Calling it a way to ensure the revitalization in downtown Allentown benefits those who live in the downtown and not just the businesses, City Center Investment Corp., the driver behind much of the recent development, is adopting a school in the city’s downtown.
City Center announced a three-year commitment to “adopt” Central Elementary School through a financial investment, volunteering and leveraging partnerships to improve the education of students there.
“Central Elementary is really our company’s neighborhood school,” said Jill Wheeler, vice president of sales and marketing for City Center.
So when the opportunity to commit to the school came up through the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s Community Schools initiative, she said the company was eager to get on board.
According to the United Way, Community Schools organizes programs and services in one central place for students and families, using schools as hubs.
To participate, City Center is investing $50,000 a year for three years for a total of $150,0000 to pay for a coordinator at the school, to help student and their families access those services that the need.
Wheeler said employees of the company also will volunteer for projects such as mentoring and literacy initiatives.
She noted the company already began that work in June during the United Way’s Day of Caring, when City Center volunteers painted the school’s bathrooms and cleaned up the playground area.
“What we did was take this Community Schools concept and put it on steroids a bit,” she said.
Wheeler said City Center also is leveraging some of its partnerships and relationships with other entities downtown, such as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Allentown Art Museum and Baum School to provide entertainment and educational opportunities for Central Elementary students.
Even tenants of some of the City Center properties got involved and held a school supply drive so students would have what they needed for back-to-school. The donated items were distributed at an event on Thursday.