Daily Herald: Unilever and Walgreens Partner to Build Center

Published in the Daily Herald on October 29, 2010.

By Daily Herald Report 

Unilever and Deerfield-based Walgreens unveiled a new activity and life skills learning area at the Midtown Education Foundation's Metro Achievement Center, serving inner-city girls in Chicago from grades 4 through 12, at an event here Thursday.

The new learning area, a formerly unfinished and unutilized space at the Metro Achievement Center, will expand personal and educational development programs to support girls ages 8 to 18.

The joint community effort is tied to Unilever's National Customer Development Leadership Team's semiannual meeting. As part of the group's regular gatherings, the 70 Unilever leaders seek out a key community project to address in the local area. In lieu of recreational outings, the team opted to roll up their sleeves, partnering with 8 executives at Deerfield-based Walgreens and give back to the community.

Enhancements to the center will include inspirational pictures depicting young women at the height of achievement; a fully equipped kitchen skills learning area; a flat panel large screen TV monitor with PA sound system; 5,000 square feet of new padded wood laminate studio flooring, new enhanced lighting, and a variety of life skills and exercise equipment. The refurbished space will host life skill lessons, like cooking and personal hygiene, exercise and dance classes.

"Unilever is committed to improving the lives of consumers where we live, work and play, and Walgreens has a proven track record of reaching consumers in the heart of their communities," Joe Cavaliere, Unilever senior vice president of Customer Development, said in a statement. "We are proud to partner with Walgreens to help make a difference in the lives of these girls in Chicago."

Walgreens has championed the center and played a major role in its ongoing development for over 20 years. It was their efforts in this regard that first caught the attention of Unilever's Customer Development executives and led to this major event.

Unilever's CD team's community efforts began in 2004 and include the development of playgrounds, refurbishing of Boys and Girls Clubs, participation in Habitat for Humanity and National Park projects, as well as the installation of more than 100 new computers in six fully functional computer-learning centers for young boys and girls in cities across the country.