BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) Receives Grant from Target for K-3 Literacy
A strong literacy foundation developed in the early elementary years is crucial for future academic success. Research indicates that academic underperformance in the third grade can predict with 68 percent accuracy those students who will later experience negative outcomes such as delinquency and dropping out of school. And, the recently-released 2009 NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) Nation's Report Card found that nearly half of all fourth graders living in low-income communities were performing below "basic" level in reading, and more than 80 percent were performing below "proficient" level.
That's why BELL and Target are teaming up to focus on early literacy, creating the BELL Early Readers Program. The BELL Early Readers Program is a component of the BELL Summer and BELL After School programs that supports K-3 literacy for students, whom BELL calls scholars. This is the 3rd year that Target has sponsored K-3 literacy at BELL. With this continued support from Target, BELL will expand its impact on school districts through high-quality summer learning programs, and provide more vulnerable students with the academic opportunities they need to succeed.
"We are extremely grateful to Target for their support of BELL's early literacy work," said BELL Chief Executive Officer Dr. Tiffany Cooper Gueye. "We know from our research that helping students to read early has a dramatic impact not only on their ability to achieve academically but also on boosting their confidence level to succeed in school. Our partnership with Target and their generous grant allows BELL to bring much-needed literacy instruction and support to the students who need them most," she said.
This grant is part of ongoing efforts by Target to strengthen families and communities throughout the country. Since opening its doors, Target has given 5 percent of its income to organizations that support education, the arts, social services and volunteerism. Today that equals more than $3 million every week.
"At Target, our local grants are making a difference in the communities we serve," said Laysha Ward, president, community relations, Target. "We're proud to partner with BELL as part of our ongoing commitment to give back to the communities where our guests and team members live and work."
BELL, founded in 1992, is one of the nation's leading providers of quality summer and after school educational programs. It is committed to enhancing the educational achievements, self-esteem and life opportunities of children living in under-resourced, urban communities. BELL serves more than 11,000 children annually in schools throughout Augusta, GA, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Detroit, Flint, MI, New York City and Springfield, MA. BELL's corps of educators includes more than 1,000 teachers and tutors. Please visit www.experiencebell.org for more information.
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,740 stores in 49 states nationwide and at Target.com. Target is committed to providing a fun and convenient shopping experience with access to unique and highly differentiated products at affordable prices. Since 1946, the corporation has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs like Take Charge of Education. Today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week.
Jane Munkelwitz, Solomon McCown & Co., 617-933-5021
Target Communications, 612-696-3400