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News » VILLA, the Timberland Company and NBA Join for Day of Service at West Philadelphia High School With Wyclef Jean and Philadelphia

VILLA, the Timberland Company and NBA Join for Day of Service at West Philadelphia High School With Wyclef Jean and Philadelphia

VILLA, the Timberland Company and NBA Join for Day of Service at West Philadelphia High School With Wyclef Jean and PhiladelphiaPHILADELPHIA, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In connection with VILLA's Big Serve community initiative, the area's leading fashion retailer teamed up today with The Timberland Company, NBA Cares, The School District of Philadelphia and multiple Grammy Award-winning musician and humanitarian Wyclef Jean for a day of community service and school renovations at West Philadelphia High School. Through this unique partnership, West Philadelphia High students were invited to spend time with Wyclef, and Basketball players and coaches from the Philadelphia 76ers in inspirational sessions about leadership, the power of sports to effect positive social change and community activism.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20091105/NY06635 )

After opening remarks by Wyclef Jean, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, school Principal Saliyah Cruz and representatives from Timberland and VILLA, more than 125 volunteers - including VILLA employees and members of the 76ers team - went to work. With a goal of creating a more inspirational and productive environment for students, hands-on projects included:

Installation of outdoor classroom, including picnic tables, planter benches, garden of fruit trees and indigenous plantsFresh paint and murals, bookshelves, computer station and seating in seniors lounge New equipment and fresh paint and murals in weight roomFresh paint and murals in counselor's office and discipline office, as well as themed hallway stripes and murals for each school academy

In addition, Wyclef Jean held three sessions with students: the "History of Hip-Hop" class heard first-hand from one of the music world's greatest; ninth graders heard about the importance of respect in high school; and the "Student Leaders" group and seniors learned Wyclef's thoughts on community leadership and staying true to your roots. On the sports side, 76ers players and coaches spoke with athletes about balancing sports and school, understanding the role sports play in improving communities around the world, and making the transition to college sports.

The day's projects were organized and led by a team of City Year Philadelphia corps members.

"Our mission is to educate and inspire youth in inner cities, especially Philadelphia, to become community leaders," said Jason Lutz, CEO of VILLA. "As we celebrate 20 years serving urban neighborhoods and inspiring change with our "Big Serve" platform, we're proud to be able to partner with Timberland, the 76ers and NBA Cares to help create positive and lasting change for this school. This has truly been a great day."

Today's service event, VILLA's largest ever, falls in line with the retailer's mission to partner with schools, companies, and community leaders to create opportunities for community investment and education initiatives. After reviewing proposals from several local community and civic groups, VILLA selected West Philadelphia High School for this project based on the school's transformative impact on students and the community as a whole. "We see this school as a true beacon of hope for urban schools," said Lutz.

"On behalf of the students and staff at West Philadelphia High School, I want to thank VILLA, The Timberland Company, NBA Cares, Philadelphia Sixers, City Year, The School District of Philadelphia, Wyclef Jean and volunteers from throughout the Philadelphia area for pitching in and helping to beautify our school," said West Philadelphia High School Principal Saliyah Cruz. "West Philadelphia High School continues to strive to be one of the best high schools in the country and today's investment in our school will create a more inspirational and productive environment for students."

The School District of Philadelphia is the eighth largest school district in the nation with more than 161,500 students -- nearly 940 of them attending West Philadelphia High School. West Philadelphia High School has been at its current location since 1912. The School District of Philadelphia recently held a groundbreaking to start construction of a new state-of-the-art West Philadelphia High School, slated to open in September 2011. Much of today's work will be transported to the new school when it opens.

"It's an honor to be a part of a community initiative that engages and motivates youth, and shares our own purpose and passion," said Theresa Palermo, senior director of marketing for Timberland North America. "We thank Wyclef Jean and the 76ers for sharing such valuable life lessons with these students today, and we commend VILLA for the meaningful work they continue to do in the city of Philadelphia."

Today's event marks the first of two service events that Timberland will be hosting in partnership with NBA Cares. The second will take place in connection with the NBA All-Star Game in February 2010.

