texas (July 2011).
The more than 300 North American hotels in the Homewood Suites brand participate in literacy events in their communities, including book readings and fundraisers, utilizing the brand's Lewis the Duck book series, which helps explain travel to young children. The series now includes three installments: Lewis the Duck and His Long Trip , Lewis the Duck Goes to Canada and Lewis the Duck Goes to Mexico. Homewood is currently the only hotel brand with an original children's book series.
*Guest pays for groceries. Other restrictions apply.
Director, Brand Public Relations
About Books for Kids
To date, Books for Kids has opened more than 70 libraries stocking approximately 25,000 books and giving away another 5 million. The organization's mission is to provide the resources preschool-aged children and their families need to build a solid foundation for learning and competing academically with their peers. For more information visit www.booksforkids.org
About Homewood Suites by Hilton
Launched in 1989, the Homewood Suites by Hilton brand today has more than 300 hotels open with approximately 80 in the development pipeline. Beyond its spacious suites and home-like amenities, additional guest features include an on-site Suite Shop convenience store, complimentary grocery shopping services**, a complete business center, and laundry services at most locations. For more information, please visit www.homewoodsuites.com
*Service of alcohol subject to state and local laws. Must be of legal drinking age.
About Hilton Worldwide
Hilton Worldwide is a leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxurious full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and mid-priced hotels. For 94 years, Hilton Worldwide has offered business and leisure travelers the finest in accommodations, service, amenities and value. The company is dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences across its global brands. Its brands are comprised of more than 3,900 hotels and timeshare properties, with more than 650,000 rooms in 90 countries and territories and include Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages the world-class guest reward program Hilton HHonors®. Visit www.hiltonworldwide.com for more information and connect with Hilton Worldwide at www.facebook.com/hiltonworldwide, www.twitter.com/hiltonworldwide, www.youtube.com/hiltonworldwide, www.flickr.com/hiltonworldwide and www.linkedin.com/company/hilton-worldwide.