ARAMARK Building Community Increases Committment to Chicagoland Neighborhoods
More than 200 ARAMARK volunteers to give much needed facelift to Jane Addams Hull House Association’s Community School Center at Mahalia Jackson Elementary
Chicago, Il. – The Mahalia Jackson Elementary School, a partner of Jane Addams Hull House Association (Hull House) located on the South Side of Chicago (917 W 88th St), will receive a much-deserved facelift on May 14. More than 200 employees of ARAMARK, a global provider of professional services, will dedicate their time, energy and talents to enhance the school’s indoor and outdoor facilities.
The day of service is part of ARAMARK’s ongoing partnership with Hull House, one of Chicago’s largest non-profit organizations with more than 50 programs at 42 sites. This partnership, which was launched in 2008, is part of ARAMARK Building Community, a company-wide initiative that fosters long-term support for local community centers and other facilities in more than 25 cities.
“We recognize that addressing community challenges is most effective when public and private organizations join forces, especially today as there are increased demands on non-profit agencies to help meet the growing needs of families,” said Mary Ann Wyman, executive vice president, ARAMARK Healthcare and local ARAMARK Building Community executive sponsor. “ARAMARK employees are hands-on—helping to educate neighbors on health and wellness issues, providing job training and assistance and providing access to basic human service.”
The Mahalia Jackson Elementary School is one of Hull House’s seven Community School Centers, a partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Hull House Community School Centers provide academic enrichment and extra-curricular services to the community during out-of-school hours.
As a Hull House Community School Center, Mahalia Jackson Elementary School was selected for the project because the school was built as a temporary structure in the 1970’s and was expected to last approximately ten years. Almost 40 years later, the facility is in need of renovation. The school educates more than 350 K-8th graders, and provides services to children and families living in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.
During the day of service, ARAMARK employee volunteers will work on several projects including: creating a new baseball diamond and flag football field, refurbishing the playground, beautifying the front yard, repainting the cafeteria and gym, creating inspirational murals and building bookshelves and seating.
City Year Chicago, a group dedicated to engaging youth in full-time community service, is ARAMARK’s volunteerism partner and will work side-by-side with ARAMARK employees on the projects taking place that day.
A recent study found that 61 percent of Americans believe that in the current economic climate, community organizations play a more essential role than ever *. Respondents noted that providing basic needs like food and clothing, affordable childcare and preschool, job training and after school programs are the most important services community groups offer.
“The partnership between Hull House and ARAMARK has touched almost 2,000 children and families in Chicago since its inception, and we are pleased to expand the efforts to our Community School Centers,” said Clarence Wood, president and CEO of Jane Addams Hull House Association. “I know the ARAMARK volunteers will leave Mahalia Jackson with a renewed spirit, fostering a bright and stimulating environment that will welcome the entire community for many years to come.”
Key initiatives of the ARAMARK/Hull House partnership for 2009 include family health and back-to-school fairs in August. These fairs will feature the ARAMARK Building Community Eat Smart Zone with healthy cooking demonstrations and a school supply give-away. The partnership will also support several job training programs to prepare youth and adults for a large job fair at Kennedy-King College in October, sponsored by Hull House, Kennedy-King College, and ARAMARK.
Over the past year, ARAMARK has engaged over 650 employees in volunteer programs at Hull House, resulting in more than 1,500 hours of service, over 1,500 pounds of donated food and 450 holiday gifts for children. ARAMARK has also hired more than 15 graduates of Hull House programs into professional service positions at ARAMARK, empowering them towards self-sufficiency.
*The study was conducted for ARAMARK via telephone by International Communications Research, an independent research company. Interviews were conducted November 7-11, 2008 among a representative sample of 1017 adults aged 18 years or older. The margin of error is +/-3.07% at the 95% confidence level. More information about ICR can be obtained by visiting www.icrsurvey.com.
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