In February students at DPS’s Barnum Elementary drew their ideal school library and now, thanks to Target Corporation and The Heart of America Foundation, their dreams are a reality! Over the past two years, Barnum and Godsman Elementary unveiled newly renovated libraries as part of the Target School Library Makeover program. The Target Library Makeover equipped the school libraries with more than 2,000 new books, technology improvements such as 30 new iPads and a renovated, immaculate library. Emily Hungerford, the librarian at Barnum who helped oversee the process of the makeover, was head over heels with the results, “I am so excited! Today is all about the smiles. This library is going to change things for us!”

At Barnum the morning kickoff was filled with high energy, cheers, shouts and dancing as the Target volunteers gathered to put the finishing touches on the library and complete other projects around the school. Myrella Goff, Principal at Barnum was overjoyed with emotion. “A beautiful sea of red has filled the halls of Barnum, I will remember this moment with fond memories… This is definitely one of the highlights of my career and service to this community. We can’t thank The Heart of America and Target enough; you will be touching the lives of our students today, those of tomorrow and students attending Barnum long into the future! We are so thrilled and humbled by the commitment and dedication we have witnessed today.”

DSC_0554Mark VanTine, Target Store Manager, Riverpoint, shared a little bit about the lead up to this day, “I work with five community captains to recruit the Target employees for this day of service. We had such an overwhelming response this year we had to create more activities so we wouldn’t turn anyone down.” Scott, a Target employee has traveled from Nebraska for the past two years for this event, “The moment you see the kids face light up when they see the library for the first time makes the trip worth it. I am proud to be a part of this. My wife is a para-educator for a school back home and we both know the difference this improvement will make on this community.”

More than 95% of students attending Barnum qualify for the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program, an indicator of poverty, and it’s vital they have what they need to succeed. Target’s generosity and commitment to literacy extended even beyond the school library walls; as part of the celebration every student at Barnum received durable bag filled with seven books to build their home libraries!

Every child deserves the opportunity to find the love of reading. Our future leaders like third grader Genesis needs this support, “I’m most excited to read books that will help me be a doctor. I want to be a kid doctor.” Estrella, another third grader at Barnum loves her school, “My favorite part about Barnum is the teachers because they care”.

DSC_0551The Heart of America Foundation has completed over 175 library makeovers and is scheduled to complete 25 more by the end of this year in cities around the United States. Target is on track to give back nearly $1 billion in support of education by the year 2015, creating an invaluable positive impact on our Denver community, and our nation.

What you do today will make a difference. Thank you to Target Corporation and Heart of America Foundation for your support of Denver Public Schools. You help us at the DPS Foundation to ensure that Every Child Succeeds!

Like us and view photos of this special day here.