" NBA Cares is excited to work with Timberland to give back to children and families here in Philadelphia, and when we get to Dallas for 2010 NBA All-Star," said NBA Vice President of Community Relations, Todd Jacobson. "This new partnership aligns perfectly with the NBA's ongoing commitment to hands-on community service and dedication to generating fan awareness around the importance of volunteerism."

It also coincides with a new partnership between Wyclef Jean and The Timberland Company that launched this month. Wyclef is one of six Earthkeeper Heroes within the company's 2009 Earthkeepers program, which aims to catalyze a movement of environmental and social activists. A first for both Wyclef Jean and Timberland, this innovative partnership fuses music, product, digital and social media, service events and concerts to motivate and inspire consumers to take action in protecting the environment.

Highlighting the partnership is a collection of boots that debuted this week under the popular Timberland Earthkeepers(TM) line. For every pair of Earthkeepers(TM) Yele Haiti boots sold, $2 will be donated to Wyclef's Yele Haiti organization to support reforestation in Haiti. The collection of eco-conscious footwear, made from recycled and organic materials, will be available globally for men, women and kids. VILLA is the first location in the Philadelphia area to be carrying the Yele Haiti collection.


Celebrating 20 years in business, VILLA delivers the best fashion from head to toe within a high energy environment designed to be a neighborhood hub for entertainment, conversation, and even community involvement. Customers can watch the Basketball game on one of the many flat screen televisions, while surfing the Internet, purchasing tickets to a local concert or finding out about an upcoming neighborhood beautification project - all while browsing a selection that includes premium merchandise from Timberland, Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Puma, New Era and much more.

With 25 stores centered in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, and Delaware urban neighborhoods, for VILLA, selling sneakers is an entry-point - in the vein of 'meeting them where they are'. Unlike many retailers that benefit from inner city dollars, VILLA gives back to the community where it resides by hiring only within the community, providing each of its employees with financial planning assistance, educational assistance, and leadership training that benefits them on the job and in their community, and having the community as a whole participate in the company's endeavors, complimentary of VILLA's mission of change. With VILLA's assistance, many of the store's managers have been able to purchase homes and go back to school. Visit www.ruvilla.com for more information.

About Timberland

Timberland (NYSE: TBL) is a global leader in the design, engineering and marketing of premium-quality footwear, apparel and accessories for consumers who value the outdoors and their time in it. Timberland markets products under the Timberland(?), Timberland PRO(?), Mountain Athletics(?), SmartWool(?), Timberland Boot Company(?), howies(? )and IPATH(?) brands, all of which offer quality workmanship and detailing and are built to withstand the elements of nature. The company's products can be found in leading department and specialty stores as well as Timberland(?) retail stores throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, South Africa and the Middle East. Timberland's dedication to making quality products is matched by the company's commitment to "doing well and doing good" -- forging powerful partnerships among employees, consumers and service partners to transform the communities in which they live and work. To learn more about Timberland, please visit www.timberland.com.

About NBA Cares

NBA Cares is the league's social responsibility initiative that builds on the NBA's long tradition of addressing important social issues in the United States and around the world. Through this umbrella program, the NBA , its teams and players have donated more than $115 million to charity, provided more than one million hours of hands-on service to communities around the world, and created more than 440 places where kids and families can live, learn or play. NBA Cares works with internationally recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes, including: KaBOOM!, Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, UNICEF, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.

About Yele Haiti and Yele Vert

Yele Haiti is a grassroots movement that builds global awareness for Haiti while helping to transform the country through programs in education, sports, the arts and environment. Yele's community service programs include food distribution and mobilizing emergency relief.

The Yele Vert program combines community based agroforestry, environmental education and social marketing into a new and sustainable program of tree planting, agricultural improvement and environmental restoration.

GrammyAward-winning musician, humanitarian and Goodwill Ambassador to Haiti Wyclef Jean founded Yele Haiti in 2005. For more information please go to www.yele.org.

To learn more about and follow Wyclef Jean please go to:





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