Eaton announces $35,000 donation

December 12, 2007

Item Staff Writer

Cleveland-based manufacturer Eaton Corp. recently announced a $35,000 donation, which will go to fund new technology at Crosswell Drive Elementary School, and bolster the HYPE program headquartered at the M.H. Newton Family Life Enrichment Center on Manning Avenue.

“Eaton is a company that recognizes the importance of giving back to the community,” said Brooke Hartman, Human Resources generalist at Eaton’s Sumter facility, in a statement. “These organizations provide educational services and an increased quality of life for the residents ofSumter and the surrounding areas.”

Hartman said many children of Eaton employees attend the HYPE after-school program, and both organizations approached the company about what their needs were on the same day. The Corporate Contributions Committee, she said, gave them the thumbs-up after presentations to Eaton’s Community Involvement Team.

“Bettering the community through education,” is part of the Eaton corporate philosophy, she said.

Crosswell Drive Elementary has received $25,000, and school principal Dr. Ayesha Hunter said the donation is significant, as a technology component was recently added to the magnet program, and keeping up with changing technology is not easy. Fourteen laptop computers, three promethium boards — interactive high-tech smart boards — projectors and tuners will be purchased with the money.

“For us, it means a lot,” Hunter said.

A $10,000 donation, said the Rev. Dr. Marion Newton, will support the continuation of the HYPE program — Helping Youth Pursue Excellence — now in its third year of funding.

“We need the support and we definitely appreciate what Eaton has done for us,” he said.

Barney Gadson, M.H. Newton Family Life Enrichment Center director, said the HYPE program — in place at the center as well as Trinity Missionary Baptist Church — has 225 children, with 80 on the waiting list. Ten teachers, eight mentors, a host of volunteers and parent support have made the program overwhelmingly successful, he added.

When children arrive after school, they are provided with a hot meal, as HYPE is in partnership with Harvest Hope Food Bank in Columbia — an America‘s Second Harvest affiliate — as well as LA Leasing, which provides a cargo van for the trip. Pilgrim’s Pride also provides chicken, he said.

After dinner, the children are split up by grade and receive a half hour of instruction from teachers.

“The lessons are a continuation of what the child has had in school,” he said.

After that, homework is next on the agenda, and tutoring and assistance are readily available. Afterwards, recreation options abound, he said.

“The main goals are first and foremost to provide a safe environment with loving, caring, responsible adults for children after school, to help increase PACT scores and overall grades, and to improve behavior and reduce incidents of referrals in school,” he said.