Tools for Learning

The “Tools for Learning” project was a great success for the At&t Pioneers Illinois Central Council. Many AT&T mobility store locations joined our campaign (Michigan Avenue Flagship Store, Chicago Avenue Store, Canal Street Store, and the Oakbrook Store). Other locations like the corporate office at 225 Randolph in Chicago have received many donations under the guidance of Rebecca Ruiz.

I was excited about the dedication and passion exhibited around this project. Many of our AT&T volunteers shopped for children they will never meet. However, their only hope was to make a difference in the life of a child.  Natalia Ward and her daughter Leah Ward shopped for school supplies for their family, and for the Duke Ellington school children. The Ward family brought their donations to the Michigan Avenue Flagship Store, and shared their excitement with the team.  Kevin Sawacki a new father, brought in endless school supplies along with them childhood stories. Kevin remembered loving crayons and construction paper.

As president of the Illinois Central Council, I had the honor and responsibility of choosing one school to donate backpacks. As a young child, I attended the Duke Ellington Elementary School. This school is nestled on the West side of Chicago. It only seemed fitting to go back to my roots and donate to a community that would benefit from the support. I continued my elementary education in Oak Park public schools, but my fondest memories are running around Duke Ellington’s school lot during lunch time playing with my cousins and friends.   Assistant Principal Johnson and the school staff were very welcoming.  The faculty and staff helped carry the backpacks and supplies into the school. My mother accompanied me to drop off the backpacks and the staff thanked us both for returning to Duke Ellington. They were thrilled to have a former Duke Ellington student and parent make their journey back to their past.

I was grateful for the opportunity to volunteer and serve the Chicago community. This project showed the true spirit of the Illinois AT&T Pioneers, and our commitment to serve the community!

Kaylee Nielson and Kumar Patel from the Canal Street Store participating in the Tools for Learning Project

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Paula Baker outside of Duke Ellington Elementary School

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Over 170 backpacks were loaded with school supplies and donated to support the program

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