Homewood Suites by Hilton Partners with Childhood Literarcy Foundation
Memphis Reading Library Signals Start of Homewood's Efforts to Help the Books for Kids Foundation's National Expansion
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A new, first-of-its-kind library opened in Memphis, Tenn. thanks to a partnership between Homewood Suites by Hilton and early childhood education advocacy group, the Books for Kids Foundation. The "Lewis the Duck Reading Library" -- named after the Homewood Suites' mascot -- is located on the campus of the Martin Luther King Jr. Head Start Center in downtown Memphis. Homewood Suites partnered with Books for Kids and Shelby County Head Start to host a special community event at the library on July 28 which was attended by approximately 300 students and their families. The opening is the first in a series of libraries Homewood Suites will introduce over the next several years as the hotel brand helps Books for Kids expand nationally.
The new reading library will ensure that the approximately 200 preschoolers served by the center have access to new age-appropriate books, reading programs and other educational tools.
Recent statistics illustrate that approximately one out of four children grows up not knowing how to read. Additionally, 80% of preschool and after-school programs serving low-income populations are without age-appropriate books. Children in middle-income neighborhoods enjoy a ratio of 13 books per child, while in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is one age-appropriate book for every 300 children.
"Access to age-appropriate books is a key factor in helping children succeed in life," said Shawna Doster, executive director, Books for Kids. "That's why we are so thankful to Homewood Suites for this amazing opportunity to provide a beautiful library and new library-quality books to even more children."
The Homewood Suites brand team worked closely with the Head Start center and Books for Kids in the complete renovation of the space which previously served as an unused classroom. Included in the refurbishment of the room was the addition of a wall and the complete transformation of the space with child-like duck benches, reading forts, rainbows, and Leap Frog learning centers, resulting in a truly magical educational environment.
"We love being of service to our guests and communities as shown by the support our Memphis-based Homewood Suites team members have given to this project," said Carla Raynor, vice president of marketing, Homewood Suites. "We look forward to expanding our commitment to children's education in communities all over the country with the opening of additional libraries in the U.S. over the next several years."
Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford and City of Memphis Mayor AC Wharton attended the opening event, as well as Shawna Doster, executive director of Books for Kids and executives from Homewood Suites.
Childhood literacy is a major philanthropic focus for the Homewood Suites brand. In 2008, it introduced a book series penned by its mascot, Lewis the Duck, which helps explain business travel to children. Two books are currently available, including "Lewis the Duck and His Long Trip," and "Lewis Goes to Canada" which was published last year. The mascot will find himself visiting south of the border this fall with the introduction of "Lewis Goes to Mexico."
About the Books for Kids Foundation | The mission of the Books for Kids Foundation is to promote literacy among all children with a special emphasis on low-income and at-risk preschool-aged children. Books for Kids creates libraries, donates books, and partners with literacy programs to develop the critical early foundation and skills which young children need to be successful in life. The Memphis library opened on July 28, 2010 brings the total number of libraries built since its founding in 1986 to 65. For more information, visit www.booksforkids.org
About Homewood Suites | Launched in 1989, the Homewood Suites by Hilton brand today has more than 300 hotels open with approximately 110 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. To make reservations at a Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel, travelers can visit the Homewood Suites Web site at www.homewoodsuites.com or call 1-800-CALL-HOME.
About Hilton Worldwide | Hilton Worldwide is the leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxurious full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and mid-priced hotels. For 91 years, Hilton Worldwide has been offering 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 3,600 hotels and 599,000 rooms in 81 countries and include Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton, Doubletree, 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®. For more information about the company, visit www.hiltonworldwide.com.
*Guest pays for groceries. Other restrictions apply.
Director, Brand Public Relations