U.S. Cellular supports local Boys and Girls Club with donation, hands-on help

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Luis Vargas, sales manager for U.S. Cellular in Wilmington, works with Brigade Boys and Girls Club member Hannah White to plant flowers and shrubs outside the Vance Street club as part of the company's second-annual 'Month of Giving' program. Courtesy photo.
Luis Vargas, sales manager for U.S. Cellular in Wilmington, works with Brigade Boys and Girls Club member Hannah White to plant flowers and shrubs outside the Vance Street club as part of the company’s second-annual ‘Month of Giving’ program. Courtesy photo.

U.S. Cellular employees and members of the Brigade Boys and Girls Club picked up some shovels and rakes this week to get an early start on Earth Day.

In honor of the annual observance, held each year on April 22, U.S. Cellular staff teamed up with kids and club leaders Tuesday on a campus beautification project that included a clean-up of the grounds and the planting of new flowers and shrubs.

But the one-day project was also a celebration of sorts for a $20,000 donation from U.S. Cellular to Brigade, with which the company has a budding partnership.

This is the second year U.S. Cellular has committed money and manpower to the local non-profit as part of a larger national initiative to support boys and girls clubs across the region.

According to a spokeswoman with the company’s eastern division, U.S. Cellular plans to take on another 57 club sites in 2016, with support aimed at promoting literacy, STEM learning and exploring and preparing for careers. Since 2009, U.S. Cellular has contributed approximately $8.4 million to educational initiatives.

“U.S. Cellular’s ongoing commitment to Boys and Girls Clubs of America is a reflection of our dedication to big and small cities, as well as rural communities, we serve across the country,” said Jeremy Taylor, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in eastern NC.

STEM is the focus of the recent $20,000 grant, which Brigade will use to expand its existing programming to expose youth to the variety of jobs available with the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

“We believe it is our responsibility to help New Hanover County kids and teens achieve academic success,” Brigade CEO David Carikker said. “We know such emphasis inspires our youth and teens to have career aspirations that can help future generations.”

U.S. Cellular is routinely involved with Brigade through a variety of activities, including an art contest in honor of Black History Month.

With April designated as National Volunteer Month, last year, the company issued its employees a challenge to engage in the community – as local staff did last week at Brigade – by donating a total of 30,000 hours of their time.

Surpassing that goal, U.S. Cellular hopes to reach 35,000 hours for its 2016 ‘Month of Giving’ campaign.

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