NEW YORK, July 8 – The WNBA and New York Liberty unveiled a new Reading and Learning Center at the YMCA of Yonkers today in Yonkers, New York. Created through the WNBA’s Read to Achieve Program, the WNBA teamed with the Liberty, Home Depot, Dell, LeapFrog, Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF) and Scholastic Inc., to complete extensive renovations for the center, which is being christened as the Liberty Reading and Learning Center.

The Liberty Reading and Learning Center, which includes refurbishment of the YMCA of Yonkers’ activity and multi-purpose rooms, provides thousands of donated books, resource guides, and materials to the hundreds of children attending the facility each day. In addition, the Reading and Learning Center includes a donation of desktop computers, printers, and educational software from Dell, as part of their Dell Education initiative, and multi-media equipment, photos and educational posters provided by the WNBA.

"Since the inception of the WNBA, one of the league’s cornerstones has been to touch young lives by providing role models on the court and promoting the choices that have made our players successful off the court," said WNBA President Val Ackerman. "A commitment to reading is at the top of that list, and during the upcoming All-Star week we are thrilled to join with the Liberty, Home Depot and Dell to create a lasting contribution to the promotion of reading in Yonkers.”

“The Liberty is proud to help dedicate a new Reading and Learning Center at the YMCA of Yonkers,” said Carol Blazejowski, senior vice president and general manager, New York Liberty. “This is a great example of how the WNBA family and our partners continue to help instill a passion for reading in young people through our Read to Achieve initiative.”

The Liberty Reading and Learning Center at the YMCA of Yonkers is the latest created by the WNBA’s Read to Achieve program. In an effort to provide access to reading materials and technology to young people and as a part of its national reading campaign “Read to Achieve,” the WNBA and its teams are creating Reading and Learning centers across North America. Paula Hanson, WNBA Chief Operating Officer, Mayor John Spencer, Yonkers, NY, Senator Nick Spano, R-C, Westchester, Carol Blazejowski, Senior V.P. and G.M., New York Liberty, Greg du Sublon, Executive Director, YMCA of Yonkers, Kelley Schultz, Eastern Division Manager, Home Depot, Lori Mattessino, Scholastic Inc. Education Representative, Michelle Sferlazzo, LeapFrog Representative, and 2003 WNBA All-Star Teresa Weatherspoon, Linda Frohlich, Lindsey Yamasaki, K.B. Sharp, and Erin Thorn of the New York Liberty, participated in the press conference to commemorate the Liberty Reading and Learning Center.

All of the renovations of the Liberty Reading and Learning Center were funded by Home Depot and performed by YMCA staff and volunteers from Home Depot.

“Home Depot recognizes and embraces a strong commitment to invest in children. Our partnership with the WNBA is one way we are delivering on that promise," said Hugh Miskel, Director of Event Marketing and Community Affairs for Home Depot. "We look forward to partnering with the WNBA and creating Reading and Learning Centers to help children grow and learn together and to build safe, healthy and caring communities.”

Dell’s contribution to the center’s renovation builds on the company’s commitment to education. Dell shares its technology expertise and resources to improve the education of youth and their odds of succeeding in a digital world through programs such as TechKnow, an after-school program that uses technology training and the promise of a student-built computer to keep "at risk" middle school students in school and focused on their grades.

“Projects such as the Liberty Reading and Learning Center help children develop more than just technology and reading skills,” said Jim Anderson, Vice President of Enterprise Sales for Dell’s Public division. “They help build their confidence, and that’s a critical part of every child’s success.”

Thousands of books and literacy materials were donated by the New York Liberty, LeapFrog, RIF, and Scholastic, Inc. for the Liberty Reading and Learning Center.

“Reading Is Fundamental is delighted to again assist with the opening of a new Reading and Learning Center,” said Carol H. Rasco, President and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental. “This center, and others like it, have a critical role in the community---to provide important reading and technology resources to children that need them most.”

“Scholastic is pleased to support the NBA’s Read to Achieve program, and to help New York area children become readers and learners through this exciting new resource center,” said Ernie Fleishman, Senior Vice President, Scholastic Education. “It is our hope that our significant contribution, a full complement of educational resources including books, software, educational programs and other support materials will benefit the Yonkers community for years to come.”

Read to Achieve is a year-round program to help young people develop a life-long love for reading and encourage adults to read regularly to children. Reaching an estimated 50 million children a year, Read to Achieve is the most extensive educational outreach initiative in the history of professional sports. Efforts include the annual donation of more than 350,000 books through a variety of reading events and book fairs, as well as the development of essay contests and on-line programs. In addition to being supported by all 29 NBA teams, 14 WNBA teams, and six NBDL teams, Read to Achieve is supported by the NBA's officials, parents and wives of players organizations, and the NBA Players Association and Retired Players Association.